Strategic Direction:

Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Managing land and water in the face of change

mooseWhy is this important?

Climate change poses great challenges to natural resource management. It is impacting the health and productivity of lands and waters and the animals and plants that depend on them, and will exacerbate other threats from habitat loss and invasive species. It threatens the services natural lands provide—from clean water and forest products to outdoor recreation.

DNR uses a three-pronged strategy to address climate change through mitigation, adaptation, and monitoring:

Mitigation: Climate change mitigation includes actions that reduce the sources or increase the sinks for greenhouse gases. DNR is actively reducing fossil fuel consumption by its vehicles and facilities. We are investigating management strategies for DNR-administered peatlands, wetlands, forests, and other lands to enhance their natural capacity to store large quantities of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. DNR's Carbon Metrics Team is engaged in efforts to refine measurement and reporting protocols to track carbon storage and sequestration on natural lands. This is critical to participating in future "carbon credit" programs.

Adaptation: Even with aggressive mitigation, Minnesota's climate will continue to change over the next 50 to 100 years because of past actions. Management actions that improve ecosystem health, diversity, and productivity are key to enhancing ecosystem resilience to climate change and associated impacts. Planned adaptations to reduce the vulnerability of ecosystems and wildlife to expected climate change include efforts to create wildlife corridors, improve habitat connectivity, and expand habitat buffers to facilitate plant and animal migration as climate changes.

Monitoring and applied research: We will begin coordinating monitoring systems and participating in research to detect climate change impacts on natural resources. We will track the effectiveness of mitigation and adaptation efforts.

See DNR’s 2011 report titled: Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Management Foundations This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.



Learn about how the DNR is managing land and water in the face of change.

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Minnesota Moose Summit

Peatland conservation

Sustaining Lakes in a Changing Environment (SLICE)

Long term desired outcomes

  • DNR, stakeholders and partners expand and share their knowledge of climate change impacts and work together to identify adaptive management strategies for natural lands and water.
  • Natural lands sequester carbon to mitigate climate change while providing habitat and other co-benefits.
  • Adaptive management and expansion of conservation areas help maintain plant and animal populations by allowing species to migrate or adapt in response to climate change.
  • Minnesota's natural lands and waters are resilient to climate change so that they continue to provide significant ecological, recreational, and economic benefits.