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- For information on Wisconsin's natural communities, contact:
- Ryan O'Connor
Natural Heritage Inventory Assistant Ecologist
State Rank: S4 Global Rank: G4G5
General natural community overview
Muskegs are cold, acidic, sparsely wooded northern peatlands with composition similar to the Open Bogs (sharing mosses, sedges, 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.
Species of Greatest Conservation Need
The following Species of Greatest Conservation Need are listed according to their level of association with the Muskeg natural community type, based on the findings in Wisconsin's 2015 Wildlife Action Plan.
Scores: 3 = significantly associated, 2 = moderately associated, and 1 = minimally associated.
|Four-toed Salamander||Hemidactylium scutatum||3|
|Mink Frog||Lithobates septentrionalis||3|
|Pickerel Frog||Lithobates palustris||2|
|Ants, wasps, and bees||Score|
|Frigid Bumble Bee||Bombus frigidus||2|
|Confusing Bumble Bee||Bombus perplexus||1|
|A Minute Moss Beetle||Hydraena angulicollis||1|
|American Bittern||Botaurus lentiginosus||2|
|American Black Duck||Anas rubripes||2|
|Olive-sided Flycatcher||Contopus cooperi||2|
|Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Regulus calendula||2|
|Rusty Blackbird||Euphagus carolinus||2|
|Whooping Crane||Grus americana||2|
|Yellow Rail||Coturnicops noveboracensis||2|
|Black-backed Woodpecker||Picoides arcticus||1|
|Connecticut Warbler||Oporornis agilis||1|
|Gray Jay||Perisoreus canadensis||1|
|Henslow's Sparrow||Ammodramus henslowii||1|
|Sharp-tailed Grouse||Tympanuchus phasianellus||1|
|Spruce Grouse||Falcipennis canadensis||1|
|Butterflies and moths||Score|
|Arctic Fritillary||Boloria chariclea||3|
|Midwestern Fen Buckmoth||Hemileuca nevadensis ssp. 3||1|
|Dragonflies and damselflies||Score|
|Forcipate Emerald||Somatochlora forcipata||3|
|Subarctic Darner||Aeshna subarctica||3|
|Zigzag Darner||Aeshna sitchensis||3|
|Incurvate Emerald||Somatochlora incurvata||2|
|Ringed Boghaunter||Williamsonia lintneri||2|
|Sphagnum Sprite||Nehalennia gracilis||2|
|Grasshoppers and allies||Score|
|Crackling Forest Grasshopper||Trimerotropis verruculata||1|
|Spotted-winged Grasshopper||Orphulella pelidna||1|
|Little Brown Bat||Myotis lucifugus||2|
|Northern Long-eared Bat||Myotis septentrionalis||2|
|Silver-haired Bat||Lasionycteris noctivagans||2|
|Big Brown Bat||Eptesicus fuscus||1|
|Eastern Pipistrelle||Perimyotis subflavus||1|
|Water Shrew||Sorex palustris||1|
|Woodland Jumping Mouse||Napaeozapus insignis||1|
|Eastern Massasauga||Sistrurus catenatus||3|
|Eastern Ribbonsnake||Thamnophis sauritus||3|
Please see Section 2. Approach and Methods of the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.
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.
|Scientific Name||Common Name||Score|
|Pseudevernia consocians||Common Antler Lichen||3|
The following Ecological Landscapes have the best opportunities to manage for Muskeg, based on the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin Handbook.
|North Central Forest||Major|
|Superior Coastal Plain||Important|
Major (3 on map)
A major opportunity for sustaining the natural community in the Ecological Landscape exists, either because many significant occurrences of the natural community have been recorded in the landscape or major restoration activities are likely to be successful maintaining the community's composition, structure, and ecological function over a longer period of time.
Important (2 on map)
Although the natural community does not occur extensively or commonly in the Ecological Landscape, one to several occurrences do occur and are important in sustaining the community in the state. In some cases, important opportunities may exist because the natural community may be restricted to just one or a few Ecological Landscapes within the state and there may be a lack of opportunities elsewhere.
Present (1 on map)
The natural community occurs in the Ecological Landscape, but better management opportunities appear to exist in other parts of the state.
What are conservation actions?
Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.
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.