The canadian forest threatened

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    With climate change, the forest will ” migrate north “. Black spruce may disappear from the landscape of the eastern Townships and the Montérégie, but it will outperform in the taiga, which will be heated.

    Charles Lecavalier

    Saturday, 12 August 2017 19:41

    Saturday, 12 August 2017 19:41

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    The forest, québec will be turned upside down by the warming climate, while some species such as sugar maple, black spruce and jack pine may disappear in southern Quebec.

    The specialists of the government of Québec provide that in 2050 the climate of the Portneuf region will look like in the State of New York and the mixed forest will be present until the height of Rimouski. The game of warming, some species win, others lose.

    “The jack pine, with conditions favorable to its presence on only 3 % of its area of distribution “, will be the essence that is most affected by these upheavals.

    The changes already seen

    To the south of Quebec, Montréal, Laval and Montérégie, over a dozen species of trees such as sugar maple or yellow birch, plant emblematic of Quebec, will become vulnerable and ” could lose the whole of their habitat in the region.”

    “Already this year, I have met people who have private forest in the Montérégie region, and note that species such as sugar maple are going less well,” observes biologist Catherine Périé, a researcher specialized in the impact of climate change on the composition of the forests of Quebec ministry of Forests.

    Nuance, however : “A tree is not going to save” and it has a lot of resilience, ” said Ms. Périé. It takes many years of drought to kill a mature tree, for example. Those who grow now may still be there in 2050.

    Migration to the north

    The geographical situation of the Québec advantage, however : the forest will ” migrate north “. Black spruce may disappear from the landscape of the eastern Townships and the Montérégie, but it will perform more in the taiga, which will be heated.

    The evolution of climate change is, however, much more rapid than the migration capability of the trees. The forest is “moving” from 100 to 200 meters per year. The predicted speed of the “moving the climate towards the north or towards higher altitudes” is rather of 2 to 10 km per year.

    This will create a real “shock” : the genetics of the forest of quebec was slowly transformed in the past 18 000 years. Now he is asked to adapt for 100 years, said Michel Campagna, head of the Department of genetics, reproduction and ecology to the department.

    For example, between the periods 1960-1990 and 2050, the limit of the mixed forest in Québec, will be moved more than 230 km to the north.

    Insects, fires and droughts

    The climate is only part of the equation for the success of a species on a territory, says Mr Campagna, the head of a team that seeks to better understand the consequences of climate change on the forests of Quebec and who benefits from the green fund to finance his studies.

    “It is also necessary to take into account the insect pests, forest fires and droughts, for example “, he adds. He is now trying to survive from plants in southern Quebec in the north to test their adaptability.


    In short

    13 species to monitor

    The projections indicate that 13 of the 43 species found on the territory of the forest could become maladaptive to the new climate conditions on more than half of their range.

    A danger to the economy

    “Several softwood species of commercial as jack pine, white spruce, larch and tamarack, and balsam fir present a high risk of decline for more than 20 % of their range of reference,” according to a government study.


    • The jack pine

    • Black maple

    • The black spruce

    • The paper birch

    • Eastern white cedar


    (The majority of deciduous trees that are quite prevalent in Quebec)

    • The red maple

    • Red elm

    • The charm of Caroline

    • Oak two-tone

    • The hickory to fruit sweet


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