Minnesota Forest Landscapes Partnership Network

Photo Credit: Annette Drewes, TNC

The Minnesota Forest Landscapes Partnership Network began as the Sand Plains Pines Partnership, which started because of a desire by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to return fire to ancestral lands within the Chippewa National Forest.

The landscape, a fire-dependent forest system in Minnesota’s lake country, is utilized for recreation, logging, hunting and supports traditional gathering practices. Initial focus is on diversifying red pine plantations through thinning, brushing and eventually the return of fire. Our project aims to build a network of support and collaboration around the use of prescribed fire to re-establish fire dependent and culturally significant flora and fauna, like blueberries, across the ceded and reserved territory of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe) People. Staff from the Leech Lake Division of Resource Management, the Chippewa National Forest and The Nature Conservancy are the core implementers. 

Landscapes similar to the Sand Plain Pines are scattered across north-central and north-east Minnesota. State, federal, county, private and tribal lands create a mosaic of ownership, overlaying lands ceded by treaty with the Ojibwe people who still retain the right to hunt and gather. Recognizing this, the project expanded to become the Minnesota Forest Landscapes Partnership Network.

Putting fire back on the ground will require collaboration across multiple entities and a focused approach to expanding understanding of prescribed fire in the forest. Building a network of fire practitioners, with experience and availability to come together to burn, is a priority for this FLN.