Canadian Forest Service Publications

A sensible climate solution for the boreal forest. 2018. Astrup, R.; Bernier, P.Y.; Genet, H.; Lutz, D.A.; Bright, R.M. Nat. Clim. Change 8: 2-12.

Year: 2018

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39022

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-017-0043-3

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Climate change could increase fire risk across most of the managed boreal forest. Decreasing this risk by increasing the proportion of broad-leaved tree species is an overlooked mitigation–adaption strategy with multiple benefits.

Plain Language Summary

In this article, the researchers argue that adaptation and mitigation measures must be taken soon to counter the upward trend of fire activity related to climate change. For example, no strategy currently exists in science-policy dialogues to increase the proportion of broadleaf trees in the boreal region. However, this is a promising measure because a higher proportion of broadleaf trees in coniferous forests significantly reduces fire risks and increases the albedo of forests. These two impacts lead to a negative-feedback effect on climate change. Albedo is a measure of the amount of solar energy reflected back into space by a surface such as a forest or snow.

Disturbances are increasingly common in boreal forests, largely due to climate change. Fires are among the most significant disturbances as they accelerate climate change and put local populations at risk.