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Minnesota Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework Project

Stephen Handler, Leslie Brandt, Patricia Leopold, Maria Janowiak, Danielle Shannon, Christopher Hoving, Stephen Handler, Matthew Duveneck, Louis Iverson, Emily Peters, Robert Scheller, Kirk Wythers, Leslie Brandt, Patricia Butler, Maria Janowiak, Danielle Shannon, Chris Swanston, Kelly Barrett, Randy Kolka, Case McQuiston, Brian Palik, Peter B. Reich, and Clare
Created: 8/28/2014 - Updated: 8/09/2019


Forests in northern Minnesota will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in Minnesota's Laurentian Mixed Forest Province to a range of future climates. Information on current forest conditions, observed climate trends, projected climate changes, and impacts to forest ecosystems was considered in order to draw conclusions on climate change vulnerability. Wet Forests, Forested Rich Peatlands, and Acid Peatlands were determined to be the most vulnerable to projected changes in climate, whereas Floodplain Forests, Fire-Dependent Forests, and Mesic Hardwood Forests were determined to be less vulnerable. Projected changes in climate and the associated ecosystem impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent wildlife and plants, recreation, and long-range planning.

Published On

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Air temperature
Flow patterns
Growing season
Habitat extent
Invasive / non-native species, pests
Phenological shifts
Range shifts
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Climate Type: 
Sociopolitical Setting: 

Related Resources

Sector Addressed: 

Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework

Photo attributed to Todd Murray. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration

The Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework covers 64 million acres of northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan within Ecological Province 212 (Laurentian Mixed Forest) of the National Hierarchical Framework of Ecological Units.