Video - Do Peatland-dominated Landscapes Buffer Boreal Forests From Drought? Implications for Climate Change Refugia

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Alex Lanki-Traikovski
Michelle Knaggs
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Climate refugia are areas where the impacts of climate change may be slower to materialize, providing either permanent or temporary areas of existing habitat that are more likely to persist than elsewhere. These refugia may act as ‘slow lanes’ for species to bide time and eventually migrate to more climatically suitable habitats. As western North American forests become hotter and drier with climate change, drought will likely be a leading cause of tree mortality and regeneration failure in Alberta’s boreal forest. Two ongoing studies at the University of Alberta are investigating how factors may increase adjacent upland forests’ resistance and resilience to future drought by assessing tree regeneration post-fire and tree growth. Understanding the landscape characteristics that promote refugia, will help inform forest management and conservation priorities in a changing climate.

As a polytechnic, NAIT partners with industry to develop applied research solutions that solve industry challenges. We build subject matter expertise within our applied research centres and bring multiple experts from across centres to apply that expertise to complex industry-driven projects. NAIT’s Centre for Boreal Research works with industry and communities to support best management practices and reclamation of the boreal forest. The Boreal Nature Series aims to deepen the understanding of citizens and students in northern, forest-based communities of the science and importance of the boreal forest. Learn more at