The NEON, Domain 5 relocatable terrestrial site known as Steigerwaldt consists of two separate properties that are not spatially connected. The site of NEON’s tower and related field study plots is managed and owned by Steigerwaldt Land Services, Inc. and is located to the east of Tomahawk, WI, approximately 1 mile north of the Treehaven site. However, the property is too small for NEON’s distributed plot activities, and no nearby land area could be identified for these studies. Consequently, NEON has established a separate set of distributed plots in the Park Falls District of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CHEQ), about 30 miles NW of the Steigerwaldt tower.
The Steigerwaldt tower site is managed for timber production and recreation. It is a young, even-aged stand, with aspen (Populus tremuloides), red maple (Acer rubrum), and balsam fir (Abies balsamea) among the most abundant tree species. The stand was cut in 2005, with some scattered oak and hemlock left for wildlife food and roost. It has approximately 4000 aspen stems per hectare, naturally regenerated from roots. Roads are planted with clover as additional food source for deer and ruffed grouse.
The NEON study area in the CHEQ Park Falls District encompasses a diversity of forest stands. The area includes pine, hemlock, aspen, northern hardwoods, including CCC-planted red and jack pine plantations. Logging is active in the area, although different management systems may vary. The CNNF Park Falls District’s timber program has recently been dominated by salvage timber projects following ice and hail damage, windstorms, tornadoes, and spruce decline, followed by a recent focus in over-mature aspen stands in both Price and Taylor County. Over the last several years, the District has been moving out of salvage mode with recently approved vegetation management / forest health projects in pine and hardwood management areas. Early successional habitat also continues to be a focus
Climate at both the Steigerwaldt tower site and the CHEQ distributed plot site is typical of northern to north-central Wisconsin. It is a humid continental climate with warm summers and no dry season. The warm season lasts from approximately mid-May to mid-September with the warmest temperatures typically in July (average high 79 F). The cold season lasts from November to March with the coldest temperatures typically in January (average low 4 F). The annual average temperature is 41.6 F, and temperatures rarely drop below -17 F or above 87 F
Site Specific Topics
The NEON study area in the CHEQ is in close proximity to other research activities that have focused on land-atmosphere carbon interactions, the Chequamegon Ecosystem Atmosphere Study, or ChEAS. Additionally, NEON study plots in this site may be poised to detect the future impacts of the invasive emerald ash borer.