U of M researchers look closely at Como leaves.
University of Minnesota researcher Chris Buyarski wants to know when different species of trees drop their leaves to help the city of St. Paul time street sweeping to keep as much tree litter as possible out of the lake.
News from Capitol Region Watershed District
“The recreational opportunities, the charm of the various communities in the area, the proximity to the Twin Cities — all of those work to their advantage,” said Cynthia Messer, acting director of the University of Minnesota’s Tourism Center.
University of Minnesota researchers have developed a new approach for identifying potential environmental effects of deliberate releases of genetically engineered (GE) insects. The researchers outline their approach in a paper in the journal Ecology and Evolution. The authors include professor of entomology David Andow and Aaron David, Joe Kaser, Amy Morey and Alex Roth – four graduate students who received NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) – the National Science Foundation’s flagship interdisciplinary training program educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers.
At the first ever Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference, held at the Science Museum yesterday, Lee Frelich, from the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources, said something that got my attention. "On the drive to St. Paul I noticed green leaves on deciduous trees. It's the latest I've ever seen this."
Minnesota’s first statewide conference asking how we should adapt to a changing climate took place Thursday in St. Paul. The conference kicked off with a long list of possible impacts, as predicted by experts from sectors ranging from public health to agriculture to transportation. Peter Snyder, Larry Baker and Lee Frelich are quoted.
Minnesota Public Radio
After years of miscommunication born from land ownership issues, a University of Minnesota research center and neighboring Native American tribe are working to find common ground. The University’s Cloquet Forestry Center is located on the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation, and the two parties are now working to resolve communication issues and share the land.
Twin Cities Daily Planet
Rising from the Ashes. What happens when the 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.”
Survivors on Elm Street. A handful of trees may hold the key to disease resistance.
The process of testing for resistance is time consuming. Once a potentially resistant tree is identified, the team collects branches that forest resources scientist Chad Giblin (’01–B.S.; ’13–M.S.) propagates into hundreds of clones. After three years of growth in the greenhouse, the clones are inoculated with spores of the DED fungus. If the clones survive, they get transplanted into the field, where they mature another two to three years before a second round of inoculation.
Minneapolis and St. Paul leaf sweeps are on, despite late fall. A late spring is blamed for leaves clinging to branches longer, cut cities day sweeps need to start now to beat snow....Chris Buyarski, a University of Minnesota scientist, said the delay in leaf fall could be two weeks, possibly because a late spring featured an early May snowfall. Freezing temperatures that promote leaf drop also held off later this year, he said.
Across Minnesota, a determined counterattack is emerging against a looming threat to the northern forest — climate change. Lee Frelich, Peter Reich, Rebecca Montgomery, Meredith Cornett and Dave Chaffin are featured in print and video.
According to Lee Frelich, a forestry expert with the University of Minnesota, the answer is oaks … if you are only talking about trees native to Minnesota. But if we were to include the many non-native trees, he believes it would by the Norway maple or Littleleaf Linden.
U supports rural majors
Students say the U’s urban campus has enough resources for nature-centric majors.
Growing up near Plymouth, Minn., Luke Midura watched as developers turned the farmland and woods near his home into suburban dwellings. The University of Minnesota senior chose to major in forest and natural resource management because, he said, he takes it personally when land is developed in ways that aren’t ecologically sound. Though his major could lead to a job in a rural area, Midura and other University students in similar fields still choose the urban-based University because of the quality of its programs.
Leaf pollution makes urban lakes reek. Excess nutrients have damaged about 140 lakes in the metro area. When leaves fall in forests, they don’t cause problems, because the soil and surrounding plants recycle their nutrients. Forest resources junior scientist Christopher Buyarski, who conducted most of the experiments, said they identified the problem by filling bags with leaf litter, driving over them once a week to simulate traffic and testing the material once a month for carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.
Given the trends in warming temperatures, Minnesota's climate could experience 10 to 12 degrees of warming, on average, by the end of the century, said Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Forest Ecology. The result? "We'd become the new Kansas," Frelich said, noting that the border between the grassland prairie and the northern forest would move north to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Working with researchers at the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board hopes the tubes can foster the growth of more and longer-lasting trees by nurturing seedlings as they mature in place. Establishing trees when they are smaller and younger gives them a better chance of becoming resilient to stresses in their environment and living longer, according to Chad Giblin, a university horticultural scientist working on the project.
