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February 2016 webinar: Practical silviculture for non-foresters



Please note the date for this webinar was incorrectly listed as January 26 in our monthly newsletter. The correct date is February 16 as noted below.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016, noon – 1:00 p.m.

Ecologists, wildlife managers, and others are increasingly invited to comment on proposed silvicultural treatments, particularly on public lands. If these situations make you scratch your head, this session is for you. Join us over the lunch hour for a practical review of common silvicultural strategies in Minnesota and the theory that informs them.

Speaker: Eli Sagor, UMN-SFEC, Cloquet Forestry Center

Registration: Register here to watch online or attend one of five broadcast site locations for free throughout Minnesota.

Read the February 2016 update now

Click here to read the February update. This month’s features include:

  • Join a training for Forest First Pest Detector
  • Silviculture for non-loggers: Join us online February 16
  • Helping our forests keep up with climate change
  • Spring seedling planting
  • Master Woodland Owner program coming soon!
  • News, upcoming events, and more.


February 2016 update


Coming Soon: Master Woodland Owner Program


We’re almost ready to pull the curtain back on our new landowner education program! Keep checking back for our big announcement, or sign up here to be notified when we start accepting applications!

Feeling the Heat: Helping Our Forests & Creatures Keep Up with Change

Photo of trees by Philip Potyondy

In recent months, we couldn’t help but hear about climate change, from Pope Francis to President Obama to world leaders gathered in Paris. What does it mean to our Minnesota forests and their creatures, and most importantly, what can we do about it?  

But Climate Has Always Changed

Our Earth and forests are ever-changing. So is our climate. The pace of this change usually happens slowly over hundreds, thousands or millions of years allowing our forests and their creatures to adapt. Much of Minnesota was glaciated just over 10,000 years ago. So what’s different this time? Scientists have noticed the Earth’s overall average global temperature has warmed in the last 150 years, and it’s happening faster than past changes. About 40% more carbon dioxide has been added to the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s. The most recent decade was the warmest since instrumental record keeping began around 1880. Abundant evidence shows it’s primarily the result of human activity. Our burning of fossil fuels for heat and energy is releasing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Warmer, Stormier, and a Changing Forest

Depending on our future emissions levels, scientists predict the Earth’s average temperature to rise another 3 to 12 degrees by 2100. Minnesota is projected to have increases in annual average temperature of 9 degrees Fahrenheit (most notably in winter). Overall precipitation could increase by 3-5 inches, but in the form of more frequent, intense rain and wind events, with periods of severe drought. Increases in disturbances such as blowdown events, wildfire and erosion are expected. Snowfall could be reduced by 30 % and snow depth by 40-60 %. The growing season may increase by 35-49 days.

Minnesota is unique in its diversity of biomes including grassland, deciduous forest and coniferous forest. They have been shaped by differences in temperature and precipitation, from north to south and east to west, creating a tension zone and causing many of our forest plants and wildlife to be at the edge of their range. As climate changes occur, their ranges will shift north and east. Species that will struggle the most to adapt or migrate will be those with isolated habitats, very specific habitat requirements, low reproductive rates, limited dispersal, dependence on interactions with specific other species, low genetic variability, and/or living near their physiological tolerance limits.

Our forest ecosystems, economy and recreation may be altered in many ways. Stressed trees will be more susceptible to insects and disease. Invasive and non-native plants and pests that thrive in the new conditions may increase. An example is the eastern larch beetle which effects tamarack and fares better in warmer weather. Northern tree species such as balsam fir, spruce, tamarack, quaking aspen, and paper birch will likely decrease and be replaced by oak, hickory, elm and maple. Lake trout and cisco will be negatively affected by warmer lakes. Less snow and coniferous cover will not bode well for spruce grouse and marten. Moose likely already feel the impact of warmer temperatures and loss of energy spent staying cool. White-tailed deer may benefit from greater access to forage and reduced energy loss in winter. However, as their abundance increases, potential impacts to crops and forest vegetation could be felt. And possible effects of increase in disease outbreaks under new temperature and precipitation patterns, like epizootic hemorrhagic disease, should be considered. Activities from timber harvest to maple syrup-ing, and fishing to snowmobiling will “feel the heat”.

