CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND

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ecosystem response to climate change, the ACIA cites spruce bark beetle ..... 2006). It is also important for key local actors and institutions to be involved in .... To explore forest management options to adapt to climate change in the ...... boreal regions are expected to alter plant and animal distributions over time (Gitay et al.

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT IN THE BOREAL FOREST

by

AYNSLIE ERNA ELIZABETH OGDEN M.Sc., Simon Fraser University, 1996 B.Sc.(Agr), University of Guelph, 1993

A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Forestry)

THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) April 2008

© Aynslie Erna Elizabeth Ogden, 2008

Abstract Climate change will pose increasing challenges to forest managers working to achieve sustainable forest management in the boreal forest. A logical starting point for climate change adaptation is to proactively identify management practices and policies that have a higher likelihood of achieving management objectives across a wide range of potential climate futures. This research implemented an approach to identifying such measures by tapping into the experiential knowledge base of local forest practitioners. The assessment was organized according to a structured decision-making (SDM) approach. Northern forest practitioners consider the goals of climate change adaptation to be synonymous with those of sustainable forest management indicating that the criteria for the conservation and sustainable management of boreal forests as defined by the Montréal Process are suitable objectives against which the performance of alternative adaptation options can be assessed. The case study area for this research was the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory of southwest Yukon where a climatically-driven, large-scale spruce bark beetle disturbance has been driving forest management planning yet climate change considerations have not been directly addressed in the planning process. Twenty-four adaptation options were identified as being important to implement in forest development areas to achieve regional goals and objectives of forest management across three scenarios of climate change. In addition, the performance of alternative strategies to re-establish forests was assessed. Results indicate that the applicability of alternative forest renewal adaptation strategies is strongly related to the objectives of forest management which differed across the forest management planning area. However, since none of the strategies were judged to perform highly across any of the scenarios of climate change, additional work is needed to explore whether a threshold of acceptability can be met even with the adoption of adjustments to forest management policies and practices. If not, management objectives themselves may need to be revised. An extensive list of research and monitoring needs were also identified, an indication that climate change is providing the imperative for a more comprehensive research and monitoring program to support the sustainable management of forest resources in this region. The next steps in a SDM approach are to implement adaptation options and strategies deemed appropriate and to monitor their performance in achieving management objectives within an adaptive management context.

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Table of Contents Abstract.......................................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents ......................................................................................................................... iii List of Tables ................................................................................................................................ vi List of Figures.............................................................................................................................. xii Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................... xiii Co-authorship statement ............................................................................................................ xv 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7

Introduction....................................................................................................................... 1 Context................................................................................................................................ 1 Research assumptions ......................................................................................................... 7 Methodological approach.................................................................................................... 8 Research objective and research questions ....................................................................... 14 Research hypotheses ......................................................................................................... 16 Study design...................................................................................................................... 18 References......................................................................................................................... 31

2.0

Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation Considerations into Forest Management Planning in the Boreal Forest ........................................................................................ 36 Summary ........................................................................................................................... 36 Introduction....................................................................................................................... 36 Forest management planning ............................................................................................ 38 Incorporating climate change into forest management plans ........................................... 38 Climate change impacts on forest management objectives and options for adaptation ... 40 Evaluating adaptation options........................................................................................... 52 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 55 References......................................................................................................................... 64

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.7 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6

Perspectives of Forest Practitioners on Climate Change Adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada ........................................................................... 74 Summary ........................................................................................................................... 74 Introduction....................................................................................................................... 74 The northern forest sector ................................................................................................. 77 Methodology ..................................................................................................................... 79 Results............................................................................................................................... 83 Discussion ......................................................................................................................... 87 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 91 References....................................................................................................................... 102 Climate Change Adaptation and Regional Forest Planning in Southern Yukon, Canada ........................................................................................................................... 106 Summary ......................................................................................................................... 106 Introduction..................................................................................................................... 106 Background ..................................................................................................................... 108 Addressing climate change in strategic forest management plans: a typology .............. 109 Sustainable forest management planning in the Yukon.................................................. 110 The CATT plan and its associated actions...................................................................... 113 iii

4.7 4.8 4.9 4.10

The TTTT Plan and its associated actions ...................................................................... 116 Plan comparison.............................................................................................................. 118 Conclusions..................................................................................................................... 121 References....................................................................................................................... 131