With low temperatures dipping into the 50s, it’s felt more like September than August recently. Now come sightings around the metro area of trees with their leaves starting to change color, raising concerns that our ultra-late spring is going to be sandwiched with an ultra-early fall.... “Any time you see trees changing color early it means that they’re stressed,” said Gary Johnson, a professor of urban forestry at the University of Minnesota. “It means that the tree has started to shut down.”
Damage from the June storms is providing University of Minnesota researchers with a crash course in treefall. .. Gary Johnson, U professor of urban and community forestry, said that with fresh evidence of 3,000 downed trees, Minneapolis is an ideal laboratory for the $30,000 study approved Wednesday night by the city’s Park and Recreation Board.
Gary Johnson, an urban forestry specialist at the University of Minnesota, has studied boulevard tree viability since 1995. He’s concluded that the best solution is to adapt the size of the tree to the width of the boulevard. With a boulevard of 4 feet or even narrower, a 50-foot tree is more likely to topple. A recent root cut for sidewalk or curb repair just exacerbates the issue.
The storm that roared across Minnesota and into the Twin Cities on Friday cut power to over 615,000 homes, flooded basements and damaged cars. One of the more visible casualties of the severe winds and torrential rains was the metro area's urban forest... Lee Frelich, director of the Center for Forest Ecology at the University of Minnesota, spoke with Steven John of MPR News about what led to such extensive tree damage.
Minnesota Public Radio
Doctor Alan Ek wonders if Minnesota researchers are looking so hard at moose to find a reason for the animal’s precipitous decline that they are not paying adequate attention to the habitat changes occurring within state’s northeast moose range. Ek, head of the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota, and research fellow David C. Wilson published a paper in Minnesota Forestry Research Notes where they found recently disturbed and young forest habitat has declined within the moose range. Disturbances, primarily logging and fire, create prime moose habitat with an abundance saplings for browsing moose.
As the air gets warmer, it can hold more water. But "we're alternating between periods of extreme wetness and extreme dryness," says Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. A warming world may produce a higher average precipitation and a higher average humidity, but fires perversely enjoy this, says Frelich: It means they can feast upon even more forest fuel once conditions snap back to dry and hot.
EAB could arrive in Rochester immediately or in 20 years, depending on what preventative steps are taken and if infested firewood isn't accidentally brought into the area, says Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Forest Ecology.
Rochester Post Bulletin
Tony D’Amato, an associate professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Forest Resources, currently has two ongoing studies evaluating Minnesota’s biomass harvesting guidelines. One observation he’s made so far is that the amount of incidental breakage left behind varies a lot depending on the forest and soil type. In aspen forests, the amount of breakage left behind can be almost enough on its own to meet the guidelines, whereas harvests in conifer forests tend to be cleaner with less incidental breakage. One recommendation might be for states to offer more specific guidelines for different soil types.
Midwest Energy News
Climate change could lead to the widespread loss of common plants and animals around the world, according to a study released Sunday, May 12, in the journal Nature Climate Change. .. The study's conclusions are "entirely consistent with what others are finding around the world," said Peter Reich, professor of forest ecology at the University of Minnesota, who read the report.
Students and others showed their best forestry skills for the 78th year in a row Friday as part of the University of Minnesota’s annual Forester’s Day Celebration.
Forestry Club members demonstrated traditional timbersports such as cross-cut, underhand chop, bolt toss, pulp toss and modern tree climbing techniques.
Other festivities included a contest where teams of two competed in four events including match split, cross-cut, pulp toss and tree identification.
Students on the agriculture campus at the University of Minnesota celebrated Forestry Day with some plaid flannel and axes.
Friday marked the 78th year the university has celebrated Forestry Day.
The event traditionally involves some lumberjack demonstrations.
Thank goodness for people like Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Forest Ecology. Frelich reminded a group that gathered in St. Croix Falls recently that the snow lingering on the ground in parts of the state this year is as much a sign of climate change as the extreme heat of last spring. The new normal is dramatic weather swings. The Wisconsin native and UW-Madison graduate has spoken about climate change across the U.S. Much of his research has focused on the Upper Midwest.
Capital Times (Madison, Wis.)
