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Department of Forest Resources


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January 2015

Minnesota's northern forests will look much different in coming decades as a warming climate encourages tree species like oaks and maples and pushes others, including spruce and fir, out of the region. Rebecca Montgomery and Peter Reich, forest resources, are authors of the study published in Nature Climate Change.
Duluth News-Tribune
Pioneer Press
Fargo Forum
Science World Report
City Pages

While the freeze won't wipe out the ash borer, it will give communities a chance to develop plans for limiting the bug's spread. Other pests that originated in warmer places could be affected as well, including the gypsy moth, the hemlock woolly adelgid and the European beetle that carries Dutch elm disease, said Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. Native insects have evolved to cope with deep freezes.
Associated Press 

Visitors to northern forests in coming decades probably will see a very different set of trees as the climate warms, a new University of Minnesota study shows....The scientists, led by Peter Reich of the forest resources department at the university, simulated the effects of a warmer climate on 10 native and 1 non-native species over three growing seasons at the University's research sites near Cloquet and Ely, Minn,
Science Daily

November 2014

A University of Minnesota study released earlier this month found that plants have the ability to soak in more carbon from the air when they're provided with sufficient nutrients and water. By not tilling, which breaks down and compacts the soil, farmers avoid the deterioration of vital nutrients, and in turn, vegetation will soak in additional carbon dioxide. "Our findings were part of the larger question of how to keep as much carbon out of the air as possible," said Peter Reich, a forest resources professor and the study's lead author. "Globally, we need to focus on the way in which vegetation influences the climate." 
Star Tribune

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources hopes to fund several University projects aimed at improving the environment. The University hopes to receive nearly 30 percent of the commission’s funding when the plans are brought to the Legislature next year. Anthony D’Amato, a forest resources professor, works for an ongoing project exploring the impact emerald ash borers have on Minnesota’s tree population and potential solutions to the problems. He said the project, which began with the help of the commission, is seeking resources for its second phase set to last five years.“I think the state is really fortunate that we have this model, and the University is very fortunate that we have this [commission] as a resource that we can use to fund research,” D’Amato said.
Minnesota Daily

More than 70 percent of riders in Minnesota said they use ATVs so they can "do something with my family," according to a 2009 study led by Ingrid Schneider, a professor at the University of Minnesota. "There is research to show that the family that plays together stays together," she said.
Star Tribune 

October 2014

To determine Minnesota's most remote locations, I solicited the help of Andy Jenks, a research fellow at the University of Minnesota and an expert on geographic information systems, or GIS.
Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine

Another climate scientist, Peter Snyder of the University of Minnesota, was particularly direct. "There's so much crap going on in the world that climate change always takes a back seat," he said, noting that public attention this fall has been on terrorism and Ebola. "Unfortunately, to solve the problem, a whole bunch of people are going to have to die or a whole lot of people are going to have to lose a lot of money."
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette

Researchers at the University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota have found that local governments can help cut record levels of youth obesity by expanding public lands available for recreation. .. along with co-author Ingrid Schneider from the University of Minnesota, researchers studied data from every county in the state of Minnesota, comparing youth activity rates and youth obesity rates to amount of public nonmotorized nature trails, motorized nature trails, nature preserves, parklands and forest land. 
Lake Tahoe News

September 2014

We may be looking at a new ‘spotted owl’ controversy that could threaten our forest industries,” said Charles Blinn, a University of Minnesota scientist and Extension Service specialist in forest management, harvesting, economics and marketing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to decide next year if it will add the northern long-eared bat to the national endangered species list. If it does, Blinn said, the forest industries summer harvest could be curtailed when bats are nesting and raising young in the forests.

Increased access to nature trails could decrease youth obesity rates, MU study finds.
Wilhelm Stanis, along with her co-authors Andrew Oftedal and Ingrid Schneider from the University of Minnesota, studied data from every county in the state of Minnesota, comparing youth activity rates and youth obesity rates to amount of public non-motorized nature trails, motorized nature trails, nature preserves, parklands and forest land. The researchers determined that increased access to non-motorized nature trails is associated with increased youth physical activity and lower levels of youth obesity, while increased access to nature preserves was associated with lower levels of physical activity. Public forest land was also associated with higher activity rates; the researchers did not find any relationship among parklands and activity or obesity rates.
University of Missouri-Columbia Press Release 09/11/2014
Science Daily 09/11/2014

August 2014

The other problem with the unpredictable flooding is timing, said Claudia Nanninga, a visiting research associate in forest resources at the University of Minnesota. "When seeds are ripe, they're only able to germinate within 7 to 14 days," said Nanninga, who is seeking funding to do further research on cottonwoods in greenhouses, where conditions can be more easily controlled.
Minnesota Public Radio


U professor and plant ecologist Rebecca Montgomery says her lab's mantra could be "timing is everything." She researches how Minnesota forests might respond to climate change. What species might benefit from predicted earlier springs, for example, and what species might decline? For answers, she's looking to phenology, a strange word for something humans have done for a long time as they've watched the seasons unfold.
Pioneer Press 

June 2014

University of Minnesota environmental education professor Stephan Carlson pulled a branch to eyeball height. The group of Minnesota Master Naturalists closed in, considered whether the petiole—the stem that connects leaf to branch—was visible. If so, it was a leaf, even if that leaf remained tightly furled.
St. Cloud Times

May 2014

MN Native at the Top of the Timbersports Game -- From Paul Bunyan on down, Minnesota has quite a tradition when it comes to lumberjacks. So you probably won’t be surprised to learn that in the world of timbersports, one of the best in the country comes from right here in Minnesota. Meet the latest Minnesotan looking to make his mark, Ben Whelan [FR].