What Can We Do? – Grow Diverse and Resilient Forests

While climate change may seem overwhelming, the good news is we can take action. Mitigation, or reducing carbon emissions, is our first opportunity. It includes familiar activities such as turning the thermostat down and lights off, driving less and using more efficient vehicles, using renewable heat and energy sources, and planting trees to shelter our homes.

In addition to mitigation, as a forest owner, you have a second vital opportunity – adapting to climate change by managing your forest for diversity and resilience. The four steps you can take are:

  1. Prepare – Learn more about climate change, identify potential threats and vulnerabilities to your forest, and share with and encourage others.
  2. Plan – Gather basic information about your forest, establish goals, and identify where climate change may impact it.
  3. Apply key strategies – Implement on-the-ground practices to meet your goals. (More detail to follow.)
  4. Monitor and adapt – Track your efforts and adjust your strategies as needed.

Key Adaptation Strategies

Your goals, and the adaptation strategies to address them, could include the following. You may already be applying some of these tangible, on-the-ground practices:

  1. Forest health – Encourage native trees and plants, especially those predicted to thrive in the new conditions; consider harvesting trees expected to be most vulnerable sooner rather than later and occasional thinning to decrease competition and increase vigor of remaining trees; be on the watch for invasive plants and control them promptly; and maintain a diversity of native trees, sizes and age classes so your “eggs are not in one basket”.
  2. Wildlife habitat – Maintain and restore native forest habitats; buffer and protect wetlands and streams; and maintain refugia, habitat structure and connectivity, and large undeveloped, un-fragmented forest habitat blocks.
  3. Water quality – Minimize disturbance to water bodies and wetlands; restore shorelines to native vegetation; and maintain watershed health by keeping it forested.
  4. Carbon storage – Grow and retain trees on site; minimize soil and tree damage during harvest; and use trees in long-lived wood products.
  5. Recreation – Create low-impact trail systems; monitor and repair trails after large storms; and encourage deer management to control populations and protect forest vegetation from over-browsing.
  6. Human health and safety – Manage wildfire risk by being Firewise and reducing fuel load around your home and forest; and maintain safe trails by closing or re-routing them when threats such as hazard trees or unsafe crossings exist.           

Handy Worksheet

For greater detail on adaptation strategies, see the Weather-Wise Worksheet for Woodland Owners. Though it refers to forests in New England, the strategies are also very relevant to our Minnesota forests. Please consider using it with your professional forester to integrate climate change goals and strategies into your forest stewardship planning and management, taking action to keep your forest healthy, diverse and resilient far into the future. Your forest, its creatures and you will be glad you did!

For more information on climate change, see the DNR web page at


Photo by Philip Potyondy

Read the January 2016 update now

Click here to read the January update. This month’s features include:

  • Announcing the 2016 Forestry Webinar Series
  • Forest insects and diseases in Minnesota: Join us online January 26
  • Gathering Partners conference coming May 2016
  • Need help understanding property taxes?
  • Meet a Minnesota Logger: James Scheff
  • News, upcoming events, and more.


January 2016 update


January 2016 webinar: Forest insects and diseases in Minnesota

Tuesday, January 26, 2016, noon – 1:00 p.m.

Every year insects and diseases kill large numbers of Minnesota’s trees. Through aerial surveys, ground surveys, and in-depth site investigations, the Minnesota DNR’s forest health team strives to track what insects and diseases are most damaging to our forests, which ones are on the rise, and which ones are on the downswing. This webinar will focus on these problems and discuss which insects and diseases made an impact in 2015.

Speaker: Brian Schwingle, MN Department of Natural Resources

Registration: Register here to watch online or attend one of five broadcast site locations for free throughout Minnesota.

Update: Webinar now available to view below.