5.0

Forest Management in a Changing Climate: Building the Environmental Information Base for Southwest Yukon ..................................................................... 134 Summary ......................................................................................................................... 134 Introduction..................................................................................................................... 134 Background ..................................................................................................................... 135 Building the environmental information base................................................................. 136 Conclusions..................................................................................................................... 139 References....................................................................................................................... 141

5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.13 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.9 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8

Application of a Structured Decision-Making Approach to an Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerabilities and Adaptation Options for Forest Management in the Southwest Yukon, Canada..................................................................................... 143 Summary ......................................................................................................................... 143 Introduction..................................................................................................................... 143 Study area – Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory, southwest Yukon........... 146 Methods........................................................................................................................... 148 Results............................................................................................................................. 154 Discussion ....................................................................................................................... 166 Conclusions..................................................................................................................... 171 References....................................................................................................................... 185 Boreal Forest Renewal Under Climate Change: An Assessment of Alternative Adaptation Strategies ................................................................................................... 190 Summary ......................................................................................................................... 190 Introduction..................................................................................................................... 191 Study area - Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory, southwest Yukon ........... 193 Methods........................................................................................................................... 195 Results............................................................................................................................. 202 Discussion ....................................................................................................................... 209 Conclusions..................................................................................................................... 211 References....................................................................................................................... 225 Adapting to Climate Change in the Boreal Forest: Locally Identified Research and Monitoring Needs to Support Sustainable Forest Management Decision-Making 228 Summary ......................................................................................................................... 228 Introduction..................................................................................................................... 229 Study area........................................................................................................................ 231 Methods........................................................................................................................... 232 Results............................................................................................................................. 235 Discussion ....................................................................................................................... 245 Conclusions..................................................................................................................... 249 References....................................................................................................................... 255

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9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8

Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 259 Key findings.................................................................................................................... 259 Status of relevant working hypotheses ........................................................................... 269 significance of the thesis research to the field of study .................................................. 275 Potential applications of the research findings ............................................................... 276 Strengths and weaknesses of the thesis research ............................................................ 277 Comments on future research ......................................................................................... 278 Concluding comments .................................................................................................... 280 References....................................................................................................................... 283

Appendix A: Questionnaire National Assessment – Northern Chapter (Forestry Sector) ........ 285 Appendix B: Questionnaire Results Report National Assessment – Northern Chapter (Forestry Sector) 306 Appendix C: Overview Report Forest Management in a Changing Climate: Building the Environmental Information Base for Southwest Yukon............................................................. 349 Appendix D: Participant Workbook Climate Change Adaptation & Transition: Adapting to Climate Change in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory..................................... 385 Appendix E: Results Report Climate Change Adaptation & Transition: Adapting to Climate Change in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory .................................................. 458 Appendix F: UBC Research Ethics Board’s Certificates of Approval..................................... 558

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List of Tables TABLE 2.1:

TABLE 2.2:

TABLE 2.3:

TABLE 2.4:

TABLE 2.5:

TABLE 2.6:

TABLE 2.7:

TABLE 3.1: TABLE 3.2:

TABLE 3.3:

Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of conserving biological diversity of northern forest ecosystems…………………………

57

Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining the productive capacity of northern forest ecosystems………………………...

58

Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining the health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems…………………………..

59

Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of conserving and maintaining the soil and water resources in northern forest ecosystems…..

60

Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles………………………

61

Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining and enhancing long term multiple socio economic benefits to meet the needs of societies………………………………………………………………….

62

Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of ensuring the appropriate legal, institutional and economic framework is in place for forest conservation and sustainable management………………………….

63

Climate change scenarios for the 2050s for the forested areas of the northern territories west of 102°W…………………………………………

93

Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to conserving biological diversity in northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario……………………….

94

Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to maintaining the productive capacity of northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario………………

95

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TABLE 3.4:

TABLE 3.5:

TABLE 3.6:

TABLE 3.7:

TABLE 3.8:

TABLE 3.9:

TABLE 4.1: TABLE 4.2:

TABLE 4.3:

Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to maintaining health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario……………………….

96

Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to the conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources in northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario……………………………………………………………………..

97

Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to the maintenance of northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario……………………………………………………………………

98

Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to maintenance and enhancement of longterm multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies from northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario………………

99

Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to adapt the present legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario……………………………………………

100

Percent of respondents who indicated that additional information on the impact of climate change on the following attributes would have a significant influence on their decision making process as a practitioner in the northern forest sector…………………………………………………...

101

Proposed typology to characterize how strategic forest management plans address climate change……………………………………………………..

