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.

Researchers and Extension educators have developed a new social monitoring system to help cleanup Minnesota waters and engage citizens in the process. The new system has already been piloted and adopted by several state agencies in Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

University of Minnesota researchers and industry partners showcased their latest innovations and research findings during the Midwest Farm Energy Conference at the University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) June 13 in Morris, MN.

As the first widely available perennial grain crop, intermediate wheatgrass will change agriculture landscapes by providing multiple ecosystem services including making them more sustainable, especially in the face of climate change. But more work is needed to breed new varieties of intermediate wheatgrass that will be profitable for farmers and fulfill industry needs.