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One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
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Dukes (Upper Peninsula) Experimental Forest

Marquette, Michigan

The Dukes Experimental Forest was established in 1926 and is located about 25 km southeast of Marquette, Michigan. A small amount of white pine and elm was logged during the early 1900s. The remaining forest is essentially old growth today. In 1974, a research natural area (94 ha) was established within the forest’s boundaries. The Dukes was administered by the Marquette field office until it closed in 1981. It is currently administered by the Northern Research Station’s Laboratory in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.


Average annual precipitation on the Dukes is about 86 cm and is distributed evenly through the year. Lake-effect snowfall is considerable and averages 355 cm per year, with up to 760 cm some years. Proximity to Lake Superior results in a cool lacustrine climate, with moderated minimum and maximum temperatures. Average annual temperature is around 5 °C, and the growing season averages 110 days.


The Dukes is on a ground moraine deposited by an advance of the Green Bay lobe as it moved southward from the Lake Superior Basin. Dominant soils are the well-drained Munising sandy loam, somewhat poorly drained Skanee sandy loam, poorly drained Angelica sandy loam, and Linwood muck.


The uplands of the Dukes are dominated by old-growth northern hardwoods and eastern hemlock-hardwoods. Hemlock dominates the somewhat poorly drained soils and northern white-cedarspruce and hardwoodconifers dominant the poorly drained soils and muck. Most forests are old growth.

Research, Past and Present

Research began on the Dukes in the 1920s and continued until 1981. Studies consisted of stocking levels of hardwoods and swamp conifers, cutting cycles, regeneration, and cutting methods of northern hardwoods. Currently, only the stocking-level studies and a red maple growth and yield study remain active.

Major Research Accomplishments and Effects on Management

Research results from the Dukes have been used to develop management guides for northern hardwood forests in the Lake States. These guides are widely applied throughout the region. The Dukes also is an excellent demonstration area for landowners and land managers interested in managing northern hardwoods. From studies on the forest, the only proven sustainable unevenage structure for managing northern hardwoods was developed. This structure (the Arbogast Guide) is applied on millions of hectares of northern hardwoods in the Lake States.


Collaborators involved in studies at the Dukes include the Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Technical University, Michigan State University, and many forest industries.

Research Opportunities

There are research opportunities to study the silviculture and ecology of all the vegetation types on the Dukes. There also are opportunities for comparing treatments that have been applied since the 1920s. Much of this is managed old growth, of which little remains in the Lake States. The RNA is available for nondestructive research in old-growth northern hardwoods.


There are no on-site facilities. The Dukes can be accessed by Dukes Road off Highway 94. Roads are well maintained but are not plowed during the winter. Lat. 46°21′ N, long. 87°10′ W

Contact Information

Dukes Experimental Forest
USDA Forest Service
Northern Research Station
Forestry Sciences Laboratory
5985 Highway K
Rhinelander, WI 54501
Tel: (715) 362-1124

Related Publications

Arbogast, C.A., 1957. Marking guides for northern hardwoods under the selection system. USDA For. Serv. Lake States For. Exp. Stn Pap. 56

Crow, T.R., Jacobs, R.D., Oberg, R.R., Tubbs, C.H., 1981. Stocking and Structure for maximum growth in SUGAR MAPLE selection stands. USDA For. Serv. Res. Pap. NC -199 North Central Forest Experiment Station   NC-199, 1-16.

Eyre, F.H. and W.M. Zillgitt.  1953.  Partial Cuttings in Northern Hardwoods of the Lake States: Twenty-Year Experimental Results.  USDA Forest Service, Lakes States Forest Experiment Station.  Technical Bulletin No. 1076.

Seymour, Robert. S.; Guldin, Jim.; Marshall, Dave.; Palik, Brian.  2006.  Large-scale, long-term silvicultural experiments in the United States: historical overview and contemporary examples.  Allgemeine Forst Und Jagdseitung.  177(6/7): 104-112.

Summary information presented here was originally published in:

Adams, Mary Beth; Loughry, Linda; Plaugher, Linda, comps. 2004. Experimental Forests and Ranges of the USDA Forest Service. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-321. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 178 p.

Information may have been updated since original publication.

Last Modified: 04/25/2013