Assessing the Effects of Climate Change on Wildlife Habitat in Boreal Forest Reclamation

Climate change is becoming a factor to be accounted for in forest planning, especially in reclamation activities where the objective is to create a self-sustaining forest ecosystem in areas degraded by human activities, such as open-pit mining activities in northern Alberta Oil Sands. Oil Sands will produce up to 50% of Canadian oil demand in the following years, but when the mining activity ends, large areas of land are deprived of vegetation. Mining companies have the legal requirement to re-establish a functional forest ecosystem suitable for wildlife habitat. However, as trees need long times to growth and create a fully functional forest ecosystem, oil sands reclamation plans should account for the possible ecological effects of future climate change. Specifically, in this project a forest growth model (FORECAST) is combined with a climate/water stress simulator (ForWaDy) and with equations linking historical tree growth and climate conditions to simulate the amount of habitat available for a series of wildlife species that could be created in the reclaimed forests under different climate scenarios. 

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. James (Hamish) Kimmins


Juan Blanco


FORRx Consulting Inc.






University of British Columbia



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