Leonard Wildlife Preserve

Posted on August 8, 2022

by Isaac Smith

The interaction between farmland and forested land is inherently important. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development estimates that the agricultural industry in Michigan is worth $104.7 billion. That is 14 times the economy of Monaco. Naturally, agriculture is quite important to Michigan. Yet so are our forests. The state was nearly entirely forested before it was settled and cleared by the Europeans. Michigan still contains approximately 20 million acres of forested land according to the USDA. That’s roughly the size of Austria. Thus, forests remain a fundamental part Michigan. The interaction between these two forces is on display at Edward and Elizabeth Leonard Wildlife Preserve. Today, about 25 of the 108 preserved acres are farmed at Leonard Wildlife Preserve. A reversal from the 1930s when the property was mostly farmed and only the north third was left as forest. The two have tangoed at Leonard for almost a century. Each one relinquishing and accepting new land at different times. The careful partnership must be maintained for our health and the health of our planet.