Alberta’s boreal forest could be dramatically altered by 2100 due to climate change, study shows

Model by UAlberta biologists predicts big changes because of climate change and wildfire.

Alberta’s boreal forest could be dramatically altered by 2100 due to climate change, study shows

This forest stand near Jackfish River in Wood Buffalo National Park was decimated after a wildfire. A new UAlberta study predicts that about half of Alberta’s upland boreal forest will disappear as a result of climate change and increasing wildfires over the next century. (Photo: Natural Resources Canada)

By KATIE WILLIS

Half of Alberta’s upland boreal forest is likely to disappear over the next century due to climate change, a new study shows.

“By 2100, at least 50 per cent of the boreal upland mixed-wood forest could become young deciduous forest and grassland, based on a combination of changes in climate and wildfire,” said Diana Stralberg, a recently graduated PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences, who led the study conducted with other U of A biologists in collaboration with colleagues from Natural Resources Canada.

In the study, the researchers examined vegetation change related to wildfire disturbance and climate change over 100 years.

Stralberg simulated wildfire using a model from Natural Resources Canada and used data from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute to determine what vegetation might grow back under future climates.

For the entire story by the University of Alberta

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