Illinois State Museum

Hardwood Forest
Edgar County, 1673

Hardwood Forest diorama
Click on active areas for more information and images on fire, fragmentation, and oak-maple forests.

This scene is an upland hardwood forest in early spring. The rich, moist soil supports an abundance of wild flowers. White-tailed deer feed on tender new growth. Turtles and snakes emerge from hibernation. Migrating birds use the forest as a place to rest and feed on the way north. In May, there may be as many as 80 to 100 species of birds here in one day. A few stay here to nest.

The beech trees in this scene are signs that this is not a typical Illinois forest. American beech is a dominant tree of the eastern deciduous forest. It occurs only in the easternmost and southernmost parts of the state. Most forests in Illinois are oak-hickory forests.

This diorama is based on historic records, archaeological evidence, and studies of the geology and ecology of hardwood forests in the Wabash Border Division of eastern Illinois.