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College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
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Department of Forest Resources


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December 2011

Reports released Wednesday by the legislative auditor contained no surprises for those who have paid close attention to debates and discussion that preceded and followed the 2008 approval by state voters of the Legacy Amendment…Such valued council members, past and present, include, among others, University of Minnesota professor Mike Kilgore, Nobles County Pheasants Forever chapter president Scott Rall and retired Star Tribune outdoors columnist and TV personality Ron Schara.
Star Tribune

Nearly a century ago disease wiped out American Chestnut trees in Minnesota, but there's hope for a revival. Researchers at the University of Minnesota including forest resources department professor Gary Johnson are growing chestnuts.

November 2011

If ash trees are on the way out, why not bring back the majestic chestnut? ...  University forestry professor Gary Johnson is heading the study....Chestnuts were once one of the most numerous and useful hardwood trees in the eastern United States before blight decimated the population in the early 20th century. Now resistant strains exist, and can survive, but the species' unique and fragile tap root system doesn't make it popular at local nurseries. Johnson hopes university experiments and research started late last month can change that perception.  Read more (.pdf)
Quad Community Press, 11/22/2011

While hiking with our toddler son earlier this year, my husband and I started brainstorming ways to turn our passion for travel and the outdoors into a sustainable lifestyle…While we were fantasizing about it, David and Rachel Liechty were actually doing it. For six months, starting at the Mexico border in April, the University of Minnesota graduate students and their one-year-old daughter, Hazel, covered 1,500 miles of the PCT.
Discovery News

Earthworms have many fans. But many American scientists are coming to view some earthworms as enemies... before long, says Lee Frelich of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Forest Ecology, “Earthworms become the dominant living thing that influences the ecosystem. They influence the type of plants that can grow, the type of insects that can live there, the habitat for wildlife species and the structure of the soil.”
Science News for Kids

Consider walking part of the mountainous Pacific Crest Trail all the way from the Mexican border to Yosemite Valley. Then, imagine doing it with your 1-year-old daughter on your back. That's just what David and Rachel Liechty did with daughter, Hazel, in tow from April (just one week after the child's first birthday) to September. To the University of Minnesota graduate students, the outing in the woods wasn't about setting records (though they are the first family to hike the trail that far with a baby-turned-toddler).
Star Tribune

Now that the leaves are (mostly) raked, bagged or mulched it’s a good time to reflect on the “tree canopy” that is so essential this community’s character, beauty, property values and air quality…The study that created the mapping tool was conducted by the University of Minnesota Remote Sensing and Geogspatial Analysis Laboratory for the city of Minneapolis.
Twin Cities Daily Planet

October 2011

Forest Service officials are preparing to leave it to Old Man Winter to kill the last remnants of a forest fire that blackened nearly 145 square miles of northeastern Minnesota in and near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area… Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology, said visitors next spring will encounter a landscape that will combine delicate beauty with risks.
Crookston Times

The biggest forest fire in Minnesota in half a century has left the most popular region of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area black and blue and green… Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology, said visitors next spring will encounter a landscape that will combine delicate beauty with risks.
Star Tribune

Results are in on the first phase of biomass study. The biggest news might be that Cook county has way more biomass available than it needs to keep its homes, businesses and governmental buildings warm and a one-size-fits-all solution doesn't exist....Dr. Dennis Becker of the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources described the four types of biomass that could reasonably be used for energy production in Cook County...
The Cook County News-Herald 10/08/2011

September 2011 

Firefighters have contained 67 percent of the Pagami Creek Fire, erasing fears that the blaze could threaten area homes. But in northern Minnesota, some are still angry that Forest Service officials decided not to snuff out the fire when it first ignited...That's why some experts, like Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Forest Ecology, are calling for more controlled burning in the Boundary Waters.
Minnesota Public Radio 09/29/2011

By now most of us get it, or have at least heard it: fires are good for the forest. But what does that mean? University of Minnesota forest ecologist Lee Frelich can help.
MinnPost 09/23/2011

The fire burning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a routine event in the history of Minnesota's wilderness, one that has occurred periodically since long before there were kayaks and campfires…This fire and future blazes "can help the forest make the transition that it needs to adjust to a warmer climate," said Lee Frelich, director of the Center for Forest Ecology at the University of Minnesota and an expert on boreal forests.
Star Tribune 09/20/2011

More than 500 firefighters continue to make progress in containing a huge wildfire in northeastern Minnesota that began a month ago…Lee Frelich, director of the Center for Forest Ecology at the U of M said, under a federal policy fires are allowed to burn in a national wilderness area unless they are a threat to people.
Star Tribune

Minnesota Public Radio Morning Edition
Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth News Tribune

The Pagami Creek fire burning in the Boundary Waters is the biggest the area has seen in more than a century. But historically, big forest fires used to be commonplace in that area. In fact, they're part of a natural process that rejuvenates the ecosystem. Lee Frelich, a forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota, spoke with MPR's Morning Edition about the role fire plays in a forest.
MPR News 09/15/2011

