Development of Tree Ring - C Climate Relationships in Boreal Forests

Mining operations in the Oil Sands area can affect extensive areas of boreal forest. Those forested areas affected by mining are expected to be reclaimed by mining companies to re-establish their natural conditions after the exploitation ends. The long©term success of reclamation plans can be assessed with ecological models that simulate how different environmental factors affect tree growth and development. Climate is possibly the most important factor influencing plant growth.

Development of three-dimensional models for analysing mid-rise wood frame buildings

Starting in April 2009, six storey (mid‐rise) high wood frame buildings will be allowed in certain regions of Canada. This will be a new experience to design engineers in Canada, and research is required to support this new development which will expand the use of wood products beyond the traditional low rise, primarily residential construction market.

Prediction of Power Outage Locations Due to Weather and Tree Impacts on BC Transmission Corporation Transmission Lines

Trees uprooted or broken during severe wind events routinely cause power outages in BC. Some researchers believe that climate change will result in more storms in BC. We will investigate the weather conditions that lead to strong winds. Using BC Transmission Corporation’s power outage database, we will examine patterns of outages in space and time, identify the weather, terrain and vegetation conditions associated with these outages, and produce models that will predict the likelihood of an outage at a given location.

Predicting changes in early growing season water availability contributed as snowmelt following mountain pine beetle attack

This project with the BC Ministry of Forests and Range intends to use almost entirely existing stand spatial data and snow-melt data to model early season water availability in mountain pine beetle (MPB) affected stands. The resultant canopy loss due to the MPB is likely to have an influence on the volume and timing of snow melt and, consequently, on water availability.

Development and evaluation of an integrated modeling approach for a risk analysis of alternative Oil Sands reclamation strategies

Considerable information has been acquired on soil dynamics in areas under oil sands reclamation and a variety of models have been developed that simulate moisture dynamics and ecosystem productivity. However, to date, nutrient and moisture dynamics have been considered largely in isolation; for models to be useful in reclamation, they need to be capable of representing how soil moisture influences nutrient cycling, how available moisture limits vegetation growth and how ecosystem development can change nutrient cycles and moisture dynamics.

The Potential for Drainage to Improve Productivity of Regenerating Forests on Northern Vancouver Island

Extensive portions of the productive forests in coastal British Columbia display below-average timber productivity possibly due to excess soil water. In particular, conifers regenerating on some western red cedar/western hemlock sites on northern Vancouver Island show very slow growth and nutrient deficiencies after harvest. The research team hypothesizes that the low nutrient supply is caused by inadequate drainage in these sites which results in anoxic conditions and lower mineralization of carbon and nutrient.

Fertilization to Increase Soil C Sequestration and Mitigate Climate Change

Forest soils are a significant sink for the greenhouse gas, CO2. Concerns over climate change have led to increased interest in methods to increase the forest C sink. Fertilization of forests has been demonstrated to increase productivity of many forest types and this has an associated benefit of increased C sequestration in biomass. There is mounting evidence that N fertilization will also increase C sequestration in soil as more and more little material is produced. N also appears to interfere with the decomposition of this litter.

Ecosystem Recovery after Disturbance: Thresholds for Biodiversity and Resiliency Indicators

This project will use vegetation indicators of biodiversity to define response curves for measuring ecological resilience in three forest ecosystems in central BC. The vegetation indicators to be evaluated are: 1) the rate of regrowth; 2) the rate of recovery of species richness; and 3) the rate of recovery of original species composition. The research team hypothesizes that ecological resilience increases with site productivity and decreases with the length of intervals between wildfires.

Fire Hazard and the Effects of Natural vs Anthropogenic Disturbances on the Early Successional Patterns of ICH Forests in BC

Historical fire suppression and subsequent increases in fuel loading have led to more frequent and damaging forest fires across North America. This has prompted much research into how changing disturbance regimes affect forests and how to manage fires appropriately and in a more natural way. Parks Canada is interested in how disturbance regimes have shifted, how these shifts affect ecosystem function and what this means for management.

Measuring and Modelling Ecological Resilience

The BC Ministry of Forests and Range has recently undertaken a Future Forest Ecosystem Initiative (FFEI) whose purpose is to adapt the BC forest and range legislation and policy to a changing climate and to ensure BC’s forest and rangeland ecosystems remain resilient to stress. This research project helps to provide a scientific underpinning for the FFEI by developing mathematical models that predict how ecological resilience varies across environmental gradients and in response to cumulative environmental stress.

Pages