Adaptation Governance and Policy Changes in Relation to a Changing Moisture Regime Across the Southern Boreal Forest

PI: Colin Laroque, University of Saskatchewan

We will conduct a Vulnerability Assessment, including both current and future risks, of Mistik’s management forest area using the existing Climate Change and Sustainable Forest Management in Canada: A Guidebook for Assessing Vulnerability and Mainstreaming Adaptation into Decision Making guidebook. It will include both the biophysical and management aspects of their practices as related to climate change. We will also assess Mistik’s response to past and present climate related impacts, i.e., an analysis of their Adaptive Capacity. This is a new aspect of climate change related adaptation strategies, and will be the first of its kind in Canada. Based on the Vulnerability Assessment and the analysis of the company’s Adaptive Capacity, we will work with Misitk on incorporating these results into their new 20-year forest management plan. To provide the company with bio-physical background, a tree-ring collection and analysis of suitable tree species (determined by Mistik) will be conducted to define past growth-climate related relationships from trees growing on their land base. Tree rings represent a unique source of historical annual data that have been used to identify changes in growth as a result of past climate. These data can also be used to provide trajectories on how trees will grow under future climates. We will then use these relationships to project future growth based on various GCM or CORE modeling-team derived climate scenarios for the future of Mistik’s FMA. Once we better understand how climatic changes are affecting the forest in their FMA, we will formulate the outcomes of our case study in the context of Saskatchewan’s provincial “Results-Based Regulatory approach” for the company. Non-climate factors such as First Nations concerns, economics, forest-dependent communities in the region, as well as ecological variations within their FMA will also be examined as to how they affect the current adaptive capacity of Mistik Management.