A University of Minnesota study sheds new light on what caused hundreds of trees in Minneapolis to topple during a storm last June. It also provides tips to save trees in the future. "One storm, one day, one city," recalled University of Minnesota's Gary Johnson, of the Department of Forest Resources. The storm sparked a city study to inspect and help figure out what happened.

Sidewalk repairs doomed over 3,000 trees that were toppled by strong winds and storms last June, prompting recommendations to prevent such a massive treefall during future storms.. Gary Johnson, the primary investigator and a professor at the University of Minnesota, said he was surprised to see such a strong correlation between sidewalk repairs and tree loss. “You can say 99 percent of those failures were because of this relationship,” he said. “I’ve never had anything come up that strong.”
University of Minnesota

A University of Minnesota professor is one of the authors of the new Federal Climate Assessment Report. Paul Bolstad, a professor of Forest Resources, co-wrote the report... "It is pretty unequivocal in this report that humans are causing climate change," said Bolstad. "There is really no question. The science is as sure as the science from cigarettes causing cancer."

The latest evidence came this week in the National Climate Assessment, a White House report detailing the potential consequences of climate change on rainfall, drought and heat by state, including Minnesota. ...In the North Woods, red maple trees from more temperate parts of the state are displacing pine, spruce and fir trees, said Lee Frelich, who heads the University of Minnesota's Center for Forest Ecology. The loss of boreal forest could affect all species in the ecosystem -- trees, wildlife, birds, insects, plants, mosses and fish, Frelich added.
Minnesota Public Radio

April 2014

The intense rain sweeping across the Twin Cities in recent days has endangered a number of trees in the area...University of Minnesota professor Gary Johnson said there are two things homeowners can do to prevent tree failure. One is to refrain from planting trees on the narrow boulevards of city streets. Second is to avoid cutting or confining the tree's roots, since the roots on the windward and leeward sides and deeper are what holds the tree in place.

The Forest Service today also released an eBook which contains a Wood Energy Financial App that allows users to do a simple and quick analysis to see if wood energy is a viable alternative for their community or small business. The App and eBook were developed through a partnership with Dr. Dennis Becker, associate professor and Dr. Steve Taff, extension economist at the University of Minnesota and others.
Gilmer Mirror

As the emerald ash borer threatens forests, a U of M collaboration is preparing for a scenario in which trees disappear from the forest.
Few trees will remain after the ash borer comes through. “In lowland areas in this part of the state, black ash makes up 90 percent of the native forest,” says Tony D’Amato, associate professor in the Department of Forest Resources and a co-principal investigator for the research project. “Unfortunately, the options for replacing them are pretty limited.”
Rising from the Ashes

The likely increased numbers of Minnesota’s favorite game animal will come at the peril of the state’s beloved pine trees and the native plants, insects and animals that live below them on the forest floor.... For the environment, selective browsing by deer also means a reduction in other trees and plants, including red oak, certain lillies, orchids and other plant species, said Lee Frelich, University of Minnesota forest biologist. The overall effect is a cascading drop-off in certain insects, less habitat for animals, fewer songbirds, less grouse and pheasant and the disappearance of various berries, Frelich said.
Star Tribune

Meanwhile, as the spring thaws promise an even thicker ring of cattails in the coming weeks ... Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology and board member of Friends of Loring Park, has been on the issue for years. He said if the bill passes, it will force the DNR to direct the Minneapolis Park Board to eliminate the plant. He said they would likely do so with machinery and herbicide.
Star Tribune

Congregants have traded in traditional palms for "Eco-Palms," fanlike gatherings of fresh green leaves attached to a central stem and imported from Guatemala and Mexico. Eco-Palms are harvested and marketed in sustainable ways that help preserve the rain forest and provide an economic boost to palm workers and their communities, said program founder Dean Current, director of the Center for Integrated Natural Resource and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota.
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 2014

University of Minnesota forestry expert Lee Frelich, director of the Center for Forest Ecology, told Minnesota Public Radio that, although there are many variables, there was a good likelihood the extreme temperatures could kill the EAB larvae.

It's a well-preserved gem of boreal forest, around 350 acres fronting two lakes on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It long belonged to a wealthy Chicago family with a deep love of the wilderness. Now the land and its tall pines near Ely are under the control and ownership of the University of Minnesota, which plans to use it for research on climate change's effects on northern forests and for teaching classes...."It's a wonderful place for people to come and study and reflect and experience the wilderness," said Linda Nagel, director of operations at the university's Cloquet Forestry Center and the overseer of the Ely facility.

Minnesota Public Radio

Pioneer Press

Star Tribune



San Francisco Chronicle

Albany Times Union

St. Cloud Times

Houston Chronicle

Lee Frelich, director, Center for Forest Ecology at the University of Minnesota, said the cold may have killed a majority of the emerald ash borers, but it likely didn't eliminate the beetles. ...The cold won't be enough to stop the invasive beetle's spread, but it will give the state a little more time to replace ash trees, according to University of Minnesota Extension entomologist Jeff Hahn.
Minnesota Public Radio
LaCrosse Tribune
Detroit News

Winona Post
Cedar Rapids Gazette


Other pests that originated in warmer places could be affected by extreme cold as well, including the gypsy moth, the hemlock woolly adelgid and the European beetle that carries Dutch elm disease, said Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. Native insects have evolved to cope with deep freezes.
Portland Press Herald
Miami Herald

I’ve spoken many times about the mortality of the pine bark beetle at -40 in northern Minnesota based on discussions with University of Minnesota forestry expert Lee Frelich, director of the Center for Forest Ecology. Winter mortality for emerald ash borer is definitely temperature dependent. The larvae can supercool to a certain point, but they die if they freeze, and there is variability in tolerance among individual insects.
Minnesota Public Radio

July 2014



Minnesota Forest Scene



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