Modeling transpiration deficits after disturbances and evaluating the sensitivity of southwest Yukon forest ecosystems to climate change

Climate models project that summers in the southwest Yukon will become increasingly warmer and drier, leading to more forest fires, a longer fire season and slower tree growth. This raises the question of how to manage forest resources sustainably so that they will continue to provide long-term benefits to local communities. There is a current lack of understanding of the relationship between climate change and forest disturbance in the southwest Yukon and more research is needed to understand how forest ecosystems in the southwest Yukon may respond to droughts, particularly if they become more frequent and/or more severe in the future as projected. One possible approach is employing a forest hydrology model to simulate the effects of forest water dynamics on forest growth and development, and to aid managers in decision making. Successfully applying a model developed by a BC-based company in the southwest Yukon will increase the credibility and applicability of projected climate change scenarios in BC and Canada and increase the marketability of the product.

Intern: 
Julia Dordel
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Suzanne Simard
Province: 
British Columbia
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