Climate Change and Forests:  Alternative Futures

(Presented at our chapter meeting on October 14, 2020)

Featured Speaker:   Dr. Lee Frelich

(Director, The University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology)


Three biomes converge in Minnesota: prairie, temperate deciduous forest (maple and oak) and boreal forest (spruce, fir, pine, birch and aspen in the northeast). Although this makes Minnesota an ecologically interesting place, it also means that our forests are very susceptible to the impacts of a changing climate.

Low versus high CO2 emissions would have dramatically different outcomes for our forests by the end of the 21st century; the low scenario would allow conifers to continue to exist in northern Minnesota, whereas the high scenario would lead to replacement of most forests in the state with prairies and replacement of the boreal forest oak and maple woodlands.