|Tamarac is located in the heart of one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the Upper Midwest, where the tallgrass prairie, northern hardwoods and boreal forest meet. More than one-half of the refuge is forested with a rich mixture of sugar maple, basswood, aspen, paper birch, balsam fir and other conifers including several species of pine and spruce.|
|Interspersed throughout the forest are hundreds of wetlands including 21 natural, freshwater lakes, permanent marshes, tamarac bogs, shrub swamps and temporary ponds. Water quality is excellent and some lakes support diverse fisheries. Although grasslands are present, they are only remnants of a larger grassland community that occurred historically when prairie fires were frequent, and often intense.
Current habitat management is focused on maximizing biodiversity through the preservation of old growth forest and wilderness, timber cutting, prescribed fire and water level manipulation.
Photo by Dominique Braud
An active timber management program is directed toward providing the optimum mix of species and age classes to benefit wildlife. More than 5,000 acres of forest, however, are "no cut" areas designated as Wilderness and old growth. Fire is used to maintain grasslands and manage an area of approximately 1,000 acres as an early successional shrub-prairie type for nesting waterfowl and grassland-dependent species.
Water levels are manipulated on some lakes to promote wild rice production for migrant waterfowl and Native American harvest.
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