A Regional Integrated Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change and of the Potential Adaptation Avenues for Quebec’s Forests

Yan Boulanger
Jesus Pascual Puigdevall
Annie Claude Bélisle
Yves Bergeron
Marie-Hélène Brice
Dominic Cyr
Louis De Grandpré
Daniel Fortin
Sylvie Gauthier
Pierre Grondin
Guillemette Labadie
Mathieu Leblond
Maryse Marchand
Tadeusz Splawinski
Martin-Hugues St-Laurent
Evelyne Thiffault
Junior Tremblay
Stephen Yamasaki
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Regional analyses assessing the vulnerabilities of forest ecosystems and the forest sector to climate change are key to consider the heterogeneity of climate change impacts but also the fact that risks, opportunities and adaptation capacities might differ regionally. Here we provide the Regional Integrated Assessment of climate change on Quebec’s forests, a work that involved several research teams and that focused on climate change impacts on Quebec’s commercial forests and on potential adaptation solutions. Our work showed that climate change will alter several ecological processes within Quebec’s forests. These changes will result in important modifications in forest landscapes. Harvest will cumulate with climate change effects to further alter future forest landscapes which will also have consequences on wildlife habitat (including woodland caribou habitat), avian biodiversity, carbon budget and a variety of forest landscape values for Indigenous peoples. The adaptation of the forest sector, will be crucial to mitigate the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystem goods and services and improve their resilience. Moving forward, a broad range of adaptation measures, notably through reducing harvest levels, should be explored to help strike a balance among social, ecological and economic values. We conclude that without climate adaptation strong negative economical and ecological impacts will likely affect Quebec’s forests.