Volunteers help hatch eggs and raise Piping Plover young.

Environment and Sustainability

Environmental research at the University continues to focus on key areas including water quality, forest conservation, sustainable cropping systems, controlling waste water and agricultural run-off, and exploring opportunities presented by renewable energy sources.

For information on the latest environment and sustainability research please visit the features and impacts page.

Sustainability

U of M research is focused on defining a balance between food production and environmental impact. From converting wind energy to increasing biodiversity to animal waste management, University scientists are exploring the best ways to utilize sustainable practices that will work for producers and consumers. 

Forestry

Minnesota is home to over 17 million acres of forest. Research pertaining to forestry affects two key economic sectors in Minnesota: tourism and forest products.

Water Quality

Researchers test agronomic, ecological, and engineering approaches to manage agricultural run-off and chemical usage. Water resources research helps identify best practices and new technologies to implement across Minnesota and beyond.

Climate Change

University scientists explore the issue of climate change in a variety of ways from floods to droughts to forests and wildlife. Our long-term research project in the Boundary Waters Recreational Area is now complemented by research at the Cloquet Forestry Center and the Hubacheck Research Center.

Lindsey Pease and her team are working to update and revise the Minnesota Phosphorus Site Risk Index (MNPI) tool. The MNPI must be updated to correspond with a recent policy change by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service regarding how erosion is predicted across landscapes.

Peter Larsen and his interdisciplinary team are working to develop a robust next-generation antemortem test for the rapid detection of Chronic wasting disease in biological samples secured from cervids (elk and white-tailed deer) using minimally invasive techniques. 

Jennifer Kimball and her year are evaluating five different modes of action for riceworm management at two grower locations (Gonvick, MN and Aitken, MN) during the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons. Due to the unique challenges of working in an aquatic agricultural production system, they are also planning to evaluate the feasibility of applying insecticides in the research program via drone.