In many parts of BC, plantations that are well-adapted today will be poorly adapted in the final two or three decades of their rotation, resulting in decreased pest resistance, growth and wood quality. Assisted migration (i.e., planting seedlots adapted to future climates) is recognized by many researchers as a pro-active, effective strategy to mitigate negative impacts associated with climate change, and in some locations may enhance plantation adaptation and productivity in a warmer climate.
By 2013, approximately 75% of plantations will be established with orchard seed. Furthermore, heightened calls for assisted migration and increased species diversity associated with climate change and replanting beetle-infested areas are creating a demand for orchard seed outside of each seedlot?s tested environment. In addition, anecdotal evidence indicates that populations of some species perform remarkably well where they are not currently native. However, little is currently known about the adaptive responses of orchard seedlots, especially outside of their current climates and areas of use.
Long-term testing of these important seedlots in diverse climates is required to better understand their productivity responses in current and future climates so that appropriate species and seedlots can be selected for the future and a system of assisted migration can be developed to mitigate climate change impacts.
As the adaptation of planted trees to their environments will be greatly affected by climate change, we seek to better understanding of the adaptation of those populations that will form the majority of the planted forests in the near future. Our main question is: How will each population grow in future climates? and Which populations will be best adapted for future climates in each area of the province?
Application of results
Results of this study will provide the first province-wide, side-by-side, quantitative, empirical evaluation of long-term productivity of Class A seedlots of all commercially important species in BC, and will result in a spatially explicit description of the productivity of the most widely used seedlots from BC and neighbouring states. This information will be central to the development of a provincial climate-based seed transfer system that will help maximize forest productivity in current and future climates.