Minnesota's lakes are a precious natural resource, but nature itself might be damaging Como Lake in St. Paul. That's where a group of University of Minnesota researchers and the public can help.
U of M ecologists are looking for 25 volunteers in the Falcon Heights and Como Park neighborhoods to monitor trees for buds and leaves. ... "The water and cars driving over them break them down, and the nutrients come out of those leaves into the water that then flows into the lakes," said U of M ecologist Rebecca Montgomery.
Things are only getting worse for the formerly innocent earthworm. After being cited by a University of Minnesota forestry professor as a threat to northern forests, the earthworm — long a symbol of earthy richness and fishing-hole fun — is now being blamed in a study for possibly helping to increase greenhouse gas emissions. ... “My guess is, on balance, they’re emitting,” said Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Forest Ecology, when asked about the study.
Only in Minnesota would you consider temps below -40F and deep snow "good weather." But if you're a tree in northern Minnesota, that's exactly what you'd be thinking now about the "real winter" of 2012-'13. I asked Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Forest Ecology if our colder weather is a good thing for the forests "up north."
Minnesota Public Radio
Group discusses state’s environment
Students and others worked together to set environmental goals for the state.
. . .Urban forestry junior Luke Midura discussed land issues like storm water and resource management at the event, he said.
Though the discussions brought out a variety of viewpoints, Midura said educating people on the political process may have made them more efficient.
The downed limbs and other woody debris that are inevitable byproducts of timber harvest could be among the most important components of post-harvest landscapes, according to a new study led by the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station....The study was conducted in collaboration with Robert Slesak, University of Minnesota.
As the subject of changing-climate impacts gathers more urgency, U of M professor Mark Seeley and his data are much in demand. And on Monday evening he was the opening panelist for Climate Change: Right Here, Right Now, a special public-affairs event presented by MinnPost's Earth Journal Circle at Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. Joining Seeley onstage were Lee Frelich, a towering redwood among the U's forestry experts, to discuss climate change's impact on Minnesota's woodlands, and J. Drake Hamilton, longtime science policy specialist at Fresh Energy, to talk about how climate issues are shaping Minnesota's "policy landscape."
Minnesota is blessed with a conservation ethic and interest unlike anywhere in America. So it’s no surprise, and a good thing, that there are always lots of ideas on how best to invest in our outdoors. Yet one approach that singularly serves all interests is the faithful adherence to a statewide conservation strategy.... (co-author) Michael A. Kilgore is a professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Forest Resources.
As winter approaches its Groundhog Day midpoint, this season might have seemed unusually cold to people. But native and invasive plants and insects have hardly shivered. "It hasn't been cold enough to come anywhere close to killing insect pests," said Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Forest Ecology.
Star Tribune 02/01/2013
Officials at the state Department of Natural Resources are setting aside a 20-year-old forest management policy that delays logging operations on some parcels of land to ensure that up to 15 percent of state forests grow old....Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Forest Ecology, thinks the new policy is a good one. But he said the DNR should take the time to measure the ages of state-owned forests separately.
Minnesota Public Radio 01/30/2013
Threatened by long-term declining participation in shooting sports, the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a campaign to ensure its future by getting guns into the hands of more, and younger, children…The confluence of high-powered weaponry and youth shooting programs does not sit well even with some proponents. Stephan Carlson, a University of Minnesota environmental science professor whose research on the positive effects of learning hunting and outdoor skills in 4-H classes has been cited by the gun industry, said he "wouldn't necessarily go along" with introducing children to more powerful firearms.
Edina parents are intensifying pressure on school leaders before a decision Monday on whether to start school in August–a controversial pre-Labor Day start that hundreds of parents oppose…Last year, a University of Minnesota Tourism Center study concluded that starting school before Labor Day decreases the chances by 50 percent that families will take a trip in August or September, and 30 percent across the summer.
Mark Seeley, Peter Reich and Nick Jordan, gave a room packed with legislators a quick but sweeping summary of the global environmental problems facing the state.
More schools across Minnesota are petitioning to begin their school year before Labor Day, pitting the tourism industry and parents against schools that want to give students more time to prepare for crucial state and national exams...Last year, a University of Minnesota Tourism Center study concluded that starting school before Labor Day decreases the chances by 50 percent that families will take a trip in August or September, and 30 percent across the summer. And at the State Fair, officials expect a drop in attendance if more schools start in August.