UMD’s New Project Aims to Help Plants Adapt to Northland Climate

Moving forward, several of the trees will be planted on UMD property while the bigger part of the project is distributing the seeds to farmers for them to grow and sell.

DULUTH, Minn. — UMD students and faculty are doing their part to help the northland go green.

It’s all part of an on-going effort in the biology research lab at UMD in collaboration with a number of community partners to help transition native plants such as red oaks, birches and white pines into northern forests.

“The idea is to plant them up north thinking they will thrive better than the native plants and native populations that are there. To sort of give the forest an adaptation bump that will help them survive climate change,” Department of Biology Head, Julie Etterson says.

Moving forward, several of the trees will be planted on UMD property while the bigger part of the project is distributing the seeds to farmers for them to grow and sell.

“There’s a little bit of economic stimulus there and diversification for them. But also filling these need of having climate smart trees ready for planting as the native trees die back,” Etterson says.

The students and faculty will track these trees for decades.

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