Climate change is having a discernible impact on the forests of British Columbia and is one of the biggest challenges facing the forest industry today. One of the most important applied research focuses for the forestry industry in central B.C. is finding new tree species to plant that will be better adapted to the climate projected for the future, and will provide forest products for future generations.
The College of New Caledonia is working with local forest companies, the provincial government, three research forests, and collaborators from other academic institutions to research potential tree species. Species like western larch and Douglas fir may be ideally suited to current and future climates in our region. College faculty and students in the Natural Resources and Environmental Technology program are involved in research trial plantings across the region, and measuring, analyzing and reporting tree and climate data from these sites. Once established, research installations will provide important data to the forest industry over several decades, and will also provide an ideal teaching and demonstration facility for students.
“This project is a perfect fit with our future forest stewardship objectives,” said Frank Varga, a B.C. Timber sales practices forester. “The research these students are doing will provide valuable knowledge about the effects of climate change on northern B.C. forests and help us determine which tree species are best-suited to the region.”