MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working to slow the effects of climate change in forests along the North Shore.
In a press release Thursday, the DNR said it’s working with The Nature Conservancy to reforest lands in four northwoods state parks, planting species that’ll protect against invasive grasses and shrubs.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Temps Take Another Tumble Thursday
Across the region, signature tree species — such as paper birch, quaking aspen, balsam fir, and white spruce — are giving way to brush. To halt this encroachment, the reforesting project has planted a variety of seedlings, namely white pine, red oak, bur oak, yellow birch, white cedar, and tamarack.
The biggest project site is at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, where paper birch trees are nearing the end of their lifespan and becoming overgrown with invasive grasses. Projects are also underway at Gooseberry Falls, Temperance River and Cascade River state parks. In total, about 100,000 seedlings will be planted across the four parks.READ MORE: Judge Hears Arguments In COVID Mandate Lawsuit By Minneapolis Restaurants Against City
Minnesotans who visit the parks may see fencing and protective exclosures around the new plantings to deter deer, officials say. As the trees grow, visitors will be able to see the forests change, with different wildlife species attracted to the new trees.
The diversity of the seedlings will protect the forests from insects and disease, which can easily destroy forests with only a few species of tree. The trees will also slow rainwater runoff and erosion, as well as store carbon to curb the rate of climate change.MORE NEWS: Cue The Potholes! Winter Nuisances Popping Up Right On Schedule
Funding for the project comes primarily through a gift from a family donation to The Nature Conservancy, officials say. Additionally funds are provided by the DNR.