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Kawishiwi Experimental Forest

Superior National Forest, Minnesota

The Kawishiwi Experimental Forest was established in 1931 as a tract of land in the Superior National Forest for permanent, long-term silvicultural experiments. The original area for the Kawishiwi was 1,066 ha of National Forest land. The primary research goal was to find the best ways to convert jack pine, quaking aspen, and birch forests to white and black spruce. In 1955, most of the Kawishiwi reverted to the Superior National Forest for management, leaving 47 ha for research activities.


Lake Superior influences the climate of nearby land, moderating extreme temperatures and increasing precipitation toward the northeast. Yearly rainfall ranges from 66 to 79 cm and average snowfall is about 150 cm. Temperatures range from -58 °C in the winter to 37 °C in the summer. Average seasonal temperatures are 6 °C in the spring, 17 °C in the summer, 7 °C in the fall, and -12 °C in the winter.


Seventy-five percent of the Superior National Forest in mapped as rock outcrop, 17 percent as till boulder clay, and 8 percent as moraine sand. The Kawishiwi is mostly in the rock-outcrop geological type. The land surface is generally rolling, with alternating low rocky ridges and peat swamps. Some of the depressions are well drained and contain good quality loam of fair depth. The soil on the slopes and ridges is of good quality but very shallow and rocky. These conditions make the area strictly nonagricultural. The podsolic profile is notably absent or poorly developed.


At time of establishment, the forest was primarily jack pine, black and white spruce, and aspen. Balsam fir, northern white-cedar, maple, and eastern white and red pine were also present.

Research, Past and Present

In the past, silvics and silviculture of jack pine, spruce, and balsam fir, especially on rock outcrop formations, were studied. No research is currently being conducted on the Kawishiwi.

Major Research Accomplishments and Effects on Management

The silvicultural research conducted in the first three decades of the Kawishiwi added greatly to our knowledge of the silvics and silviculture of jack pine, spruce, and balsam fir. This information was the basis for handling such species on the Superior National Forest, particularly on rock-outcrop formations. In the 1950’s, the timber types and condition classes of the Kawishiwi were no longer suitable for the research needs in northern conifer silviculture.


Collaborators at the Kawishiwi included the Superior National Forest.

Research Opportunities

There is no formal program. Proposals should be directed to the contact person (below).


The Kawishiwi has no facilities.

Lat. 48°6′ N, long. 93°5′ W

Contact Information

John Brissette
Northern Research Station
Forestry Sciences Laboratory
271 Mast Road
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: 603-868-7632

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. GTR-NE-321 - 5.5 mb pdf.

Information may have been updated since original publication.

Last Modified: 03/09/2016

More Information :

[image:] Cover from NRS-INF-07-09 Northern Research Station Experimental Forests Experimental Forests of the Northern Research Station (5.5 mb - This document is in PDF format. You may obtain a free PDF reader from Adobe.)


National Experimental Forests and Ranges website


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