Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

How Climate Change Threatens Christmas Trees

Climate

By Kelly Henderson

As someone who celebrates Christmas, every year after Thanksgiving I look forward to the ever-tedious process of selecting the perfectly well-balanced Christmas tree to decorate and adore for weeks to come as we enter the holiday season.

The “perfect” Christmas tree can take up to 10 years to grow, yet only a few days of global warming-fueled extreme weather to destroy.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Most people who celebrate Christmas would agree that the Christmas tree is a poignant symbol of the holidays and is a staple in most homes around the world. Admittedly, the idea of something happening to make Christmas trees no longer available or easily accessible is something hard to fathom, but sadly could become more of a reality soon if something is not done to combat climate change.

Climate change can not only be attributed to fewer white Christmases, but is also responsible for heat waves, flash floods and droughts; all of which can hinder or completely destroy Christmas tree growth. The “perfect” Christmas tree can take up to 10 years to grow, yet only a few days of extreme weather to destroy. While some younger trees can withstand extreme temperatures, they literally cannot stand up to the heavy flash foods like the ones that hit Vermont and New Hampshire last summer. Thousands of trees were wiped out during one flood spell and if more flooding and extreme weather continue to hit the region, that’s going to spell disaster for the forest economy in the Northeast.

With 75 percent of Vermont's landscape covered by trees, foresting and timber are big businesses in the Green Mountain State. According to the Northeast State Foresters Association, the economic benefit of Vermont forests is an astounding $1.5 billion that includes things like Christmas trees and maple products. Local Christmas tree business owners fear that if and when climate change worsens, their crops (and livelihood) will worsen with it.

Christmas tree crop destruction isn’t only happening in the Northeast. Midwest states like Wisconsin have also felt the harsh impacts from climate change and extreme weather on their crops. Christmas trees throughout southeastern and central Wisconsin are experiencing reduced needle production, stunted growth and browning as a result of summer 2012’s extreme heat and drought. The extended hot and dry conditions from that summer have caused the loss of more than 4,000 young trees, about half of their new crop. To cope with these effects, many farms were forced to cut less trees and had to leave trees that were too sparse on the farm which has caused a severe drop in overall revenue this season.

So what does all of this mean—will the price of your Christmas tree triple next year? Probably not, but the crop loss has left some farmers saying they won’t replant. So even though the full-grown trees are still widely available, the crop set to be fully matured six to 10 years from now might be at risk, causing prices to jump.

Like so many other treasured things, Christmas trees are being put at risk by the changing climate. It’s time to tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency we need action to combat climate change starting with strong standards for the top emitter of carbon dioxide, power plants. Because really, what’s Christmas without a Christmas tree?

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Brian Sims ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test. Brian Sims / Facebook

Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.

Read More Show Less
Wolf pups with their mother at their den site. Design Pics / Getty Images

In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.

Read More Show Less
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says this is a historic step for the group. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Linda Lacina

World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.

Read More Show Less
Because of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, in-person sessions are less possible. Merlas / Getty Images

By Nicholas Joyce

The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.

Read More Show Less
A 17-year periodical cicada. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As many parts of the planet continue to open their doors after pandemic closures, a new pest is expected to make its way into the world. After spending more than a decade underground, millions of cicadas are expected to emerge in regions of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
"Most of this fossil fuel finance flowed to wealthier countries," the report says, noting that China (pictured), Canada, Japan, and Korea provided the most public finance for dirty energy projects from 2016 to 2018.
Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Even after the world's largest economies adopted the landmark Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis in late 2015, governments continued to pour $77 billion a year in public finance into propping up the fossil fuel industry, according to a report released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

An aerial view shows new vehicles that were offloaded from ships at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics on April 26, 2020 in Wilmington, California. "Vehicles are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in America," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. David McNew / Getty Images

Twenty-three states and Washington, DC launched a suit Wednesday to stop the Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.

Read More Show Less