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University of Minnesota Extension

New resource for Minnesota woodland owners tackling climate change

The University of Minnesota Extension recently worked with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science to create the resource "Keep Your Woods Healthy for Tomorrow: A Tool to Assess Risk in Minnesota’s Changing Climate." This document is for private woodland owners in Minnesota interested in assessing risk and adapting their properties to climate change.

Maintaining a healthy woodland is getting harder and harder. In today’s world, there are an increasing number of stresses on woodlands, including climate change. 

The document discusses how the principles of resilience can be incorporated into woodland management. It also describes how native plant communities can be used in evaluating the risks of woodlands to climate change. 

The document is structured into scorecards and actions that property owners can assign depending on the risks to their woodland. The scorecards and actions are organized into four categories:

  • Property-level considerations such as drought stress and access to management.
  • Woodland diversity and composition, including species diversity and general tree health. 
  • Woodland structure such as structural diversity and standing and down dead trees.
  • Tree regeneration such as species suitability, invasive species and deer browse.

With the document, woodland owners can complete a Woods Health Scorecard to assess how resilient their property is to climate change. Then, a Woods Health Actions section will identify potential strategies to address climate change challenges. 

Download the new document to learn more about adapting woodlands to climate change.

Matt Russell, Extension forestry specialist 

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