OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS The impetus for this project was the need to better protect and manage functional lake ecosystems in Minnesota. There is widespread concern about the consequences of poorly planned development on water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Given the increased demands for water and shoreland, continued habitat fragmentation and loss of species diversity, protection of sensitive lakeshores is critical.
Because Minnesota is at the juncture of three distinct types of ecosystems - western prairie, northern coniferous forest, and eastern deciduous forest - the region is particularly sensitive to changes in climate conditions. Understanding how the plants, animals, and waterways of Minnesota might respond to these changes will help the state plan for and manage the potential impacts. The University of Minnesota's Department of Forestry is using this appropriation to analyze past climate conditions in Minnesota and make estimates pertaining to changes expected in the foreseeable future.
An emerging practice called "precision conservation" aims to maximize conservation benefits by considering the value of lands in terms of the interconnected systems of which they are a part. By compiling and integrating multiple types of data layers and analysis that are available today, conservation professionals can use the best and most precise information available to identify, prioritize, and guide conservation efforts.