Superior National Forest Introduces Assisted Migration Plan for the National Forest System
Red Lake Nation News
The Assisted Migration Pilot Plan is an interdisciplinary plan, addressing scientific research, genetic considerations, cultural considerations, seed sourcing logistics, monitoring needs, & practical silviculture application for consistent implementation across National Forest System lands.
Duluth, Minn–November 9, 2023 – The Superior National Forest (SNF) joined the Office of Sustainability and Climate (OCS) and the newly created Forestry Assisted Migration Technical Assistance Team (FAMTAT) to produce the first Assisted Migration Pilot Plan for a national forest as a science-based approach to creating climate resiliency. In 2020, former Superior National Forest Ecologist-Katie Frerker, currently Climate Adaptation Specialist with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS), formed a voluntary team with area Tribes and partners and developed an AM Pilot Plan, which focuses on ‘assisted population migration and assisted range expansion’ - two of three AM types.
The SNF is at a unique ecological position in Minnesota where the iconic boreal forests of the north transition to the temperate hardwoods of the south. Impact models agree that the boreal tree species that make up the bulk of SNF land like balsam fir, black spruce, paper birch, quaking aspen and white spruce could have reduced suitable habitat and biomass across the region in the future. They may also be less able to take advantage of longer growing seasons and warmer temperatures than temperate forest species. Ultimately, the projected changes in climate will exceed the natural migration, dispersal, and adaptation abilities of many tree species that are now common on the SNF and could lead to increased mortality and decreased ecosystem productivity and carbon sequestration.