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Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
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Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's natural communities, contact:
Ryan O'Connor
Natural Heritage Inventory Assistant Ecologist
608-266-7714

Muskeg

State Rank: S4     Global Rank: G4G5   what are these ranks?

Definition

Natural Heritage Inventory description 1

Muskegs are cold, acidic, sparsely wooded northern peatlands with composition similar to the Open Bogs (Sphagnum spp. mosses, Carex spp., and ericaceous shrubs), but with scattered stunted trees of black spruce (Picea mariana) and tamarack (Larix laricina). Plant diversity is typically low, but the community is important for a number of boreal bird and butterfly species, some of which are quite specialized and not found in other communities.

1. Please see the printable version [PDF] of the NHI Natural Community descriptions.

Suggested citation: Epstein, E.J., E.J. Judziewicz, and E.A. Spencer. 2002. Wisconsin Natural Community Abstracts. Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources, Madison, WI.

Rare plants

Rare plants associated with Muskeg

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

Scores: 3 = "significantly associated," 2 = "moderately associated," and 1 = "minimally associated."
Scientific Name Common Name Score
Pseudevernia consocians Common Antler Lichen 3
Pyrola minor Lesser Wintergreen 1

Photos


Muskeg Photos

Muskeg Photo

Black River State Forest, Jackson County.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

Black spruce dominated muskeg with well developed hummocks and heath layer. Flambeau River State Forest.

Photo by Andrew Galvin.

Muskeg Photo

Vegetation sampling plot with Joan Elias, Jim Meeker, and Eric Epstein. Muskeg in Bad River Reservation, Ashland County.

Photo by Emmet Judziewicz.

Muskeg Photo

Muskeg, Iron County.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

Muskeg/acid bog, Washburn County.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

This large undisturbed peatland complex north of Black Lake is made up of Poor Fen, Open Bog, Muskeg, and Black Spruce Swamp communities, among others. The individual depicted is local author/biologist Michael Van Stappen.

Photo by Emmet Judziewicz.

Muskeg Photo

This acid, somewhat open, conifer swamp is dominated by black spruce, ericaceous shrubs, sedges, and sphagnum mosses and supports many boreal vertebrates and insects.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

This large wetland is composed mainly of sphagnum mosses, sedges, and low ericaceous shrubs. In the distance, woody cover increases - mostly stunted swamp conifers such as black spruce and tamarack.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

This large wetland is composed mainly of sphagnum mosses, sedges, and low ericaceous shrubs. In the distance, woody cover increases - mostly stunted swamp conifers such as black spruce and tamarack.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

Open Bog and Muskeg, Powell Marsh, Iron County.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

Open Bog and Muskeg, Powell Marsh, Iron County.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

Muskeg and Open Bog at Port Wing State Natural Area, Bayfield County.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

Muskeg and Open Bog at Port Wing State Natural Area, Bayfield County.

Photo by Eric Epstein.

Muskeg Photo

A muskeg within the Swanson Lake Intensive Peatlands site.

Photo by Christina Isenring.

Muskeg Photo

Muskeg with stunted tamarack, black spruce, and white pine over dense ericacous shrubs, Sphagnum, and cotton-grass.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor.

Muskeg Photo

Muskeg with stunted tamarack, black spruce, and white pine over dense ericacous shrubs, Sphagnum, and cotton-grass.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor.

Note: photos are provided to illustrate various examples of natural community types. A single photograph cannot represent the range of variability inherent in a given community type. Some of these photos explicitly illustrate unusual and distinctive community variants. The community photo galleries are a work in progress that we will expand and improve in the future.

Last revised: Thursday, September 24, 2015