The Nature Conservancy: Trees. Water. Soil. Nature and Climate Solutions for Minnesota

Sep 26, 2021 | people/passions

Nature and Climate Change

In Minnesota, where climate change is becoming evident through our warming winters and more intense rainstorms, we have a golden opportunity to lead on climate change. And we can do it with technology that already exists and can be deployed right now: nature.

Through simple actions like planting cover crops, changing the way we manage forests and installing community rain gardens, Minnesotans can make a big impact for people and nature.

In order to meet the pace and scale that effectively tackling climate change requires, we need everyone to pitch in. The good news is that we already have the blueprint—developed by Mother Nature herself!


Our Climate Action Toolkit

Trees icon from the Trees. Water. Soil. logo lockup.


Some of our biggest opportunities to make a difference in Minnesota lie in our forests. Avoided forest conversion, tree planting and improved forest management are all practices that demonstrate how trees can help us fight climate change.

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As heavy rain events become more common, flooding and stormwater management are increasingly important issues. Tactics like rain gardens and retention ponds are essential tools to help Minnesota tackle water management in the climate fight.


One of our biggest untapped opportunities likely lies beneath the surface. Minnesota’s farms can lead the way with soil health practices that improve yields, clean the water and capture carbon from the air.


Two hands holding several pine seedlings, to be planted.


Headshot of Sawyer Scherer, wearing a red cap and orange vest.
SAWYER SCHERER Lead Forester at UPM Blandin Forestry © Dudley Edmondson

The story of forestry in Minnesota is, in many respects, the story of the white spruce. The story can be told and understood through the history of UPM Blandin.

UPM Blandin, Minnesota’s largest industrial forest owner has been in the land management business in Minnesota for more than 100 years. Sawyer Scherer, their forest ecologist says UPM initially took the same approach as a lot of old-school paper mills: buy land, cut trees, sell products made from those trees. Today, the old model is considered outdated, and Blandin has shifted to what they call Smart Forestry.

Diversified forests mitigate risks associated with climate change. A company overly invested in one kind of tree is vulnerable to diseases that can ravage a forest and the company that owns it.


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3.6 M

The number of reforestable acres across Minnesota.

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Average annual precipitation increase in the past 100 years.

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26 M

How many metric tons of CO2 we can draw down with nature.


Let’s Invest in Nature’s Potential

Despite all that we know about the power of nature to help us both mitigate and adapt to climate change; we still are not employing nature at the scale and pace needed to meet our climate goals. We know that reducing emissions alone will not get us to where we need to be. We must also begin the work of sequestering carbon from our atmosphere and storing it—in forests, on farms and within our soils.

As we tackle climate change in our corner of the world, we must look at more of our most promising solutions if we are to meet the task at hand—including nature! According to scientific research, nature has the power to contribute 30% of the global solution to climate change. We already have the tools we need to get started, now we need them to be deployed rapidly and at scale.


Two young people planting a tree on a slope in front of a fence.

Ways You Can Help

Have a Connected Conversation

Even though more than seven in 10 Americans believe climate change is happening and six in 10 are worried about it, two-thirds of Americans rarely, if ever, talk about climate change with the people they care about. Let’s Talk Climate.

Pledge to Speak Up

In order to preserve our lands, waters and our ways of life in Minnesota, we must be willing to speak up for nature. Join us! Speak Up for Nature.

Share Our Report

Our recent report on nature and climate offers an in-depth look at Minnesota’s multiple pathways to climate resilience. Read up on nature’s potential in our state and share with your nature-loving friends! Download and Share.



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