Conserving, protecting and enhancing state forest resources
Minnesota is located at the convergence of three major biomes; coniferous forests, deciduous forest and tall-grass prairies. Over one-third of the state remains forested, and over 12,000 lakes, rivers and streams grace the landscape. The state values its natural resources and is blessed to have so many millions of acres of these resources still in relatively pristine condition. There are a multitude of programs and initiatives linked to ensuring that these resources are properly managed and will still be available for the public to enjoy in the future. Like many other states, however, Minnesota is witnessing changes to its landscapes. The Minnesota Forest Action Plan represents over a two-year effort by the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division and numerous partners, agencies, organizations and individuals to identify and assess the main trends, conditions and issues facing our vast forest resources today. The plan presents a broad overview of the state’s forests and forest resources as well as identify current and future strategies needed to address a variety of forest conditions in the state, regardless of ownerships.
Sustaining a healthy forest land base and forest products industry
Reducing risks from wildfire, climate change and invasive pests
Maintenance and protection of water quality and quantity and use of woody biomass for energy
Adapting to Climate Change: Minnesota forest and grasslands ecosystems will be in transition over the next 50 to 100 years due to increased climate changes already being observed in the state. Impacts include: more frequent and more intense wildfires and windthrow events; shorter winter timber harvest seasons; greater pest, disease, and invasive species problems; and changes in the species compositions of forests. The state has several strategies on-going to combat climate change through efforts such as the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, DNR All Lands group, on-going climate change forums, individual species research such as moose habitat tracking, and strategies related to climate change and invasive species.
Forest Health and Productivity - Invasive Species: Invasive terrestrial species are a constant and growing threat to the health and productivity of Minnesota forests. In particular, emerald ash borers have recently been discovered in two more counties of the state, making a total of seven under quarantine for ash tree material removal. Minnesota is working closely with several other states to slow the spread of this deadly pest through the Emerald Ash Borer Cooperative Project.
Maintenance of Forest Land Base: Changes in public forest ownership and land use patterns as well as loss of wildlife habitat and/or public access for recreation have prompted the state to focus on enacting conservation easement targets through the Forest Legacy program and Minnesota Forests for the Future report. Federal funds and local matching funds are used to purchase development rights and conservation easements of forests in targeted areas to keep them intact and continuing to provide forest benefits.