Here's a blog post I wrote with some of my random thoughts about the ecology of the northwest and how it is kind of a recovering wasteland and what that means for things like invasive species and fire regimes etc. It's kind of rambling but I think some here may find it interesting.
Interesting article. I always thought the main driver for the PNW’s lack of diversity was the recent glaciation. But now that I think of it, wouldn’t Chicago of had glaciers around the same time period? Chicago and the rest of the Midwest have a huge diversity of trees and plants. I use to study insects and the same is true there: minimal diversity in the PNW and tons in the Midwest and east coast at similar latitudes.
The Cascades could be a good barrier for recolonization to the west of the pacific crest trail but east of there, I’m not sure what the story is.
Just wanted to say I enjoy your blog. I am starting to concentrate my property search to the Palouse, reading up on the history of the land has been really fascinating from a geological perspective, and like you, I am really interested in buying land to "restore" it in a sense. One of the coolest things I have recently learned about in the Palouse region is the giant Palouse earthworm.
@ DJ Yeah the glaciers coming out of canada were definitely another form of destruction that I should have mentioned more about but they stopped before covering most of the Pacific Northwest. And you're right much of the midwest was covered in glaciers but they have recovered pretty well and are very diverse in tree species and many are actually still expanding thier range further north into Canada.
@Kali That's pretty cool you're starting your search now. I find the geological and biological history of the area very fascinating. I spend a lot of time down random research rabbit holes on the internet and find out a lot of interesting information. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. I have lots of ideas for new posts but not a ton of time to write them. Well keep in touch and maybe we could do a meetup someday.