Climate change research includes a mix of long and short-term projects to understand the impact of changing temperature and precipitation on Minnesota’s forests, prairies and wildlife.
Researchers are developing cutting-edge management strategies to help build resilience into forests.
Long-term studies allow researchers to use adaptive management strategies to learn more about how our ecosystems work and how they are affected by climate change. Such strategies embrace the unpredictable nature of a changing world and focus on an interactive approach that combines monitoring, evaluation and adjustment of actions based on findings.
The effect gradual increases in temperature will have on Minnesota’s boreal forests was the focus of a recent short-term experiment called B4WarmED. Researchers used infrared heat lamps in the canopy and below-ground heating cables to increase the air and ground temperature at 72 research plots in northeastern Minnesota. Seedlings from 11 species were planted to show how climate warming alters tree function, species composition and ecosystem processes.
Scientists have conducted a number of studies simulating the effects of a changed climate on the north woods.