123

Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for conserving biological diversity in northern forest ecosystems in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon……………………………………………..

124

Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for maintaining the productive capacity of northern forest ecosystems in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon……………………………………………..

125

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TABLE 4.4:

TABLE 4.5:

TABLE 4.6:

TABLE 4.7:

TABLE 4.8:

TABLE 6.1: TABLE 6.2: TABLE 6.3:

TABLE 6.4:

TABLE 6.5:

Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for maintaining the health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon……………………………………………..

126

Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for conserving and maintaining the soil and water resources in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon……………………………………………..

127

Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for maintaining northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon……………………………………………..

128

Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for maintaining and enhancing long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon………………..

129

Incorporation of climate change adaptation options that may be considered to ensure the appropriate legal, institutional and economic framework is in place for forest conservation and sustainable management in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon………………………….

130

Climate change scenarios for the 2050’s for the southwest Yukon. Source: Canadian Climate Scenarios Network…………………………….

173

Level of agreement of forest practitioners with a series of statements on climate change……………………………………………………………...

174

Judgments of forest practitioners on the degree of change in various attributes of environmental, social and economic systems observed over the past 20 years in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory in response to recent climate warming. ………………………………………

175

Judgments of forest practitioners on the degree to which various factors that contribute to enhancing the adaptive capacity of the forest sector and forest-based communities to climate change are present in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory…………………………………………

176

Judgments of forest practitioners on the degree to which forest sector and forest-dependent communities in the Champagne and Aihihik Traditional Territory are vulnerable to the following impacts climate change…………

177

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TABLE 6.6:

Judgments of forest practitioners on the importance of adaptation options to conserve biological diversity in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory for each of three scenarios: “current climate conditions”, “low scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s” and “high scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s…………………….

178

Judgments of forest practitioners on the importance of adaptation options to maintain the productive capacity of forest ecosystems in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory for each of three scenarios: “current climate conditions”, “low scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s” and “high scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s…...

179

Judgments of forest practitioners on the importance of adaptation options to maintain health and vitality of forest ecosystems in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory for each of three scenarios: “current climate conditions”, “low scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s” and “high scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s……….

180

Judgments of forest practitioners on the importance of adaptation options to conserve and maintain soil and water resources in forest ecosystems in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory for each of three scenarios: “current climate conditions”, “low scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s” and “high scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s………………………………………………………………………

181

TABLE 6.10: Judgments of forest practitioners on the importance of adaptation options to maintain contributions of forest ecosystems to global carbon cycles in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory for each of three scenarios: “current climate conditions”, “low scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s” and “high scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s………………………………………………………………………

182

TABLE 6.11: Judgments of forest practitioners on the importance of adaptation options to maintain and enhance long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies from forest ecosystems in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory for each of three scenarios: “current climate conditions”, “low scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s” and “high scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s……….

183

TABLE 6.12: Judgments of forest practitioners on the importance of options to adapt the present legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management for each of three scenarios: “current climate conditions”, “low scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s” and “high scenario of future climate change by the 2050’s…...

184

TABLE 6.7:

TABLE 6.8:

TABLE 6.9:

TABLE 7.1:

Climate change scenarios for the 2050’s for the southwest Yukon. Source: Canadian Climate Scenarios Network……………………………………...

213

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TABLE 7.2:

Percentage of participants who agree that the statement of vision of the future forest applies to landscape zones in the study area………………….

214

Judgments of participants on the degree to which climate change is having or will have an influence on the ability of forest managers to achieve the management objectives in the Forest Resource Management Zone……….

215

Percentage of participants who agree or strongly agree that management option is currently being practiced in the Yukon to achieve the stated management objective. Results are an indication of adaptation options that are consistent with adaptation strategy S1 - business-as-usual…………….

216

Percentage of participants who consider adaptation option to be consistent with adaptation strategy S2 - minimize human intervention / limit nonclimate stresses……………………………………………………………..

217

Percentage of participants who consider adaptation option to be consistent with adaptation strategy S3 - build socio-economic resilience to changing climate conditions…………………………………………………………..

218

Percentage of participants who consider adaptation option to be consistent with adaptation strategy S4 - facilitate ecosystem adaptation to future climate conditions………………………………………………………….

219

Percentage of participants who consider adaptation option to be consistent with adaptation strategy S5 - engineer resistance to changing climate conditions…………………………………………………………………

220

Judgments of forest practitioners on how likely alternative strategies will achieve the management objectives for the Forest Resource Management Zone under current climate conditions……………………………………..

