"Saving the Great North Woods"

"Across Minnesota, a determined counterattack is emerging against a looming threat to the northern forest — climate change."

"In a clearing at the edge of one of the largest intact forests on Earth, Laura Kavajecz flits about like a tree fairy with a clipboard, slipping long mesh tubes over tiny seedlings. The sun beats down. It’s buggy. The ground is covered with a tangle of downed trunks, stumps and severed limbs. Kavajecz, a graduate student, has a mundane but vital task: Protecting the fledgling trees — 33,000 of them scattered across Minnesota’s northern forest — from the scourge of deer that await in the shadows.

These are no ordinary seedlings. They are red oak, yellow birch and other species common in southern parts of the state, and they are pivotal players in an audacious attempt to thwart climate change along the most vulnerable flank of the boreal forest that sweeps down into Minnesota from Canada.

Planted for a warmer, drier future, the trees are an experiment in hope as much as science."

Josephine Marcotty reports for the Minneapolis Star Tribune October October 20, 2013, with photography by Brian Peterson and graphics and design by Mark Boswell, Dave Braunger, Billy Steve Clayton, Ray Grumney, and Jamie Hutt.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 10/21/2013