Lake St. Clair Coastal Habitat
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Ice Storms

Glaze or ice storms are a significant source of disturbance in hardwood forests of North America. Severe ice storms are estimated to occur at intervals ranging between 20 and 100 years.

Glaze results in pruning of small branches, severe breakage of large branches, complete stem breakage and the creation of canopy gaps. Canopy trees affected but not killed by glaze are often subsequently infected by fungus and/or infested by insects and die standing or are eventually windthrown. Sugar maple and beech have been reported to be moderately affected by glaze storms with beech showing greater susceptibility.

There has been speculation that beech's tendency to root sprout following stem breakage may compensate for its greater vulnerability to ice damage. Approximately 1% of the total area of mesic forest is within recent gap (less than one year old) and the average canopy residence time ranges between 50 and 200 years.

For more information, see: Coastal Habitat Plan, Section V (PDF)