Thinking Big in Minnesota – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

NO. 1  

Up North is famous for its vast boreal forests. A Grand Rapids scientist is making sure they remain vast as the climate warms.

Most Minnesotans feel a deep calm on their way up north: The air cools and freshens, and foliage perceptively shifts from the hardwoods of the south to the great boreal pine forest of the north. But species like white and black spruce, balsam fir, and quaking aspen are endangered by our warming climate and encroaching pests. The worst-case scenario is that within 100 years the Boundary Waters will be surrounded by prairie or wide-open savanna. Thankfully, scientists at the University of Minnesota, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Forest Service are planning what our future boreal forest will look like. Brian Palik has been stationed at the Grand Rapids Forest Service research lab for the past 26 years. 

“The predictions for northern Minnesota are pretty

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