Making Forests More Resilient
Forests cover over 65 per cent of Canada’s land mass and account for more than 300,000 jobs, as well as a host of services, such as wood production, recreation, water filtration/regulation and carbon sequestration. The future health of our forests depends on our ability to maintain vast, productive forests that are adaptable to global changes.
A key advantage our forests have in coping with these changes is the natural diversity of their tree species. Dr. Christian Messier, Canada Research Chair in Forest Resilience to Global Changes, is seeking to take advantage of this diversity in an effort to maintain our forests’ resilience and productivity in the face of these ever-accelerating changes.
Messier and his research team will use an experimental network of multi-species trees located in six areas of Canada and the world. They will set up a new experiment in Quebec to study how tree species diversity helps make the forest ecosystem more resilient to certain environmental stressors. They will also develop a new simulation model that integrates several spatial scales (from a few hectares to hundreds of thousands) and temporal scales (from a few years to more than a hundred) to integrate new concepts of functional ecology and complexity.
Ultimately, this research may lead to innovative approaches that the forest industry can use to make making our forests more resilient and adaptable to global changes.