Wabikon Lake Forest ForestGEO Project

The Wabikon Lake Forest Dynamics Plot is located within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northeastern Wisconsin, approximately 10 km east of Crandon. The glacially formed topography consists of hummocky outwash features, including a glacial esker running through part of the site. Mesic northern hardwoods occupy most of the plot, dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharum), basswood (Tilia americana), white ash (Fraxinus americana), and ironwood/eastern hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana). Animal species include black bear (Ursus americana), gray wolf (Canis lupus), and a rich assemblage of neotropical migrant birds. The Wabikon Lake plot was logged during the early 1900s, but the understory is very high quality, and the forest is similar to more than a million hectares of commercially important hardwood forests in the western Great Lakes region. An area of 447 ha, including the plot and nearby lowlands, was designated as a Wisconsin State Natural Area in 2007. Research at the plot is led by scientists at the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. Long term plans include studies of seedling demography, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) browsing, and ecology of understory herbs.

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