Two Lakes Oak-Pine Forest State Natural Area

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Two Lakes Oak-Pine Forest State Natural Area

Post by DonCBragg » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:39 pm

Two Lakes Oak-Pine Forest State Natural Area (TWOSNA) is one of 673 (as of 2016) areas formally protected by the State of Wisconsin to preserve the disappearing remnants of natural communities. TWOSNA ( ... sp?SNA=511) covers 112 acres in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest just south of Lake Tomahawk in Oneida County, Wisconsin, just down the road from Tomahawk Lake Hemlocks State Natural Area. This parcel primarily protects a series of moraines and small kettles along the shores of Big Carr Lake.
Red pine dominated parts of TWOSNA in Oneida County, Wisconsin.
This stand is less productive than some northern hardwood dominated locations, with stony, sandy soils along the lake frontage and deeper, more mesic ground moraines (still very stony) further from the lake. This stand of pine-dominated timber is mature second-growth, and probably originated following lumbering (and possibly slash burning after lumbering). The supercanopy of red pine (predominantly) and eastern white pine is common along the lakeshores of northern Wisconsin, but somewhat less common further inland. It is likely that the pines seeded in following lumbering and fire, probably from remnant trees along the shore of Big Carr Lake. Sugar maple and northern red oak are the most common hardwoods. Barring major disturbances, this stand is likely to transition to a northern hardwood stand dominated by sugar maple, although a fair amount of eastern white pine has managed to seed under the current overstory. The shallow, rocky soils (with large boulders) make the stand susceptible to windthrow.
Some of the very recent windthrow I found during my June 2016 visit to TWOSNA.

Indeed, a severe thunderstorm just days before my June 28, 2016, visit felled a number of overstory trees of all species across parts of this stand. Tip-up mounds are common across the stand, providing further evidence of the main gap-forming process in this stand.

I visited this stand on June 28, with a D-tape and TruPulse. The first part of the stand I passed through was definitely of lower site quality, with red pines dominated a fairly low overstory. I measured a single tamarack along one of the nearby wetlands; this species and black spruce dominate these wet areas. As I pushed further east along the lakeshore, the site quality improved (to a low-end Acer-Tsuga-Dryopteris habitat type), and the overall canopy height increased appreciably. In this better site, red pine was still the most dominant pine of the supercanopy, but a fair amount of larger eastern white pine were also present.

Species DBH (inches) Height (feet)
Red pine 24.0 85.5
Red pine 21.9 79.0
Red pine 20.2 79.0
Tamarack 10.9 65.0
Red pine 25.7 85.0
Red pine 25.0 89.0
Red pine 23.5 94.0
Red pine 24.1 102.5
Eastern white pine 30.5 107.0
Eastern white pine 31.2 111.5
Red pine 20.9 105.0
Eastern white pine 27.5 99.5
Red pine 24.9 99.5
Eastern white pine 34.1 110.0
Red pine 25.2 100.0
Eastern white pine 27.8 101.0

The eastern white pines are the tallest and girthiest trees on this site. Red pine is also doing well, with current maximum heights of between 100 and 110 feet. Both pine species seem to have good apical dominance, suggesting they are not yet done with height growth. The frequency of damaging wind may help limit maximum tree height at this site, particularly close to the lakeshore. I did not measure any hardwoods here; northern red oaks and sugar maples probably grew to 80+ feet.

Given the abundance of the hardwood canopy, it would be easier measuring TWOSNA in the late fall or winter, when the leaves have fallen. This site would be worth revisiting to gather more information about the height performance of red pine on these sites.

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Re: Two Lakes Oak-Pine Forest State Natural Area

Post by wisconsitom » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:40 am

Thanks again, Don. Got to love those big red pines. Nothing quite like those gleaming pink/purple trunks.

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