You want big trees? William and Ute Reid have big trees. Lots of them… "There's some sort of ecosystem-level resistance," speculated Lee Frelich, a forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota who learned of the tract only seven or eight years ago.
New England Cable News 09/10/2011

Drawings and paintings created by 10 Minnesota botanical artists will be featured at Ripple River Gallery, Aitkin, through Sept. 18. The exhibit explores the beauty of the northern forest with a focus on species that are affected by climate change, invasive species, fire and other factors that are disturbing the ecology of the boreal forests across the upper regions of North America… For this project the botanical artists consulted with Lee Frelich, Ph.D., Director, University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology, and David McLaughlin, Ph.D., Mycologist at the University of Minnesota.
Grand Rapids Herald-Review 09/08/2011

How about state record contenders for rock and red elm? Not to mention bitternut hickory. Did we mention peachleaf willow?... "There's some sort of ecosystem-level resistance," speculated Lee Frelich, a forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota who learned of the tract only seven or eight years ago.
Pioneer Press

August 2011

Minnesota’s beleaguered moose population could fade away within a decade—much faster than previously estimated—if the current rate of decline continues. That’s the projection noted by several natural resource experts who were part of the state’s 2009 Moose Advisory Committee to develop ways to save the state’s iconic forest animals. Authors of Monday’s report also include University of Minnesota forest ecology expert Lee Frelich and University of Minnesota natural resource policy professor Dennis Becker.

A Minnetonka woman survived a bizarre accident. It happened on August 13th on Black Oak Road in Minnetonka. Kay Goldstein says she was driving home from dinner and at first didn't know what happened, "I think i may have blacked out because I just heard the loudest crash on my car, and I'm just like, what is going on here?"… Gary Johnson is a Professor of Urban and Community Forestry and the University of Minnesota. Johnson says he spent 11 years studying fallen trees in the upper Midwest. (08/29/2011)

Four experts on the climate in North America responded to questions from the Post-Bulletin about long-term temperature records, recent weather in Minnesota, the flow of information from scientists to the general public, and climate-change scenarios: Lee Frelich is director of the Center for Forest Ecology at the University of Minnesota.
Rochester Post-Bulletin [subscription]

July 2011

A tree inventory under way in St. Cloud will help determine how vulnerable the area is to the destructive emerald ash borer… “We don’t know if (the emerald ash borer) is in St. Cloud,” said Gary Johnson, project leader of tree inventory and University of Minnesota urban and community forestry professor.
St. Cloud Times 07/28/2011

Foresters say there's tree trouble ahead, from road salt to climate change… Gary Johnson, professor of urban and community forestry at the University of Minnesota, said trees sprouted leaves so far behind schedule this spring that they may not be able to accumulate the energy reserves they customarily need to get through the next winter... Winds in the range of 60 to 75 miles per hour perform a sort of "selective weeding" by taking down weak trees, said Lee Frelich, director of the university's Center for Forest Ecology. But this year's tornadoes, as well as the derecho—a wide juggernaut of straight-line winds—that rolled across central Minnesota July 10, have been more powerful and have toppled mature, healthy trees.
Star Tribune 07/17/2011

Like many states, Minnesota is struggling to find new financial footing for its state parks. That means the parks will change - this time with service cuts that park users will notice… "State parks and outdoor recreation contribute to our sense of place," said Ingrid Schneider, a University of Minnesota professor who studies tourism and state park use.
Star Tribune 07/13/2011

Isle Royale in Lake Superior used to be too cold for deer ticks. But not anymore… Lee Frelich, a University of Minnesota researcher who studies the impact of climate change in the upper Midwest, said the analysis used widely accepted climate models and data, and the findings are right on the mark.
Star Tribune 07/13/2011
Miami Herald 07/13/2011

In May, the U of M’s Department of Forest Resources sent out about 1,000 surveys to landowners in the Vermillion River Watershed. The hope, assistant professor Mae Davenport said, is to find out just how much landowners know—or care—about the water resources in their community.
Farmington Independent 07/05/2011

Eight University of Minnesota students received grants to pursue graduate studies, research, or teach English abroad next year… Nicholas Anthony Fisichelli, a doctoral student in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, received a Fulbright Grant to Germany and will use it to research the impact of climate change on forests.
KSTP 07/01/2011

June 2011

Scientists at the University of Minnesota, including Peter Reich of the Department of Forest Resources, are making world-wide contributions to research on how climate change is affecting ecosystems.
Science Daily

Ingrid Schneider, director of the University of Minnesota Tourism Center, has been reappointed to the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council by Gov. Mark Dayton.
University News Service 06/29/2011

It is a ritual. Pull out the canoe, the paddles, the packs and the maps and plan this year's big route through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness… I am awakened by the voice of Peter Reich, Distinguished McKnight Professor and forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota.
MinnPost 06/28/2011

