• CLIMATE CHANGE • In an effort to collect and store miini- kaanan (seeds) of important tree species in the Ceded Territories, GLIFWC Climate Change staff have been gathering aagimaak (ash) and wiigwaasaatig (birch) miinikaanan for long term storage. The collections are part of a pilot project to establish a miinikaan (seed) bank to preservegeneticdiversityandstoremiinikaanan for future use. For long term storage of the collected miinikaanan, GLIFWC formed a Material Transfer Agreement with the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins,Colorado.TheCenterisaU.S.Depart- ment ofAgriculture facility, but the agreement ensures that GLIFWC retains ownership of the miinikaanan and must be contacted for any withdrawal requests. Theproject’ssuccesswilldependonmany factors.Eachstepoftheprocess—findingtrees withagoodmiinikaancrop,collectingthemiini- kaanan, and cleaning the miinikaanan—has its own challenges and requires time, equipment, and expertise. Finding trees with enough miinikaanan can be difficult. Miinikaanan are hard to spot when the canopy is fully leafed out, as they are smallandoftenlocatedintheupperlevelofthe canopy. Some trees do not produce miinikaanan every year; aagimaakoog (ash trees) may only produce large crops every three to five years whereas wiigwaasaatig (paper birch trees) produce at least some miinikaanan annuallybuttypicallyproduceaheavycroponlyevery other year. Once trees with ample miinikaanan are located, GLIFWCstaffhaveasmallwindowinwhichtocollect them as miinikaanan must be harvested after they mature and before they have fallen to the ground. The miinikaanan of aagimaakoog are mature when the samara (the papery wing) has faded from green to yellow or brown. The miinikaanan of wiigwaasaatig are mature when the catkins (the structures that store the miinikaanan) have turned brown. Perhaps the greatest hurdle to successfully collecting miinikaanan has been the physical challenge of obtaining them, as they are typically found high in the canopy. Assisting GLIFWC in this endeavor was Kyle Cadotte, a Red Cliff tribal member, tribal conservation warden, and profes- sional tree climber. Using specialty climbing gear and trimming equipment as well as an arborist’s slingshot, Cadotte was instrumental in helping GLIFWC staff access and obtain the miinikaanan. To collect the wiigwaasaatig miinikaanan, Cadotte and GLIFWC staff used the arborist slingshot to toss a rope over a branch and shake them out of the tree and onto tarps set out below. This method was successful, although it yielded fewermiinikaananthanisgenerallyrecommended for a successful collection. A different technique might be necessary in the future. Foraagimaak,CadotteassistedGLIFWCstaff in cutting miinikaan-bearing limbs and dropping them onto a tarp and also felled one smaller tree. Once GLIFWC staff gathered the miinikaanan, BadRivermemberAprilStonecollectedthetrunk to use for basket making. For cleaning and processing the aagimaak miini- kaanan, GLIFWC has the assistance of Dr. Andrew David, a University of Minnesota forest genetics By GLIFWC Climate Change Program Staff Climate change and carbon credits: An introduction to tribal carbon projects and their potential risks and benefits By Kim Stone, GLIFWC Climate Change Program Coordinator As our earth continues to warm due primarily to excesscarbondioxideintheatmosphere,manypublicand private entities are seeking ways to offset their impact on the environment. One approach is the selling of carbon credits, a method by which those who put carbon into the air pay those whose actions remove carbon or preserve it in existing sources. What does this mean for tribes? First, a bit of background. Excess carbon dioxide producedbyhumanswarmstheearth.Thiswarmingoccurs because manufacturing and industrial processes produce largeamountsofcarbondioxide,inpart,becausemanyuse fossil fuels to create heat and steam for the production of products.Whenafossilfuelisburneditreleasesenergybut also produces carbon dioxide; the carbon stored in fossil fuelsgetstransformedtocarbondioxideduringtheprocess. Ascarbondioxidelevelsintheatmosphereincrease,thegasactsasaninsulator, trapping the sun’s warmth and causing the earth to warm. This greenhouse gas is a primary contributor to climate change.The largest human source of carbon dioxide emissions comes from the burning of fossil fuels for heat, electricity, and power. At the other end of the climate change spectrum lie forests and the work they do naturally to counteract climate change. Trees, as they grow, absorb carbon dioxide from the air and build it into their woody material in the form of carbon. Growing and preserving forests—thus sequestering carbon—can counteract the warming effect caused by excess carbon from burning fossil fuels. The cycle can also reverse: when a tree dies and either rots or is burned, much of the stored carbon is released back into the atmosphere, meaning standing trees are huge reservoirs of stored carbon. Putting a dollar amount on pollution Asenvironmentallyconsciouscompaniesandgovernmentsseektocounteract the impacts of the greenhouse gasses they produce, one way used to lower their carbon footprint is by purchasing carbon credits, also called greenhouse gas off- sets or reduction “credits.” Carbon credits originate when a person or entity with forestry holdings measures the amount of carbon in their forest and quantifies this amount into units. The landowner then makes a commitment to keep that forest standing, thereby not releasing the wood’s trapped carbon. This carbon, because it is being stored rather than being added to the atmosphere (and contributing to climate change), becomes a “carbon offset” or “carbon credit” that can be sold in a carbon market. (see Climate change and carbon credits, page 16) The burning of fossil fuels puts carbon dioxide into the air, trapping the sun’s warmth and contributing to the earth’s warming. Trees can counteract this effect because they naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and build it into their woody material. A growing and potentially lucrative market exists whereby landowners can sell the carbon absorbed or sequestered in their forests to those whose fossil fuel-burning activities put carbon into the air. (C. Rasmussen photos) Gathering miinikaanan for the future Melonee Montano, GLIFWC TEK outreach specialist, uses an arborist’s slingshot to gather seeds. Right: A handful of miinikaanan. (staff photos) (see Gathering miinikaanan, page 15) PAGE 9 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2017/2018