The Wabikon Forest Dynamics Plot is located in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest’s Lakewood-Laona District in northeastern Wisconsin, approximately 10 km east of Crandon. The rectangular (840 x 300 m) plot lies on glacially-formed topography with numerous hummocky outwash features, including a glacial esker running through part of the site. Mesic northern hardwoods occupy most of the plot, dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharum), basswood (Tilia americana), white ash (Fraxinus americana), and ironwood/eastern hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana). Animal species include white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), black bear (Ursus americana), gray wolf (Canis lupus), fisher (Pekania pennanti), bobcat (Lynx rufus), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi), a rich assemblage of breeding neotropical migrant birds, and six species of amphibians.
The Wabikon plot was logged during the early 1900s, but the understory today is very high quality, and the forest is a relatively mature representative of more than a million hectares of commercially important hardwood forests in the western Great Lakes region. An area of 447 ha, including the plot and nearby lowlands, was designated as a Wisconsin State Natural Area in 2007. Research at the plot is led by scientists at the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. The first tree census was completed in 2008-09, and the second in 2013. The third census is scheduled for 2018. A soil survey led by Dr. Ben Turner was conducted in 2015. Research at the Wabikon plot includes ecological studies of understory herbs, snow dynamics, deer browsing, seedling ecology bird populations, mammal diversity, and functional ecology of trees (led by Dr. Nate Swenson of the University of Maryland).