Gustave Axelson wrote an article for the January-February 2010 issue of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer addressing the issue of climate change and its affects on Minnesota forests. This well written and well researched piece also describes some of the adaptive forestry ideas that are being formed and implemented.
In this blog I have written quite a bit about northern hardwoods (Birch, Basswood, Maple), about Oak, and about Pine. In north central Minnesota we live and work in a forest that is a mosaic of each of these types of forests. Over millions of years, the "border" between the major forest types has moved as the climate has changed.
Now we face the challenge of deciding whether or not we are in a new paradigm, in which climate change may possibly occur over a matter of decades, not centuries. Leaving aside the issue of why (humans activity?) climate change may be occurring, as forest dependent communities and business, we must address what to do about it. If climate change does occur rapidly, our forests will not "disappear" but they will likely change. The southern boundary of the boreal forest will migrate north.
My father, Jack Rajala, was interviewed by Gustave Axelson for the article. Jack points out that the opportunities for managing the Paper Birch resource have changed, but have not been eliminated:
"We think we can facilitate birch. It may be an understory tree, not a canopy tree, but we can keep it in the woods," Rajala says. "Birch is too important to our business, for cabinetry and millwork and flooring, for us to give up on it."
Previous posts on this blog have celebrated the wonderful products which we and others produce from the Paper Birch when we harvest. All harvesting activities on Rajala land are purposeful and mindful of the need and desire for quality Birch retention and regeneration. That was the case prior to the issue of climate change, and it certainly remains the case now.
Here's a link to Minnesota Conservation Volunteer : http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteer/janfeb10/future_trees.html