Announcing the 2016 Forestry Webinar Series

The Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative and University of Minnesota Extension are pleased to announce a monthly series of web-based presentations, or “webinars,” on current topics of interest to natural resource managers, landowners, and educators.

Who should participate?

These presentations are designed for natural resource professionals and interested landowners and are approved for continuing education credits through SAF and MN Forest Stewardship. ISA credits are available for some webinars.

How to register?

  1. Register here to watch from your personal computer. Sign up for the whole 2016 series for $50, or pick and choose at $20 per presentation. OR:
  2. Attend a broadcast site FOR FREE at one of five locations throughout the state (see below).

Presentation schedule

Forest insects and diseases in Minnesota: highlights from 2015
Tuesday January 26 from noon-1pm
Brian Schwingle, MN Department of Natural Resources

Practical silviculture for non-foresters
Tuesday, February 16 from noon-1:00pm
Eli Sagor, University of Minnesota, Cloquet Forestry Center

Forest management effects on water
Tuesday March 15 from noon-1:00pm
Diana Karwan, University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources

Climate change and eastern larch beetle is a bad mix for tamarack in Minnesota
Tuesday April 19, 2016
Brian Aukema, University of Minnesota Department of Entomology

EAB and woodland ash: Learning from the Michigan experience
Tuesday May 17, 2016
Bob Heyd, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Importance of managed forests to Minnesota’s forest birds
Tuesday June 21, 2016
Alexis Grinde, UMD – NRRI

Forest disturbances in Minnesota: what impacts us most?
Tuesday July 19, 2016
Matt Russell, UMN Department of Forest Resources and Extension

Natural resource applications of unmanned aerial systems
Tuesday August 16, 2016
Bill Anderson, University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources

Topic TBD
Tuesday September 20, 2016
Speaker TBD

Oak and fire in Minnesota forests
Tuesday October 25, 2016
Lee Frelich, University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources

Update on northern long-eared bat research in Minnesota
Tuesday November 15, 2016
Morgan Swingen, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Natural Resources Research Institute and Mark Jacobs, Aitkin County Land Department

Updates on biomass and renewable energy and the EPA Clean Power Plan
Tuesday December 13, 2016
Anna Dirkswager, MN Department of Natural Resources

Broadcast site locations

  • Cloquet: Cloquet Forestry Center, 175 University Road, Cloquet MN 55720. Contact: Julie Hendrickson, or (218) 726-6403.
  • Crookston: 205 Owen Hall on the University of Minnesota – Crookston campus, 2900 University Ave, Crookston, MN 56716.  Contact: Phil Baird, or (218) 281-8130.
  • Duluth: Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center, 7328 Boulder Dam Rd, Duluth, MN 55803. Contact: John Geissler, or (218) 721-3731.
  • Ely: Vermilion Community College, 1900 E. Camp Street, Ely, MN 55731. Contact: Lori Schmidt, or (218) 235-2180.
  • Grand Rapids: North Central Research and Outreach Center, 1861 Hwy 169, Grand Rapids, MN 55744. Contact: Adam Dorrance, or (218) 327-5958 ext 3009.
  • St. Paul: Green Hall (UMN St. Paul campus), 1530 Cleveland Ave. North, St. Paul MN 55108 (St Paul campus map). Contact: Matt Russell, or (612) 626-4280 OR Eli Sagor, or (218) 409-6115.

Continuing education credits

See details at


Contact Julie Hendrickson at or 218-726-6403. Registration, content details, and recordings are at

Read the December 2015 update now

Click hereScreen Shot 2015-12-07 at 3.59.07 PM to read the December update. This month’s features include:

  • Help UMN Extension Forestry by taking the Woodland Owner survey
  • Deer and forest regeneration webinar online December 15
  • Gathering Partners conference coming May 2016
  • USDA tax tips released for 2015
  • EAB listening sessions in Duluth and Washington County
  • Meet a forest landowner
  • Help for Minnesota logging businesses
  • News, upcoming events, and more.



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