Chequamegon Hardwoods Research Natural Area

[photo:] Chequamegon Hardwoods RNA. Photo by Lucy Tyrrell, USDA Forest Service.

This site was recommended for RNA status because it is an example of a relatively intact mesic northern hardwood forest with an undisturbed understory. The site was selectively logged for hardwood saw logs in the 1930’s, but retains patches of old-growth hardwoods and mature, big-toothed aspen (Populus grandidentata). The herbaceous layer, having never been grazed, is diverse with over 80 plant species present. A small population of Braun’s Holly Fern (Polystichum braunii) is present within the RNA.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA:
The nearest weather station is in Mellen, Wisconsin, approximately 7 miles (11.2 km) to the east.
Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) :
The climate is characterized by long, snowy, often severely cold, winters and relatively short summers with warm days and cool nights. The mean annual average precipitation is 33.9 inches (84.8 cm), of which 85 inches (212.5 cm) is snowfall.
Maximum and minimum temperatures:
The mean annual temperature is 39.5 ºF. The maximum summer temperature is 101 ºF. and winter minimum temperature -49 ºF.
Elevation ranges from 1,360 feet (415.8 m) to 1,528 feet (466 m).
Geology and Soils:
The site is underlain by Precambian granite bedrock and gabbro bedrock. The site is situated on glacial deposits from the Woodfordian substage of the Wisconsin ice age. The site contains several gabbro bedrock exposures, some up to 50 feet high (15.3 m). Soils are Gogebic and Rib Series.
Aquatic Features:
A small stream bisects the tract north to south and supports an aquatic invertebrate fauna, as well as a population of Fontinalis, an aquatic moss.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Southern Superior Uplands (212J)
Gogebic-Penokee Iron Range (212Jb)
Plant Communities:
Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina, Sassafras albidum, Carya spp.
SAF Cover Types (list acres): Kuchler Types (list acres):
26 Sugar maple-basswood (75) 98 Northern Hardwood-fir (5)
39 Black ash-American elm-red maple (5) 99 Maple-Basswood (75)

Complete Plant List

Common Shrub Species:
Leatherwood (Dirca palustris), pagoda-dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), mountain maple (Acer spicatum), beaked hazel (Corlyus cornuta).
Common Herbaceous Species:
Spikenard (Aralia racemosa), green adder’s mouth (Malaxis unifolia), nodding trillium (Trillium cernuum), northern maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), purple fringed orchid (Habenaria psycodes), spotted coral root (Corallorhiza maculata), northern coral-root (Corallorhiza trifida).
Common Bird Species:
Eastern wood pewee (Contopus virens), black-throated green warbler (Dendroicavirens), ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus), red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus), rose-breasted grosbeck (Pheucticus ludovicianus), American robin (Turdusmigratorius), white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis).
Potential Research Topics
Camp Nine Pines RNA contains an ecosystem that was historically maintained by fire.  Researchers could investigate local fire history and effects of fire in a rare barrens ecosystem adjacent to a dry-mesic forest.  Surveys of taxa not yet recorded include amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, bats, and other mammals.

Related link: Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Chequamegon Hardwoods

Related Reports and Publications

Last Modified: August 19, 2021