Helping Northern Forests Survive the Heat

On the front page of October 20 Sunday Star Tribune, an article “Saving the Great North Woods” addresses many climate-related issues and their implications to the future of the Quetico Superior biomes. Star Tribune Online includes a few short videos that further clarify what is happening and what efforts are being made to measure changes and even mitigate the impact of a warming climate on the flora and fauna of the region. As fast as the Quetico Superior is warming one concern is that without human intervention the region will become “one big weed bed”. The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota does not want this to happen and has launched a project in 2013 that included planting 33,000 forest seedlings. This kind of intervention is not without controversy especially in areas such as the Boundary Waters Wilderness where some people believe nature will take care of its own evolution.

Basswood Lake BWCAW. Photo courtesy of

Renown U of MN forest ecologist, Lee Frelich, disagrees and suggests the paradox that, “We may have to interfere with nature to protect the wilderness”. One thing is for certain, change is already here and more change is coming, and it’s coming fast.

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