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Argonne Experimental Forest

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin

The Argonne Experimental Forest is located within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest about 24 km southeast of Three Lakes, Wisconsin. The forest was established in 1947 and is administered by the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station.


The climate is continental, with an average annual temperature of 5 °C. Summer maximums of 32 °C are common and winter minimums can reach -40 °C. Average annual rainfall is 813 mm, mostly occurring during the growing season. Snowfall averages 1,524 mm per year. The growing season averages about 100 days.


Three soil types dominate the Argonne: Iron River loam, Carbondale peat, and Tawas sand.


The vegetation types vary according to the soil type. The Iron River loam supports northern hardwoods dominated by sugar maple, yellow birch, basswood, and hemlock. Other species found mixed in this type are white ash, black cherry, quaking aspen, northern red oak, and American hornbeam. The Carbondale peat supports mixed lowland conifers dominated by black spruce and tamarack. Jack and red pine, quaking aspen, and paper birch dominate the Tawas sand. Most stands of trees on the Argonne are second-growth and even-aged, though there are small areas of old-growth northern hardwoods on the forest.

Research, Past and Present

Research on the Argonne began in 1947. The primary objectives of most studies are to learn how to bring second-growth northern hardwoods under management. The cutting methods study (comparing nine different types of cutting) is replicated and is the highest priority study on the forest.

Major Research Accomplishments and Effects on Management

Information from studies on the Argonne has been used to develop management guides for northern hardwood forests in the Lake States. These guides are widely applied throughout the region. The Argonne also serves as an excellent demonstration to landowners area to land managers interested in managing northern hardwoods.


Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Menominee Tribal Enterprises, as well as many industries and universities have collaborated on studies at the Argonne.

Research Opportunities

The Argonne provides an opportunity to study the silviculture and ecology of the three main vegetation types. The active studies provide opportunities to compare treatments of many components of the forest.


There is a small field station located on the Argonne, but the building is without water, heat, or bathroom facilities.

Lat. 45°45′ N, long. 89°0′ W

Contact Information

Argonne Experimental Forest
USDA Forest Service
Northern Research Station
Forestry Sciences Laboratory
5985 Highway K
Rhinelander, WI 54501
Tel: (715) 362-1124

Related Publications

Alban, David H. 1977. Influence on soil properties of prescribed burning under mature red pine. Research Paper NC-139. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station

Godman, Richard M.; Books, David J. 1971. Influence of stand density on stem quality in pole-size northern hardwoods. Research Paper NC-54. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station

Hutchinson, Jay G. 1992. Northern Hardwood Notes. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station.

Kern, C.C., Palik, C.C., Strong, T.F., 2006. Ground-layer plant community response to even-age and uneven-age silvicultural treatments in Wisconsin northern hardwood forests. For. Ecol. Manage. 230, 162.

Niese Jeffrey N., Strong Terry F.,&  Erdmann Gayne G. 1995. “Forty years of alternate management practices in second-growth, pole-size northern hardwoods: II. Economic evaluation.”  Canadian Journal of Forest Research  25: pp. 1180-1188.

Niese, Jeffrey N. & Strong Terry F. 1992. “Economic and tree diversity trade-offs in managed northern hardwoods.” Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 22, pp. 1807-1813.

Rollinger, J.L. and Strong, T.F. 1996. Carbon storage in managed forests of the northern Great Lake States. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-214. pp. 203-207.

Strong Terry F., Erdmann Gayne G. & Niese Jeffrey N. 1995.  “Forty years of alternate management practices in second-growth, pole-size northern hardwoods: I. Tree quality development.”   Canadian Journal of Forest Research  25: pp. 1173-1179.

Strong, T.F. 1997. Harvesting intensity influences the carbon distribution in a northern hardwood ecosystem. USDA Forest Service Res. Pap. NC-329, 7p.

Strong, T.F. 1999. Productivity of even-aged, second-growth northern hardwoods brought under uneven-aged management. In: Conf. Proc. Of Improving Forest Productivity for Timber…. A key to Sustainability. Duluth, MN. Dec. 1-3, 1998. 7p.

Tubbs, Carl H. 1977. Manager's handbook for northern hardwoods in the north-central states. General Technical Report NC-39. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station

Summary information presented here was originally published in:

Adams, Mary Beth; Loughry, Linda; Plaugher, Linda, comps. 2004. Experimental Forests and Ranges of the USDA Forest Service. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-321. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 178 p.

Information may have been updated since original publication.

Last Modified: 06/15/2011