Climate change, wildfire, and landscape homogenization in Western Canada

Category: Time:
Wednesday, April 3, 2024 - 12:00 to 13:00
Room: URL: Speaker:
Ze'ev Gedalof
Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, University of Guelph
Pamela Pelletier
Calendar Status:

Wildfire is the most important disturbance agent in forests of Western Canada, affecting stand structure and composition, biodiversity, biogeochemical cycling, hydrologic processes, and natural resource extraction.  Despite considerable research, consensus on the frequency and severity of historical fire occurrence has been elusive in much of the Canadian Cordillera.  Some of this uncertainty derives from epistemological differences between influential researchers in the discipline, but much derives from methodological limitations.  One area of particular contention has focused on the degree to which surface versus crown fires were historically important; a second relates to how disproportionately effective suppression of surface fires may have homogenized the landscape and altered the modern and future fire regimes.  We have endeavored to overcome these uncertainties by employing a multiproxy approach to reconstructing fire history, and by using randomized site and sample selection.  In this presentation I will present evidence for a complex mixed-severity fire regime, recent landscape homogenization and discuss conservation implications.