Over the next 100 years, Minnesota’s iconic boreal forest and deep snow may change into a deciduous forest with winters warm enough for some precipitation to fall as rain, according to a new U.S. Forest Service assessment of the vulnerability of Minnesota forests to climate change.
“Minnesota Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis” was published by the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and is available online at: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/45939
The assessment describes effects of climate change that have already been observed; projected changes in the climate and the landscape; and forest vulnerabilities in a 23.5-million-acre region of forest in northeastern Minnesota.
Tree species that are already at the southern end of their range, such as balsam fir, quaking aspen, white spruce, and tamarack, are expected to decline over the next century while American basswood, black cherry, eastern white pine, red maple, sugar maple, and white oak may gain suitable habitat across the landscape.
“By planning ahead, foresters and other decision-makers can begin now to manage for resilient landscapes and ensure that the benefits that forests provide are sustained into the future,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. “Forest Service science is delivering information and new technology that will help managers in Minnesota and throughout the nation meet this challenge.”
Changes in Minnesota’s climate have been documented over the past century. In general, the state is experiencing less snowfall in the area covered by the assessment, but more severe winter storms. Mean, minimum, and maximum temperatures have been increasing across all seasons, with winter temperatures experiencing the most rapid warming. Precipitation in the spring and fall has increased, with more of that precipitation occurring in deluges of 3 inches or more.
What might these changes mean for forests?
“There are so many variables that will affect the future of forests in northern Minnesota, forest managers will probably always have to deal with some amount of uncertainty,” said Stephen Handler, lead author of the vulnerability assessment and a climate change specialist with the Northern Institute for Applied Climate Science (NIACS). “But we already know enough right now to begin planning for a range of possible futures. Our assessment gives forest managers in Minnesota the best possible science on the effects of climate change, so they can make climate-informed decisions about management today.”
More than 30 scientists and forest managers contributed to the assessment, which is was conducted as part of the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework, a collaboration of federal, state, academic, and private partners led by the NIACS. NIACS is a collaboration of the Forest Service, Michigan Technological University, The Trust for Public Land, and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement. The Climate Change Response Framework and this assessment are local examples of information provided by the new USDA Climate Hubs and the Forestry Sub-Hub located in Houghton, Mich. http://www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/regional_hubs.htm
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The USDA agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of our nation’s forests, amounting to 850 million acres including 100 million acres of urban forests gracing the nation’s cities, where 80 percent of Americans live. The mission of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station is to improve peoples’ lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).
Jane Hodgins | Eurek Alert!
Harnessing a peptide holds promise for increasing crop yields without more fertilizer
25.11.2015 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Study shows how crop prices and climate variables affect yield and acreage
18.11.2015 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.
Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
25.11.2015 | Event News
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
27.11.2015 | Press release
27.11.2015 | Life Sciences
27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences