RIP Christmas trees? Warming weather could push firs out of MN forests


Do you unwrap presents beneath a fir tree every Christmas? If so, you should enjoy it while you can, as they might not be around much longer in Minnesota.

If the warming of the earth's climate continues as it has been, Christmas tree species such as the fir and spruce will be pushed out of Minnesota's northern forests in future decades, according to a study by the University of Minnesota.

In their place will be maples and oaks, which the study found would thrive in a warmer climate as researchers tested northern forest species by using ceramic heaters to warm the air near to seedlings.

This past Christmas, an 88-foot white spruce was chosen as the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, but in future years they would have to send pines, as these are the only festive species that could withstand a temperature increase of just a few degrees.

The study says spruce and fir found it more difficult to survive when the temperature was warmed, declining in growth by up to 40 percent, the Pioneer Press reports.

"The change in the forest will influence everything from the supply of timber to habitat for wildlife to its allure for recreational use and tourism," Peter Reich, of the university's forest resources department, told Science Daily.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says Christmas tree farmers market around 500,000 trees in the state every year, with the balsam fir and fraser fir the most common varieties, ahead of Scotch pine.

Spruces are also common, with the blue spruce, Colorado spruce and white spruce among the varieties grown in the state.

Next Up

Joe Biden

14 executive orders President Biden signed on his first day in the White House

Biden is turning back many of the moves made under the Trump administration.

plow, snow

NWS: Accumulating snow likely this weekend in Minnesota

Fluffy snow will pile up in some locations on Saturday.

Jaden McDaniels

Wolves lose to Magic on Cole Anthony's buzzer-beater

The Wolves blew a 20-point lead as the Magic defeated the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

J.A. Happ

Twins sign veteran J.A. Happ to add to the rotation

The left-hander will get a one-year, $8 million deal from the Twins.

storm the capitol rally st. paul minnesota state capitol

BCA finds 'no criminal wrongdoing' among those at 'Storm the Capitol' rally

Inflammatory comments were made by speakers, but no charges will be brought.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 12.27.04 PM

Man's vehicles crushed by hit-and-run driver weren't fully insured

The goal is to raise $25,000 to help the south Minneapolis resident.

Joe Biden

Key points from Joe Biden's first speech as POTUS

The 46th president called for unity at a time America is facing huge challenges.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 20

The 111 ICU patients is the fewest in Minnesota since there were 109 COVID patients in intensive care on Oct. 1.


Here's what Amy Klobuchar said at Joe Biden's inauguration

The Minnesota senator was one of the leader organizers of the inauguration.