221

TABLE 7.10: Judgments of forest practitioners on how likely alternative strategies will achieve the management objectives for the Forest Resource Management Zone under a low scenario of projected climate change (2050s)…………..

222

TABLE 7.11: Judgments of forest practitioners on how likely alternative strategies will achieve the management objectives for the Forest Resource Management Zone under a high scenario of projected climate change (2050s)…………

223

TABLE 7.12: Percentage of participants who judge alternative adaptation strategies to be complimentary with landscape zones in the study area…………………

224

TABLE 7.3:

TABLE 7.4:

TABLE 7.5:

TABLE 7.6:

TABLE 7.7:

TABLE 7.8:

TABLE 7.9:

TABLE 8.1:

Summary of research needs identified through 1) forest practitioner sessions and 2) a community climate change workshop to support the incorporation of climate change considerations into the implementation of the Strategic Forest Management Plan in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory, southwest Yukon …………………………………...

251 x

TABLE 8.2:

TABLE 9.1:

Summary of monitoring needs that were identified through 1) forest practitioner sessions and 2) a community climate change workshop to support the incorporation of climate change considerations into the implementation of the Strategic Forest Management Plan in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory, southwest Yukon……….

254

Summary table of adaptation measures identified by practitioners to be robust in light of projected climate change for the Forest Management Zone in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory, southwest Yukon and the percentage of practitioners who consider each measure to be currently implemented (from Chapter 6). Where applicable, also indicated is where this measure is reflected in current forest management policy (Chapter 4)…………………………………………………………..

281

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List of Figures FIGURE 2.1:

FIGURE 2.2:

Criteria for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests as defined by the Montreal Process and endorsed through the Santiago declaration in 1995…………………………………..

40

A structured decision-making approach for evaluating the regional appropriateness of various climate change adaptation options…………….

53

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Acknowledgements Special thanks to my supervisor, Dr. John Innes, for all of the guidance, support and encouragement you provided at all stages of this research. Thanks also to my Supervisory Committee – Dr. Tim McDaniels, Dr. John Nelson and Dr. Stewart Cohen. The financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council under the Canada Graduate Scholarship program is also gratefully acknowledged. The research described in Chapter 3 was conducted to inform the northern chapter of the Canadian Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Assessment (National Assessment). I would like to acknowledge the opportunity that was provided by the National Assessment to conduct this research. For their assistance in the delivery of this questionnaire, I would like to express appreciation to Stephanie Ryan, Michael Westlake, and John Streicker of the Northern Climate ExChange and the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network. The project described in Chapter 5 was administered through the Northern Climate ExChange and was funded by Environment Canada's Northern Ecosystem Initiative, the Northern Climate ExChange, and Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN North). A number of authors contributed to the background papers that were compiled under this project: Aynslie Ogden, Doug Clark, Jill Johnstone, Wendy Nixon, Ramona Maraj, Peter Johnson, Panya Lipovsky, Chris Zdanowicz, Karen McKenna, Ric Janowicz, John Clague, Maria Leung, Mark O'Donoghue, Sharon Smith, and Stan Boutin. Members of the project team are gratefully acknowledged for the guidance they provided to this project -- Carl Burgess, Amy McKinnon, Susan Desjardins, Roger Brown, David Henry, Jill Johnstone, Wendy Nixon, John Streicker and Michael Westlake. Amanda Graham edited and did the graphic design and layout of the overview and backgrounder reports. Cody Miller designed and posted material on the project website at http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/. The Government of Yukon funded the design and printing of a poster which summarized project results. Danielle Drummond was involved in the compilation of local knowledge through the Alsek Renewable Resource Council. Thanks to all who contributed to the success of this project. The workshop described in Chapters 5 and 8 entitled “Climate Change in our Backyard” was hosted by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and the Alsek Renewable Resource Council. This three day workshop devoted one day to discussing and expanding on the project “Forest Management in a Changing Climate: Building the Enviornmental Information Base for the Southwest Yukon”. The workshop was funded by Environment Canada’s Northern Ecosystem Initiative, the Northern Climate ExChange, and C-CIARN North, the Government of Yukon, the Council of Yukon First Nations, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, and the Aboriginal and Northern Community Action Program. The workshop planning team consisted of Rose Kushniruk, Fran Oles, Susan Desjardins, Michael Westlake, Bob Van Dijken and Aynslie Ogden. Rose and Aynslie cofacilitated the workshop and the workshop report was compiled by Amy McKinnon. In particular, special acknowledgements to Rose Kushniruk whose efforts made this workshop a resounding success. The research described in Chapters 5, 6, 7 received support from the Model Forest Special Project Area Program, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Government, the Government of Yukon, and the National Science Foundation’s Climate Decision-Making Centre. These financial xiii

