The Barnes Barrens Management Area is roughly 11,500 acres in size, is located in the Town of Barnes in western Bayfield County and is within the Northwest Sand Ecological Landscape. This area is considered one of Wisconsin’s Priority Conservation Opportunity Areas for Wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

Pine Barrens are classified as a true savanna type. The term savanna is used for any plant community where trees are a component, but where their density is so low that grass and other sun loving herbaceous vegetation dominate. Pine Barrens are unique among savannas in that the shrub component is much more extensive than in other savanna types. 

In the absence of fire, natural plant succession coupled with an intensive tree planting program has turned almost all of the Pine Barrens in Bayfield County and in Wisconsin into forests. Pine Barrens management on the Bayfield County Forest includes the creation and maintenance of both permanent and temporary (surrogate) open barrens and brush prairie barrens habitat types. These are the least common types of Pine Barrens habitat and are the types that, in the absence of disturbance, become forested over time; hence they become a forest habitat.

This special management area will provide critically important Pine Barrens habitat through the simultaneous development of jack pine and open and early successional barrens. In managing any natural resource, it is necessary to develop principles and guidelines to meet specific objectives. This plan defines operational parameters and guidelines that must be followed to achieve the desired future condition. Management zones were designed to give the forester flexibility in timber sale planning. A few important objectives are as follows: 

  • Delineate approximately 11,500 acres as a special management area on the Bayfield County Forest for the simultaneous management of timber products and the development and maintenance of early successional Open and Brush Prairie Pine Barrens habitat.

  •  Identify and delineate a “core” area and four management zones within the special management area. The core area will provide permanent open barrens habitat and the zones will serve as floating surrogate barrens. 

  • Develop a timetable for the systematic harvest and regeneration of timber in each designated management zone. 

  • Designate approximately 200 contiguous acres within each zone as Kirtland’s Warbler Habitat Areas (KWHA). Reforest these areas to jack pine at densities that are conducive to creating suitable Kirtland’s Warbler habitat. Currently, suitable habitat contains at least 1,200 stems per acre, combined with 1 to 5 unforested openings per acre. Openings should total approximately 25% of the stand and be evenly distributed. 3 

  • Direct the Foresters of Bayfield County, through principles and guidelines, in the sustainable management of the Barnes Barrens Management Area.

The approximately 11,500 acre Barnes Barrens Management Area is broken into 4 management zones. Each zone surrounds a roughly 1,000 acre, permanently open core area and ranges in size from 2,468 to 2,937 acres. The management zones are assigned a 12 year harvest interval (each zone is completely harvested over a period of 12 years). During the harvest interval, whenever possible, all stands within each zone will be harvested and seeded or planted exclusively to jack pine. From the time of harvest until the point when the jack pine regeneration is approximately 10 feet in height, stand characteristics will meet the criteria for Brush Prairie Barrens. Typically, suitable Brush Prairie habitat will exist for 10 to 15 years after harvest. The habitat created during this 10 to 15 year window will serve as temporary or “surrogate barrens”.

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