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Upland Deciduous Forest

Forest Map

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Area: 1,958,000 acres

Description and Overall Condition: : This landscape component includes the larger tracts of native upland deciduous forest which occur scattered throughout the state and unique natural stands of coniferous forest. Representative upland forest, including deciduous and coniferous forests, wooded shrubland, riparian forests, and rural tree plantings, constitutes approximately 4.4% of North Dakota.

Ninety-eight percent of the states forestland is deciduous forest. The larger tracts of deciduous forest have been identified as Focus Areas and include the Pembina Gorge, Turtle Mountains, Devils Lake Hills, and the Killdeer Mountains. The Ponderosa Pines is a coniferous forest Focus Area. Smaller, scattered tracts of deciduous forest occur on the Sheyenne River (see Figure 30) bluffs and north- and east-facing slopes of the badlands (see Figure 33). These natural upland tracts of deciduous trees in North Dakota represent a unique community rare to the state. Most forested areas are under private ownership and are used primarily for cattle grazing. Over-harvest for wood products does not appear to be of concern but the lack of forest regeneration in some areas is of concern. Clearing of trees for farming or other development is ongoing.

Predominant Natural Vegetation

Trees and Shrubs

bur oak, green ash, quaking aspen, balsam poplar, paper birch, American hazelnut, black currant, Missouri gooseberry, red raspberry, Saskatoon serviceberry, hawthorn, prickly rose, pin cherry, choke cherry


false lily-of-the valley, early meadowrue, yellow avens, pink wood violet, wild sarsaparilla, dwarf cornel, pink wintergreen, arrowleaf aster

Associated Species of Conservation Priority


horned grebe, golden eagle, bald eagle, Swainson’s hawk, black-billed cuckoo, red-headed woodpecker


arctic shrew, pygmy shrew, northern long-eared bat, western small-footed bat, long-eared bat, long-legged bat, little brown bat, big brown bat, townsend’s big-eared bat, american marten, gray fox

Other Characteristic Wildlife


turkey vulture, sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper’s hawk, broad-winged hawk (Turtle Mountains), red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, merlin, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, mourning dove, great horned owl, Eastern screech owl, long-eared owl, common nighthawk, ruby-throated hummingbird, yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, yellow-shafted flicker, Western wood pewee, Eastern wood-pewee, yellow-bellied flycatcher, willow flycatcher, least flycatcher, great crested flycatcher, purple martin, tree swallow, blue jay, black-billed magpie, common crow, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, brown creeper, house wren, golden-crowned kinglet, ruby-crowned kinglet, Eastern bluebird, veery, wood thrush, American robin, gray catbird, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, yellow-throated vireo, warbling vireo, Philadelphia vireo, red-eyed vireo, yellow warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, American redstart, black-and-white warbler, ovenbird, Northern waterthrush, mourning warbler, common yellowthroat, migratory warblers, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, black-headed grosbeak, lazuli bunting, indigo bunting, spotted towhee, Eastern towhee, chipping sparrow, lark sparrow, clay-colored sparrow, song sparrow, common grackle, brown-headed cowbird, orchard oriole, Bullock’s oriole, Baltimore oriole, pine siskin, American goldfinch, evening grosbeak


little brown bat, silver-haired bat, big brown bat, Eastern red bat, hoary bat, Eastern cottontail, woodchuck, Eastern chipmunk, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, Northern flying squirrel, beaver, white-footed mouse, southern red-backed vole, meadow vole, meadow jumping mouse, Western jumping mouse, porcupine, coyote, red fox, gray fox, raccoon, American marten, ermine, long-tailed weasel, least weasel, bobcat, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer


American toad, gray tree frog, wood frog, common garter snake, plains garter snake

For more detailed information about this topic, please see the North Dakota Wildlife Action Plan.