Climate Change Impacts

Foresters tour the Cutfoot Experimental Forest ASCC site.
Foresters tour the Cutfoot Experimental Forest ASCC site and learn about local climate change impacts. 
Photo Credit: Brian Palik, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station 

Key climate change impacts that the project team considered for the Cutfoot Experimental Forest include: 

  • Increasing drought stress, resulting in reduced forest growth and leading to more susceptibility to pests and diseases 
  • Increased risk of wildfire 

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives for red pine ecosystems, like those on the Cutfoot Experimental Forest, including: 

Challenges

  • Red pine, a dominant tree species in north-central Minnesota, is projected to have reduced habitat suitability under future climate scenarios. 
  • Other northern species on the Cutfoot site are expected to see reduced habitat suitability under climate change, including quaking aspen, balsam fir, paper birch, jack pine, and white spruce. 

Opportunities

  • Some tree species are expected to have increased habitat suitability under climate change, including bur oak, red maple (both native to the red pine ecosystem), bitternut hickory, black cherry, and white oak (currently found in the next southern climate zone in Minnesota). 
  • Habitat suitability for eastern white pine and northern red oak is not expected to change substantially in north-central Minnesota.