The Minnesota Ecological Classification System (ECS) uses historical and present biotic and abiotic ecosystem components to define Native Plant Communities (NPC). The University of Minnesota Hubacheck Wilderness Research Area (HWRC) is a parcel of 365 acres of land located near Winton, MN on the Ely - Knife Lake Bedrock Complex landtype association that is primarily passively managed as an ecological “Reserve”. In 2017, we went through three phases to identify and delineate potential NPCs across the HWRC. Historical and contemporary remotely sensed data were used to delineate preliminary classifications. These were field-verified by establishing 13 sampling plots that were established and sampled, following the Relevé method, and analyzed, using ECS identification methods established by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Adjustments were then made, where necessary, to produce final NPC class, type, and subtype classifications. A mosaic of nine different upland and lowland NPC classes was identified and delineated. Upland FDn43 and ROn23 communities occupied 71.2% and 3.4% of the land, respectively. Lowland communities occupied 25% of the land and included APn80, FPn73, FPn82, MRn83, MRn93, WFn55, and WFn64 classes. ROn23 and some lowland communities were found to contain somewhat novel species assemblages in comparison to the MN DNR ECS field guide and may warrant further study.
This work was conducted as part of a University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center undergraduate forest management and research internship funded by UMN CFC Forest Management revenues.
Gilson, Liam W; Gill, Kyle G; Prange, Rebecca J; Johnson, Lane B.
A report on the identification and mapping of the Native Plant Communities at the Hubachek Wilderness Research Center.
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