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MLRA 94D Ecological Site Descriptions and Inventory

MLRA 94D Ecological Site Descriptions and Inventory (ESD & I) for Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan



ESD & I projects are intended to upgrade soil survey interpretations with respect to vegetation management.  We will useMLRA maps created by the NRCS and Forest Service produced ecological subsection maps (McNab et al. 1995) to define project areas.  These maps are based on regional differences in climate, surficial geology, soils, land use, and vegetation.  When completed, the results of these regional projects will provide a spatially-explicit model down to the site level of vegetative change in response to environmental gradients and management practices. The site level corresponds to the fine-scale variation of soil map unit components.

For a pilot project, we focused on MLRA 94D. The steps to complete this project were adapted from Bestelmeyer et al. 2009.  They include:

  1. Review relevant scientific literature and obtain currently available datasets
  2. Develop hypothetical ecological site legend and identification key
  3. Describe and sample the soils and vegetation on representative ecological sites and revise key when necessary
  4. Develop a vegetative change model (referred to as a state and transition model or STM) for different sites based on expert assistance and data analysis
  5. Fully populate the appropriate databases
  6. Peer review of proposed ecological site descriptions and subsequent revisions (including long-term site observation)

This project is supported by a large number of cooperators and extensive scientific literature.  The many contributions of the USDA-Forest Service, state and county forestry departments, and numerous academic researchers in pedology and plant ecology are gratefully acknowledged.

References:  Bestelmeyer, B. T., A. J. Tugel, G. L. Peacock Jr., D. J. Robinette, P. L. Shaver, J. R. Brown, J. E. Herrick, H. Sanchez, and K. M. Havstad. 2009. State and Transition Models for Heterogeneous Landscapes: A Strategy for Development and Application. Rangeland Ecol. and Manage. 62(1):1-15.  McNab, W.H., D.T. Cleland, J.A. Freeouf, J.E. Keys Jr., G.J. Nowacki, C.A. Carpenter, comps. 2005. Description of Ecological Subregions: Sections of the Conterminous United States [CD-ROM]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 80 p.

For more information about this project, contact:

      Mark Krupinski
      Ecological Site Inventory Specialist, USDA-NRCS
      Rhinelander WI MLRA Soil Survey Office
      715-362-5941 ext. 110

Wisconsin Ecological Subsections (McNab et al. 1995) MLRA 94D ESD & I project area Upper 50 cm of a spodosol supporting a rich hardwood forest.