About

This project is meant to explore how climate change could affect local forest resources and the resulting impacts on the flow of services and values from those forests on timber supply and water quality and quantity. The goal is to work with local decision-makers and practitioners to better understand what kind of outcomes might be expected given different climate change scenarios and under existing and alternative management strategies, and to use that understanding to help inform planning processes and the identification of management options that will contribute to the long-run sustainability of these resources.

The project was designed using the San Jose River watershed as a study, which is the primary supplier of water to the aquifer from which the City of Williams Lake draws its water supply. This two and a half-year project is funded under Natural Resource Canada’s Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC) program, and a key part of this program is working with communities and organizations to both increase the awareness of the potential impacts at the local level and understanding of different adaptation options.

Using the best understanding available of how climate change might affect forest resources,  the research team will model the cumulative impacts of climate change on forest dynamics and watershed hydrology to evaluate the effectiveness of forest management options in maintaining forest cover and water supply under changing conditions. A key part of this project involves working with local decision-makers such as the City of Williams Lake, the Regional District, local First Nations, regional staff from the Ministry of Forests and Range and the Ministry of Environment, forest licensees, and others with a stake in these outcomes to identify key watershed values and local vulnerabilities as well as different watershed and forest management options.

The project consists of (1) devising a forest management strategy, in collaboration with local stakeholders, experts and managers, to increase the surface water and ground water supply in the San Jose River watershed and (2) modelling the impacts of that strategy on surface and sub-surface hydrology; and (3) modelling the effect of that strategy on the forest estate in the watershed, for consideration by resource managers.

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