Expanding forests would provide wildlife habitat, water quality protection, and other environmental and economic benefits
(Mpls, MN) A new report from Dovetail Partners addresses the environmental and economic benefits of forestation opportunities in Minnesota. The report illustrates that a holistic, ecosystem-based approach will maximize the benefits of a forestation initiative. The report expands upon an analysis completed by the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, which evaluated the carbon sequestration benefits of planting trees in Minnesota.
“The Dovetail report shows that there are multiple benefits of forestation beyond carbon sequestration, especially if approached with diverse forest types in mind,” says Dr. Sarah Stai, an ecologist with Dovetail Partners and lead author on the report. “In addition to an increase in closed-canopy forests, Minnesota would benefit from planting more urban trees and restoring more open-canopy habitats such as savannas.”
The benefits of planting forests in Minnesota include statewide opportunities. More than 5 million acres are identified as suitable for forestation based upon an analysis that included removing from consideration important grassland areas and open habitats that should not be converted to tree cover.
“We believe that a million acres of forestation in Minnesota is a feasible goal and that existing resources can be used in large part to accomplish large-scale forestation,” concluded Stai.
Recent reports show Minnesota planting about 24,000 acres of trees per year. Other states around the country, many smaller than Minnesota, plant at least 100,000 acres per year and have utilized diverse incentives and cost-share programs to help private landowners participate.
“Adding a million acres of forest, about a 6% increase in Minnesota’s forest area, would aid in restoring lost habitats, replanting riparian and lowland forests that protect water quality, and creating job and economic growth opportunities,” says Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners.
The report entitled “Maximizing the Environmental and Economic Benefits of a Million Acres of Forestation in Minnesota Through an Ecosystem Restoration Approach” is available at the Dovetail website (http://www.dovetailinc.org).
The direct link to download the report is: