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Great Lakes Article:

Bemidji to host climate change workshop
Published November 25, 2007

The Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation, through its affiliation with the Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium, is cosponsoring a day-long workshop about possible effects of climate change on Northern Minnesota Nov. 28 at the Northern Inn and Conference Center, Bemidji.

The workshop, “Adapting Natural Resource Management in northern Minnesota to a Changing Climate,” provides an opportunity for a diverse group of resource management professionals to share information about potential impacts that may be anticipated because of climate changes.

Morning sessions will examine future climate scenarios and their potential impacts on northern Minnesota’s forests, water species, wildlife, insects and economics and industry.

In the afternoon, breakout sessions will be devoted to developing strategies for natural resources managers in Northern Minnesota to use in adapting management practices to a changing climate.

Speakers and breakout group leaders represent a cross section of resource management experts from organizations including the Minnesota Department of Resources, The Nature Conservancy and the University of Minnesota.

The registration fee of $100 includes lunch, refreshments and presentation materials from speakers and break out sessions. Registration materials and additional information may be found online at or be obtained by calling the CRI at (218) 755-4900; or toll free, (888) 738-3224.

The day’s featured guest speakers include Mark Seeley, professor and extension climatologist/meteorologist at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, and Mark White, a forest ecologist with The Nature Conservancy, Duluth, Minn.

Mark Seeley’s presentation, “Climate Change in Minnesota: Evidence, Consequence and Implications,” bears the message that climate change signals are real in Minnesota and evidence of impacts already exists.

In recent years scientists have recognized that the western Great Lakes climate is showing several distinct trends including warmer winters; higher minimum temperatures; higher frequency of tropical-like dew points; and an overall increase in variability of precipitation and other hydrologic features.

These trends have been linked to visible consequences in the landscape and have serious implications for sectors of the economy including transportation, health, natural resource management, energy, agriculture and tourism.

Societal implications of these changes will be presented from different perspectives, including acknowledged perceptions of risk. A handout containing additional resource materials will be available to participants.

Seeley has served as a faculty member at the university since 1978. In addition to teaching, research and providing extension services in weather and climate sciences, he is the author of “Minnesota Weather Almanac.

Mark White will speak on “Future Forest Composition in Northern Minnesota: Modeling the Effects of Climate Change, Management and Natural Disturbance.”

Scientists modeled northern Minnesota forests under three climate and three management scenarios in order to better understand some of the potential changes in the region’s forest over the next 200 years. Results suggest that even under low greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, many northern forest tree species will be stressed.

However, results also suggest that ecologically based forest management can be a useful tool in maintaining species diversity across the northern forest landscape.

“Our results suggest that even under low greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, many northern forest tree species will show dramatic decreases in abundance,” White said.

White is the forest ecologist for The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Prior to joining the TNC in 2004, he was a senior research fellow at the University of Minnesota, Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute.

His work focuses on biodiversity conservation in the forested landscapes of northern Minnesota with a current focus on the implications of climate change for forest conservation.

For more information contact the Center for Research and Innovation at (218) 755-4900; toll free, (888)738-3224; or online at

The Center for Research and Innovation is an off-campus facility operated by Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College designed to increase collaboration between the University, the College, business and industry and other sectors of the region.

The newly aligned outreach resources of Bemidji State and Northwest Tech offer greater variety and easier access to customized training and business services in addition to providing a one-stop-shop, linking external organizations to the region’s higher education knowledge base.

For further information, visit

University Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, enrolls approximately 5,000 students annually and offerings include more than 65 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate programs.

For further information about the University, visit the Web site at



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