Mapping nature’s capacity to store carbon with extreme precision / Public Information Service

DULUTH, Minn. – As Minnesota seeks to combat the impact of climate change on the region, land managers and policy makers are reminded of the role nature can play. They are encouraged to use a new tool that shows the range in which forests can capture and store carbon emissions.

In recent years, The Nature Conservancy has offered an interactive online map which shows which lands are most resilient to climate change. Now this same tool can show which areas are well suited to absorb carbon dioxide floating in the atmosphere.

The director of climate change for The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota – Meredith Cornett – said that Minnesota’s forests are capable of removing 487 million metric tons of C02 over the next 30 years .

“That’s a number that maybe doesn’t mean much to a lot of us,” said Cornett. “So we have what is called a carbon dioxide – an emission equivalent. So that equates to 3.6 million cars.”

She said taking the equivalent of these gas-powered cars off the road each year can only happen if forests remain in their current form.

The group says potential roadblocks include forest fires and forest management that does not prioritize ecological thinning and prescribed burning.

Minnesota’s forest cover has grown from over 30 million acres to 17 million in the past 150 years. Corn State forestry action of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources the plan notes that there has been a slight increase in acreage over the past decade.

Cornett applauded some of the progress made in planting seedlings in forests after they are harvested, including climate-resistant species. But she said Minnesota couldn’t afford to slow down.

“We will really have to increase nursery production and wild seed collection in order to make this possible,” said Cornett.

She referred to a specific group goal that calls for one million acres of reforestation in Minnesota by 2040.

As a tool for carbon, Nature Conservancy says it can measure “catch potential” on land as small as a quarter of an acre, adding that it could be useful for policy makers when developing guidelines. conservation plans.

Disclosure: The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota contributes to our climate change / air quality, environment, sustainable agriculture and water reporting fund . If you would like to help support the news in the public interest, click here.

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