Warmer Climate Expected to Hamper Pine Plantations
Scientists predict that young lodgepole pine planted today in the correct seed planning zone in British Columbia will be poorly suited to that site's temperatures by 2020. Since mean annual temperature is a prominent driver of lodgepole pine's productivity, this consequence of climatic change is troubling for forestry.
Within 15 years, mean annual temperatures for the Prince George and the Bulkley Valley seed planning zones (SPZ) are expected to exceed those experienced in the Nelson SPZ between 1960 and 1990. By 2050, temperatures throughout the province could top temperatures of the late 1900s for any area in BC currently growing lodgepole pine. Forecasts call for mean annual temperatures of this tree's seed zones climbing from an average of 2.0 °C in 1990 to 3.4 °C in 2020 and 4.6 °C in 2050.
These predictions are enabled by ClimateBC computer software that provides precipitation and temperature minimums and maximums for any location in BC. The application, developed by University of BC and Ministry of Forests and Range, integrates climate prediction models to forecast and map changes in weather. It also estimates variables influencing biological processes including frost-free days, degree-days and snowfall.
T. Wang, A. Hamann, D.L. Spittlehouse and S.N. Aitken. 2006. Development of scale-free climate data for Western Canada for use in resource management. International Journal of Climatology. 26(3): 383-397.