UMD seedling program to plant climate-smart trees in region | www.WDIO.com

UMD seedling program to plant climate-smart trees in region

WDIO
Updated: June 09, 2021 09:45 PM
Created: June 09, 2021 09:30 PM

A seedling program at UMD is focused on maintaining the health and diversity of forests in northeastern Minnesota.

This is part of their forest assisted migration project that promises to plant thousands of trees in the region. 

The campus biology department says this project began after they noticed several trees die on the north shore that they believe is related to climate change. They're seedlings are meant to help improve the health of northern forests.

"We want to help transition those forests so that they maintain a diversity of lots of different kinds of species into the future and also to prevent invasive things from coming in," said Julie Etterson, UMD Biology Department Head.

To find trees that will handle warmer temperatures, the students and staff collected seeds from between the twin cities and Duluth. They're planting several species of pine and oak trees. 

While just seedlings now, they plan to begin planning later this summer.

"We first need to acclimate these to outdoor conditions, and then prevent them from damage by rodents like rabbits or other small mammals,” said UMD Greenhouse Manager Matt Jahnke. “So once they’re acclimated and hardened off to outdoor conditions and then we're looking at planting potentially late July or early August."

The university is also partnering with farmers to help grow seedlings themselves in case they need to buy more plants in the future.

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