Tiny Worlds of the Taiga

42.0943° N, 93.5700° W

Scalloped-edged lichen unfold into paper-thin leafy waves of ashen sea-green. Old pine bark pushes up into patterns and around limbs on branches and trunks where bryophytes and bright green mosses sprout spores. Tiny worlds cover everything, but who notices in the company of white pine, birch and cedar.


Jack Pines Cleared for French Fries

46.4425° N, 95.1361° W

12,000 acres of jack pine forest was destined to cleared by an out-of-state farming corporation for growing potatoes that would later become McDonald’s french fries. Clearing this important Minnesota forest in Wadena impacts wildlife unique to the area and poses possible water safety issues. The corporation did not first work with the state or community to considering how it would affect habitat, the ecosystem, or potential water safety issues with the Pineland Sands Aquifer beneath the forest. Potato crops typically use heavy pesticides, a potential threat to the Pineland Sands Aquifer beneath the forest, which ultimately leads to a basin for Twin Cities drinking water. 42-square-miles of jack pines, forest, and flora were cleared before the clearing was stopped by the Minnesota DNR.