Presettlement Vegetation of Portage County, Wisconsin (1839-1853)
Tesch, David G.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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Records from metes and bounds, private, and general land office surveys have provided basis for documentation of presettlement vegetation in various sections of the United States. Public land survey records of Portage County, Wisconsin (ca. 1839-1853), were used in conjunction with soil surveys for the reconstruction and analysis of presettlement vegetation. Four plant groups, comprising thirteen plant community types, were delineated. Drainage patterns and bodies of water are represented based on survey records. Median tree diameter was 10 inches (25.4 cm). Black oak (Quercus velutina Lam,) represented the highest frequency, and white pine (Pinus strobus L,) the largest basal area. Fraudulent survey practices were not noted; bias, if any, was insignificant. Beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) was recorded outside the established range. Comparison was made between three existing remnant communities and presettlement vegetation distribution with results indicating similar composition between both eras; although, ecological succession was apparent at several locations. Errors in handwritten survey copies and original maps were detected,