Centers / Cooperatives

Aspen and Larch Genetics Project

The University of Minnesota’s Aspen and Larch Genetics Project is located at the University's North Central Research and Outreach Center in Grand Rapids. Fast-growing tree species are expected to play a significant role in meeting the burgeoning demand for aspen and to insure ample timber for regional economic development. Scientists address improved growth rates through breeding, hybrid aspen and European larch, clonal propagation methods, and novel plantation establishment techniques.  The Project represents important industry and governmental action to maintain Minnesota's future timber supply. Andrew David directs the Project.

Center for Changing Landscapes

In response to widespread landscape change, members of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (now College of Design) and the College of Natural Resources (now CFANS), both at the University of Minnesota, created the Center for Changing Landscapes (CCL). The Center links innovative landscape planning and design with technical expertise in natural resource management and geospatial analysis and modeling. The goal of the Center is to address issues of sustainability for changing rural, urban, and urbanizing landscapes, within and beyond the University of Minnesota. To do so, the Center uses remote sensing, geographic information systems, modeling for predicting landscape change, and landscape and urban design-focused approaches to generate alternative design scenarios at various landscape levels including regional, subregional, district, neighborhood, and site levels. Mae Davenport directs efforts of this Center for the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Center for Environment and Natural Resource Policy

The Center for Environment and Natural Resource Policy was established in 1984 to facilitate interdisciplinary studies on the issues associated with natural resource management. The Center shares its collective ideas through conferences, symposia and seminars, in book and journal formats, and through the Center's Working Papers. Additionally, Center faculty serve in an advising/consultative role for government and industry on policy issues and process as appropriate. Michael Kilgore directs this Center.

Center for Forest Ecology

The Center for Forest Ecology has a mission to provide science for stewardship of forests. It is part of the Department of Forest Resources and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Our forests face a complex set of problems in a unique time of change. Invasive species, fragmentation, storms, fires, and a warming climate are having dramatic effects on forest ecosystems. Future stewardship of forests will depend on understanding these changes. The Center for Forest Ecology’s internationally renowned studies bridge the gap between science, conservation, and management of forests; they span scales from individual trees to landscapes, and taxonomic groups from earthworms to wildflowers to deer, and trees. The director of the Center for Forest Ecology is Lee E. Frelich and Peter B. Reich and Rebecca Montgomery are also faculty members of the center. The center’s work is partly funded by a permanent endowment with the University of Minnesota Foundation, and gratefully acknowledges past and/or current grant support from National Science Foundation, National Park Service, Joint Fire Science Program, Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), Great River Greening, and the new Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC) at the University of Minnesota.

Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management

Since its initiation in July 1995, the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management (CINRAM), an interdisciplinary center, has brought together diverse groups to catalyze the development and large-scale adoption of integrated land use systems. The Center maintains and actively seeks out effective linkages within the University and with many county, state, and federal agencies and organizations outside the University including universities and non-governmental organizations outside of the country that are active in natural resources and agricultural management. CINRAM will continue to raise awareness statewide of the need for integrated land use systems that support rural communities and generate environmental services. Donald Wyse and Dean Current direct CINRAM efforts for the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Cloquet Forestry Center

The Cloquet Forestry Center is the University's primary research and education forest. The Center serves the research, teaching, and education needs of the natural resources community. It is also home to Extension's Cloquet Regional office. The Center includes 3,400 acres that support broad areas of research and education. Meeting facilities and classrooms can accommodate up to 140 people, with onsite lodging and food service.

Cooperative Park Studies Program

The University of Minnesota Cooperative Park Studies Program (MN-CPSP) was created in a cooperative arrangement between the University of Minnesota and the National Park Service (NPS) in 1989. In the fall of 1996, the MN-CPSP became a part of the Biological Research Division (BRD) of the United States Geologic Survey. The unit provides scientifically-based knowledge for the management of federal lands and their natural resources, and transfers such information to other agencies and the public to assure careful stewardship of the nation's natural resources.

Great Lakes Northern Forests Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit

The Great Lakes Northern Forests Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (GLNF CESU) was created in August 2002. It stretches from Minnesota to Maine including all or part of 13 states and is part of a national network of 17 CESUs. The mission of the GLNF CESU is to promote research, technical assistance, and education that involves the biological, physical, social, and cultural sciences needed to address, manage, and preserve Great Lakes Northern Forest ecosystems in a rapidly changing social, economic and environmental landscape. In addition to the host university - the University of Minnesota –the GLNF CESU has 35 university partners, 9 nongovernmental organization partners, and 9 federal partners. The Department of Forest Resources is the Host University Coordinator for the GLNF CESU (

Hubachek Wilderness Research Center

The Hubachek Wilderness Research Center is the University’s wilderness research and education facility. It is approximately 360 acres located on the northern shore of Fall Lake directly adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely, Minnesota. The HWRC was a generous gift of a private donor and hosts a wide variety of research and education programs.  It can accommodate upwards of 25 people during the summer, fewer during the winter season.

Interagency Information Cooperative

The Interagency Information Cooperative (IIC) is a partnership between the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, Minnesota Association of County Land Commissioners, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Land Management Information Center, University of Minnesota, and the USDA Forest Service. This Cooperative and its site maintains a vast amount of information on Minnesota's forest and related natural resources.

Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative

The Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative was formed in 1981 to increase the use of genetic principles in regional forestry practices. It is housed at the Cloquet Forestry Center. The primary goal of the cooperative is to increase the quantity and quality of timber yields in the region. This goal is accomplished by selecting and breeding trees with faster growth, better form, and increased disease resistance than those which currently exist. The Cooperative is also involved in research and development of genetic resistance to white pine blister rust, a non-native disease that devastates eastern white pine. Andrew David oversees this Cooperative.

Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory

Remote sensing research, focusing on forestry applications of aerial photography, began at the University of Minnesota in 1952. In 1972 the Remote Sensing Laboratory was established in the College of Forestry. To reflect the key role of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the lab's research and analysis, the lab was renamed the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory (RSGAL) in 1988. Today, our research, development and applications projects focus on analysis of multispectral imagery, lidar and radar data, acquired from satellites, piloted aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Our mission is to advance the development and application of remote sensing and geospatial analysis to inventory and monitor natural resources and environment through research and outreach. Much of the research is conducted in cooperation with public agencies in Minnesota and other U.S. and international collaborators. In addition, faculty associated with the RSGAL are actively involved with instruction and graduate education.