Scientists studying climate change estimate
that Ontario will warm an average of 3 to 6 degrees C within the next 75
to 100 years, and warn that ecosystems will have difficulty adapting to
this fast pace of change. Scientists also predict that global warming will
have an impact on wood supply and forest biodiversity in both the short
and long term.
|The predicted effects of climate change on
forests include a decline in forest productivity due to more frequent and
extreme storms and wind damage, greater stress due to drought, more frequent
and severe forest fires, and insect disturbances.
It is also predicted that increases in temperature will cause a northward shift in forest types and associated flora and fauna. Other effects are a change in competitiveness in plant species, (as herbaceous plants are favoured by increased C02 compared to woody plants) and a shorter winter harvest season, due to milder winters, resulting in an associated increase in forest harvest operating costs.
There are a number of unknowns related to
climate change and the effects on forest ecosystem processes. A doubling
of C02 from pre-industrial levels is expected to occur within 80 years.
Some scientists believe that in the long term, forests may become more
productive as C02 is the main fuel for photosynthesis.
It is also thought that in marginal soils, such as the claybelt of northeastern
Ontario, forests may become more productive as the rate of litter decomposition
rises with increasing temperatures.
Ecoregions of Canada before climate change
Projected ecoregions of Canada after climate change
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