On hot days, it’s not unusual to find folks in the Eastern half of Central Minnesota taking refuge beneath the cooling canopy of our largely maple and oak deciduous forests. We hike the winding trails, enjoy the shaded swimming holes, and camp within the shelter of these forests. The state parks and trails have been crowded this summer, in spite of the unusually hot June, because the people of Minnesota love the outdoors. 

And while the state Legislature finally agreed on a deal that will not force the closure of State Parks this July, as we step into the middle of our Minnesota summer, we find ourselves along with roughly half the nation in a worsening state of drought.

Prairie grasses and lawns have been bleached pale. Fallen forest debris stands dry like a bed of kindling among struggling trees. The State has already lost 35,000 acres to a higher than average number of fires this year, and is bracing for more. 

What do these prolonged periods of severe drought mean for the future of our forests, and what can we do to take an active part in their preservation?

Guests: Dr. Lee Frelich, Director of The University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology

Show Notes:
US Drought Monitor 

In fast-warming Minnesota, scientists are trying to plant the forests of the future

Carbon cycle of forests

Nature Conservancy in Minnesota 

Using plants to control buckthorn


Episode Manager: Bruce Anderson

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Music by Epidemic Sound

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Featured Songs:
Fever Trees – Martin Clem

Oak Trees – Likeminds