Why all the Orange?


Riveredge Nature Center, in partnership with UW-Stevens Point and Treehaven Research Institute, is in the process of conducting a forest management study.   The orange markings on the trees, seen throughout the Riveredge sanctuary, indicate trees that are unhealthy or are negatively impacting the general health of our forests. 

Over the course of the next year, Riveredge will be actively managing portions of our forested landscape and determining how the forest responds to these management activities.  Future efforts will include removing dead ash (infested by the emerald ash borer), as well as trees that are diseased and/or impeding the health of the forest.

In addition to the active management activities, student interns will conduct research on changes of the flora within the forest due to these management activities.

Management Zones :


Oak/Hickory Forest: The oak/hickory forest is a distinct and major cover type in southern Wisconsin.  Now what was once vast oak savanna, prairie, and oak/hickory forest has been lost to development and agriculture. Management in this area will be mainly removing unhealthy and dying trees, while removing some species to help restore the stand and allow the remaining trees to thrive.

Oak Forest: This area will be managed to promote a healthy oak forest that will provide excellent wildlife habitat for years to come.  The lasting effects will be healthier trees that will provide more food and cover for wildlife.

Mixed Hardwoods: This area will be managed to promote and increase the diversity of the stand.  The closed canopy condition has prevented understory diversity and has limited the regrowth of other species.  By removing some of the dying White (Paper) Birch, sunlight will be allowed to reach the ground and allow for a variety of ground species to flourish.  The removal of other unhealthy and diseased trees will allow healthy trees to grow uninhibited and will allow light in to let seedlings and saplings grow into mature trees.  The large openings in and around the aspen are to allow for aspen regeneration to ensure aspen stay as a component of this stand for generations to come, while no conifers will be harvested, the increase in sunlight to the ground will allow for better regeneration of the conifers to increase the overall diversity.

Lowland Oaks:  In this area, the only trees that will be removed are the dying green ash, which are dying because they are infested with emerald ash borer. Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a beetle that bores into and eventually kills the ash trees it infests.  By removing these diseased and dying trees, we are opening up sunlight for other species like bur oak and white oak.  This will help  promote the oaks; creating an area that will be highly attractive to many wildlife species.

Sugar Bush: Riveredge Nature Center is known for its extensive sugar bushing operation.  In the areas where maple sap collection occurs, the management that is being implemented will allow the healthy maples to increase their crown diameter to help increase sap production.  Diversity will be maintained, but maples will be favored for the sugar bush operation.   Small canopy gaps will be placed to allow for the maple regeneration to grow and become the next generation of maples to be tapped.

For questions regarding RNC’s forest management plan, contact Mandie Zopp at mzopp@riveredge.us or call 262-375-2715.

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