Maps developed to help forest industry outwit climate change

May 15, 2013

University of Alberta researchers have developed guidelines being used by foresters and the timber industry to get a jump on climate change when planting trees.

Maps developed by Laura Gray, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Renewable Resources, provide projections of climatically suitable habitat for tree species based on for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s.

The work, published recently in the journal Climatic Change, is the first of its kind to tackle multiple potential for a large number of tree species across Western North America. The large-scale research considers 15 major commercial tree species and 18 different future .

The U of A study also considers patterns of climate change observed from the 1970s until recently and found that on average, populations already lag behind their best climate niche by 130 kilometres in latitude or 60 metres in elevation.

The study addresses concerns that many populations of wide-ranging tree species which are adapted to local growing conditions, may now or in the future actually lag behind their optimal growing environment due to changing temperature and precipitation conditions.

Currently in Alberta alone, forestry companies and government agencies plant 80 million spruce, fir and pine seedlings to reforest more than 50,000 hectares of harvested land annually.

"The information helps have more confidence in their decisions on what and where to plant. It allows them to more accurately assess the climactic risk," said Gray, a co-author on the study.

Explore further: Great Barrier Reef dredge dumping plan could be shelved

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Arctic vegetation spread could boost climate change

Apr 10, 2013

(Phys.org) —Changes in Arctic vegetation due to climate change have probably been underestimated, according to a new computer analysis which shows that tree and shrub cover in the region will increase more ...

Climate change to lengthen growing season

Oct 10, 2012

Across much of Norway, the agricultural growing season could become up to two months longer due to climate change. A research project has been studying the potential and challenges inherent in such a scenario.

Recommended for you

Halliburton pays $1.1 bn for Gulf of Mexico BP spill

2 hours ago

Oil services company Halliburton said Tuesday it would pay a $1.1 billion settlement over its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig blowout that led to the United States' most disastrous oil spill.

Underwater grass comeback bodes well for Chesapeake Bay

3 hours ago

The Susquehanna Flats, a large bed of underwater grasses near the mouth of the Susquehanna River, virtually disappeared from the upper Chesapeake Bay after Tropical Storm Agnes more than 40 years ago. However, ...

Clean air halves health costs in Chinese city

5 hours ago

Air pollution regulations over the last decade in Taiyuan, China, have substantially improved the health of people living there, accounting for a greater than 50% reduction in costs associated with loss of life and disability ...

User comments : 0