Climate change mitigation and adaptation
Managing land and water in the face of change
Why 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
Learn about how the DNR is managing land and water in the face of change.
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Minnesota Moose Summit
DNR is building partnerships to identify adaptive responses to climate change impacts. For climate_example, we hosted a moose summit in December 2008 to identify moose population status and trends in neighboring states and provinces and to explore ways to help Minnesota's moose and reduce their vulnerability to expected climate change.
Peatland conservation: Minnesota's 6 million acres of peatlands are globally significant storehouses of carbon. Approximately 2 percent of Minnesota peatlands are protected as Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs). DNR is developing management plans for these peatland SNAs to protect their carbon stocks and other values in the face of climate change.
Sustaining Lakes in a Changing Environment (SLICE)
Sustaining Lakes in a Changing Environment (SLICE): DNR is leading a collaborative four-year pilot project to monitor biological and chemical changes that occur in two dozen sentinel lakes across the state that represent the diverse range of Minnesota lake types. Data collected will help researchers better understand and monitor basic interactions among climate, watersheds, lake habitats, and fish populations and quickly detect impacts from climate change, watershed development, and invasive species. This will facilitate timely responses by managers and policy makers to mitigate or minimize negative effects caused by these stressors.
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.