The exhibit was inspired by the northern forest, which, due to several factors (fires, invasive insects, changing climate), is under increasing stress. The artists, under the guidance of forest ecologist Lee Frelich and mycologist David McLaughlin - both at the University of Minnesota - concentrated their artistic efforts on the trees and plants most affected by these forces.
Minnesota Public Radio 06/24/2011

Brad Griffith gets down and dirty with earthworms and loves it… Griffith has shared his videos with Nico Eisenhauer, an expert in the study of earthworms and a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources.
Olympic Peninsula Daily News 06/13/2011

May 2011

Last fall Crookston joined five other cities as greater Minnesota participants in an Emerald Ash Borer Preparation Grant secured by Gary Johnson, forest extension specialist, University of Minnesota, St. Paul campus.
Crookston Times 05/20/2011

Yarrow, it's called, this flowering plant also known as "little feather" for the shape of its leaves... Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities conducted an 11-year experiment with 13 plant species common in U.S. Midwestern states... "They have major implications for models of future climate," says Peter Reich, a forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota and co-author of the paper.
Phys Org 05/19/2011

That high-resolution imaging satellite was just one of the high-tech tools used to produce the most detailed map ever of the city’s urban canopy. Professor Marvin Bauer’s University of Minnesota team combined June 2009 imagery from QuickBird with LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data collected two years earlier to create their Minneapolis map.
Downtown Journal

With what must be one of their more obtuse headlines, Fox Nation misrepresented a recent study on the impact of climate change on the world's crops, proclaiming that it showed "No Global Warming In North America."… According to University of Minnesota scientist Peter Reich, also contacted through CSRRT, Fox Nation is completely missing the important point of Lobell's study, saying via email that "if there is evidence that on average, around the world, agricultural output was already impacted by climate change, that is important, and a 'canary in the coal mine' kind of signal."
Media Matters 05/11/2011

Recognizing the need to prepare communities for the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), the University of Minnesota’s Department of Forest Resources has assembled a project team.
Crookston Times 05/03/2011

April 2011

Minnesotans saw a lot of sunshine Friday. For those looking for a little shade, Minneapolis is the place to be. A new study found that 31.5 percent of the city is sitting in the shade of trees… According to the study conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Department of Forest Resources, nearly 50 percent of the Lynnhurst neighborhood in Minneapolis is covered by trees. ... In St. Paul, the canopy cover rate was 32.5 percent, a recent study found. Researchers also studied Woodbury, where the tree cover is 21.5 percent; it's lower because large portions of the city still are cropland, and trees in newer residential developments are predominantly younger and smaller, said Marvin Bauer, lead researcher and professor of remote sensing at the university's Department of Forest Resources...
WCCO-TV  04/28/2011
Star Tribune
Pioneer Press

The Department's Regents Professor Peter Reich has been named a 2011 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he'll join some of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts. The Society's members have included influential Americans down through the ages in the arts, humanities and sciences. Congratulations, Peter!
Read more

March 2011

Road salt turning Twin Cities lakes into dead seas
The sound of water gurgling through storm sewers is the promise of a spring that's been a long time coming... "Folks who grow up in Minnesota have a clear idea of that expectation and responsibility," said Kristen Nelson, a social scientist at the University of Minnesota who studies environmental behavior. "It takes on important symbolic connotations."
Star Tribune 03/23/2011

February 2011

Neighborhood trees' care and benefits focus of workshop in Roanoke
Virginia will hold its 11th annual urban and community tree workshop March 9, with several experts on hand to address those in attendance… Gary Johnson is professor and extension professor of urban and community forestry at the University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources. Since 1992, his research and outreach has focused on tree production and preservation.
WPCVA 02/17/2011

We can’t plant our way to cutting CO2 emissions

To curb global warming would require converting huge swaths of farmland.
..."It's at best a small part of a large strategy that we need to offset greenhouse gas emissions," said Peter Reich, a University of Minnesota professor who studies ecology and climate change. "And it's not one that is economically cheap."
...It would also be prohibitively expensive. Last year, in a report to the Legislature, environmental economists ran through a variety of scenarios to achieve the recommended 1 million acres of forestation. One assumed that the marketplace set a $30 per ton price for carbon -- unrealistic in the United States, but closer to reality in Europe, said Dennis Becker, a university economist who co-authored the report.
Star Tribune 02/08/2011 

January 2011

How much do you affect the urban ecosystem?
Results of household survey can change pollution inputs neighborhood by neighborhood.
The human race -- you -- has become the dominant force of change on the planet… An in-depth survey of 3,000 households in Ramsey and Anoka counties is providing environmental researchers Kristen Nelson, Sarah Hobbie and Larry Baker at the University of Minnesota insight into just that question. Read more (.pdf)
Star Tribune