Response of Forest Productivity to Changes in Growth and Fire Regime Due to Climate Change

A Forest Trail During Summer 2023 11 27 05 33 20 Utc

Climate change is having complex impacts on the boreal forest, modulating both tree growth limiting factors and fire regime. However, these aspects are usually projected independently when estimating climate change’s effect on the boreal forest.

Using a combination of three different methods, our goal is to assess the combined impact of changes in growth and fire regime due to climate change on the timber supply at the transitions from closed to open boreal coniferous forests in Québec, Canada.

To identify the areas that are likely to be the most sensitive to climate change, we projected climate-induced impacts on growth and fire activity at three different periods: 2011–2040 RCP 8.5 for low growth change and minimum fire activity, 2071–2100 RCP 4.5 for moderate growth change and medium fire activity, and 2071–2100 RCP 8.5 for high growth change and maximum fire activity.

The study shows the importance of incorporating fire in strategic forest management planning, especially in the context of climate change. Under the most extreme scenarios, the negative impact of fire activity on productive areas and total volume mostly offsets the positive effects of climate change via improved tree growth.

Read more about sustainable management of the boreal forest