Marcell Experimental Forest – Bovey, Minnesota - Atlas Obscura

Marcell Experimental Forest

Bovey, Minnesota

A futuristic climate change study is nestled deep within this public land. 

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The carbon-storing peat bogs of Northern Minnesota, such as the Marcell Experimental Forest, are an ideal place to study and research climate change. The Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments (SPRUCE) Experiment is a pivotal study of the possible effects of climate change on such an environment, accelerating the timeline of changes that may occur as far as 100 years in the future.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, it features 10 open-top pods set at different ambient temperatures. Through continuous readings, photos, and data gathering, scientists are able to study the effects of warming temperatures on the peat bog ecosystem.

The initial phase of the experiment will last 10 years, with the hopes that funding will be extended for further study. The site lends itself to many universities and students wishing to conduct their own studies within these unique environments as well. Big changes are already being seen several years into the study. The hope is that the changes observed at this site will assist in policy decisions and preparations for a warmer future. 

Know Before You Go

The site is on public land and can be viewed at any time, however, for a more in depth tour and to go inside the structures, a scheduled tour is the preferred method of visiting the site and is easily arranged. Information on tours is located on the official website.