Conserving, protecting and enhancing state forest resources
Minnesota is located at the convergence of three major biomes; coniferous forests, deciduous forest and tall-grass prairies. Over one-third of the state remains forested, and over 12,000 lakes, rivers and streams grace the landscape. The state values its natural resources and is blessed to have so many millions of acres of these resources still in relatively pristine condition. There are a multitude of programs and initiatives linked to ensuring that these resources are properly managed and will still be available for the public to enjoy in the future. Like many other states, however, Minnesota is witnessing changes to its landscapes.
The Minnesota Forest Action Plan represents over a two-year effort by the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division and numerous partners, agencies, organizations and individuals to identify and assess the main trends, conditions and issues facing our vast forest resources today. The plan presents a broad overview of the state’s forests and forest resources as well as identify current and future strategies needed to address a variety of forest conditions in the state, regardless of ownerships.
Sustain a healthy forest land base and forest products industry
Minnesota forest and grassland ecosystems are in transition due to climate changes already being observed and noted by forest and natural resource managers. Impacts now and over the next 50-100 years include: More frequent and intense weather patterns affecting fire, drought, flooding and wind-throw events; shorter and milder winters affecting timber harvest seasons; increased pest and invasive species affecting forest health and changes in forest species composition, which can pose threats to watersheds and water quality.
The state has included several strategies in our Forest Action Plan to ensure that Minnesota forests remain sustainable and viable today and into the future. Climate change initiatives are in place to address multiple aspects of forest management. All ownership landscape approaches including Shared Stewardship and Good Neighbor Authority contribute to conserving our forest resources. Keeping forested lands forested is an overall goal across all Minnesota forest ownerships.
Reducing risks from climate change, invasive species, and wildfire
Resiliency to climate change which impacts all aspects of forest health is an on-going focus of Minnesota forestry. New uses of technology such as LiDAR and geo-spatial data collection aid in identifying priorities for the conservation and protection of forest resources. New technologies also detect changes in land cover type which can be attributed to either climate change or invasive species. This knowledge aids foresters in better management of all forest resources.
Minnesota works with other states to combat the spread of invasive species, as these have become key threats to biodiversity, forest productivity, water quality, increased fire threats, and the reduction of recreation opportunities. Through the support of US Forest Service grants, DNR Forestry launched PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks in 2012. The primary role of this branded outreach campaign is to disrupt the link between human behaviors and the spread of terrestrial invasive species. By 2017, the PlayCleanGo campaign had outgrown Minnesota. The North American Invasive Species Management Association took over managing the national program while the Canadian Council on Invasive Species took over the campaign in Canada. With federal support, DNR Forestry took PlayCleanGo, a Minnesota program, and made it international.
Enhance and protect forests and water resources
Land protection practices through the Minnesota Forest Legacy and Forest for the Future programs and increased uses of tools such as watershed protection and conservation easements under an all ownership approach, increase the chances of enhancing and protecting the state’s pristine forests and waters. Federal and local match funds have been used to purchase working forest conservation easements, which keep the land in private hands and on their tax rolls while ensuring timber is harvested sustainably and the forests remain open for public recreation. Easements protect not only working forest lands but also protect many miles of undeveloped lake and river shoreline, thousands of acres of intact wetlands, and include multiple hunting, fishing, and trail access recreational opportunities for the public.
Minnesota has identified several strategies in the Forest Action Plan to address forest and water resources needs and is committed to sustainable forest management now and into the future.
Best Management Practices
Minnesota’s best management practices (BMPs) program is non-regulatory. The agencies responsible for BMPs policy development are the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and the Minnesota Forest Resources Council.
Click here to view the most recent BMPs recommendations on the state forestry agency website.