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Managing trees and natural landscapes on your farm for climate resilience

Woodlands, buffers, and perennial areas provide so many benefits to farms. They can provide wind protection, absorb water and prevent erosion during heavy rainfall events, provide habitat to animals and beneficial insects, and add aesthetic beauty and a place to connect with nature on your farm. Caring for woodlands, wetlands, prairies, and other natural areas on your farm is therefore foundational to climate resilience.
  • Extension’s agroforestry team has developed a series of resources for incorporating perennials into farm landscapes.
  • Recently, this team published regional guides for woodland plants that will be well suited to the future climate of Minnesota. Using this tool, you can identify trees and other plants that are expected to thrive in your region now and into the future. These plants have also been selected because they are expected to provide important habitat for native insects, birds, and small mammals.
  • Another University of Minnesota project on forest-assisted migration has resources for growers looking for opportunities to plant and even sell tree seeds and seedlings sourced from further south that will be better adapted to our future climate.
Other landscape modifications such as installing berms and swales, or restoring wetlands can also improve water storage on the landscape. Growers can often get financial and technical support for these projects by working with:

Check out our recent video with Threshing Table Farm and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to learn about a success story: this vegetable farm worked with their local NRCS office to update their irrigation system and install prairie habitat on their farm.

 Author: Natalie Hoidal, Reviewed by Angie Gupta


Photo: Anthony V Hall

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