Feb 18, 2024

Minnesota DNR releases 2023 Forest Health Annual Report

By Grace Jacobson / News Director

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released its 2023 Forest Health Annual Report last week, which summarizes their findings about the pests, diseases and other issues impacting the state’s forests.

Among the key findings in the report, the Minnesota DNR identified around 664,800 acres of fir and spruce trees with spruce budworm damage, making it the highest acreage number the native caterpillar has impacted in a year since 1961. They also confirmed emerald ash borer for the first time in 8 counties, bringing Minn. to a total of 46 out of 87 counties under quarantine.

Damage from the eastern larch beetle surpassed a cumulative 1 million acres of tamarack since the current outbreak began in 2001. Fortunately, recent research from the DNR and the University of Minnesota showed that some forests are recovering naturally over time.

And: The most widespread tree health problem in the report was declining oaks, primarily caused by a combination of older age, consecutive years of significant drought and two opportunistic pests.

The Minnesota DNR used aerial surveys and on-the-ground site visits to collect the survey data.

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