Boreal Forest


Ashland, Bayfield, Door, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Marinette, Vilas


Boreal forests, also known as taiga, are a type of coniferous forest found in the northern latitudes of North America and Eurasia. They are characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers, and are dominated by coniferous trees such as balsam fir and white spruce, paper birch, and white pine.Wisconsin represents the southern boundary of this vast natural forest region. Boreal forests are found along the northern tier of Wisconsin counties running from Douglas county in the northwest to Door county in the southeast.The understory of a boreal forest is typically made up of shrubs thimbleberry, American fly honeysuckle, beaked hazelnut , and dwarf red raspberry. Native wildflowers include large-leaved aster, and blue-bead lily. The forest floor is often covered with a layer of mosses and lichens. Boreal forests support a diverse array of mammals, including whitetail deer, black bear, moose, wolves, lynx. Among the bird species found in boreal forests are ruffed grouse, pine siskin and red-treated nuthatch.Boreal forests play an important role in the global ecosystem, serving as a carbon sink and helping to regulate the Earth’s climate.

Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest And Wetlands (No. 284)Brule River Boreal Forest (No. 160)Port Wing Boreal Forest (No. 154)White River Boreal Forest (No. 670)

Alternative Natural Community Names:

Hoffman Insert Community Here
WI DNR Boreal Forest – Detailed Community Description
US National Vegetation Classification CEGL002475 Picea glauca – Abies balsamea – Populus tremuloides / Mixed Herbs Forest

Typical Plant Species:

Scientific Name Common Name
Abies balsamea balsam fir
Acer negundo boxelder
Acer saccharum sugar maple
Acer spicatum mountain maple
Actaea rubra red baneberry
Prunus serotina black cherry
Viola cucullata marsh blue violet


Curtis, John T. The Vegetation of Wisconsin.  University of Wisconsin Press. 1959.

Epstein, E.E. Natural communities, aquatic features, and selected habitats of Wisconsin. Chapter 7 in The ecological land- scapes of Wisconsin: An assessment of ecological resources and a guide to planning sustainable management. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, PUB-SS-1131H 2017, Madison.

Hoffman, Randolph M. Wisconsin’s Natural Communities: How to Recognize Them, Where to Find Them, second edition. University of Wisconsin Press. 2002.Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Wisconsin Wetland Inventory Classification Guide. 1992.