A University of Minnesota forestry expert is predicting the “savannification” of northern Minnestoa’s boreal forests. Lee Frelich, director of the U of M’s Center for Hardwood Ecology, was interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio’s All Things Considered yesterday. He pointed to the increased presence of young maple trees in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as evidence of already changing forests.
Co-author of a recent report in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, his findings demonstrate that factors like increased drought, higher average temperatures and invasive species could lead to the establishment of oak savanna in some of the sandier soils of the BWCAW.
While there have been historical fluctuations in the average temperature of the atmosphere, Frelich argues that the current rate of change is likely faster than forests can match. Read MPR coverage of Frelich’s finding’s HERE. Wilderness News also covered Lee Frelich and the changing forest in its Summer 2008 Print Edition.