contributions made these sessions possible and are gratefully acknowledged. The sessions were facilitated by Dan Ohlson. The project planning team consisted of Aynslie Ogden, John Innes, Dan Ohlson, Roger Brown, Susan Skaalid, Gary Miltenberger and Tim McDaniels. Members of the local Forestry Research and Monitoring Technical Working Group provided invaluable feedback on the project proposal and the practitioner invitation list. Special acknowledgements to Dan Ohlson for his valuable review and comments on the workbook, and to Dan Ohlson and Tim McDaniels for their comments on the draft manuscripts presented in Chapters 6 and 7. Thanks as well to the anonymous referees for valuable suggestions received during the peerreview process on the published manuscripts presented in Chapters 2, 3, and 5. My greatest thanks are extended to my wonderful husband and parents.

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Co-Authorship Statement The following seven manuscripts (which at the time of publication of this thesis were either published, under revision or unpublished) were co-authored by myself and my research supervisor Dr. John Innes. My contribution to this work included the identification and design of the research, securing funding, performing the research, liaising with local advisory teams, analyzing the data and preparing draft manuscripts. Dr. John Innes’contribution to this work involved assisting in getting this work into publishable quality by reviwing and editing draft versions of the manuscripts. 1. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2007. Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest. International Forestry Reviews 9(3):713-733. 2. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2007. Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change Adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada. Forestry Chronicle 83(4):557-569. 3. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. In press. Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon, Canada. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 00(0):000-000. 4. Ogden, A.E. 2007. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental Information Base for Southwest Yukon. Forestry Chronicle 83(6):806-809. 5. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. Under revision. Application of a structured decision-making approach to an assessment of climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options for forest management in the southwest Yukon, Canada. This manuscript has been accepted by Ecology and Society. 6. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. Draft Manuscript. Boreal forest renewal under climate change: an assessment of alternative adaptation strategies. 7. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. Under revision. Adapting to climate change in the boreal forest: locally identified research and monitoring needs to support decision-making on sustainable forest management. This manuscript has been accepted by Arctic.

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1.0

Introduction

Climate change is expected to have significant implications on the forest sector and forestdependent communities. The purpose of the research described in the following papers was to explore the informed judgments of forest practitioners on how forest management plans and policies could be adapted to the realities and uncertainties of climate change in the northern boreal forest. The work was completed in the northwest of Canada between 2004 and 2007, a time when public perceptions of the importance of climate change were changing rapidly.

1.1

CONTEXT

Here, an introduction to literature relevant to the area of study is provided to provide context for this research project. Specifically, the following topic areas are introduced; 1) the impacts of climate change on the boreal forest, and 2) climate change adaptation in the forest sector.

1.1.1 Impacts of climate change on the boreal forest Boreal forests cover about 17% of the Earth’s land area, and play a very important role in regulating global climate, in the carbon and water cycles, and in the world economy (Bhatti et al. 2003). The converse is also true; boreal forests are also highly influenced by climate. Climate affects their distribution, structure, composition and much of their ecological function. Boreal forests are one of the Earth’s ecosystems expected to be most affected by a changing climate (Solomon et al. 2007). The observed impacts of regional climate changes on natural and human environments include alterations in disturbance regimes of forests due to fires and pests (Adger et al. 2007). By 2100, the equilibrium change in global mean surface temperatures is likely to be in the range of 2.0 to 4.5oC with a best estimate of about 3oC, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5oC, and very unlikely greater than 3oC (Solomon et al. 2007). The temperature increase in the boreal region and other high latitude biomes is been projected higher than the mean global average (Solomon et al. 2007). The resilience of many ecosystems is likely to be exceeded this century by an unprecedented combination of climate change, associated disturbances (e.g., drought, wildlife, insects), and other global change drivers (e.g., land-use change, pollution, over-exploitation of resources (Adger et al. 2007).

1

Introduction

With the release of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA 2004), considerable attention was drawn to climate change in the Arctic and northern boreal regions. One of the key findings of this report is that the average annual temperatures over the past few decades in the Arctic and northern boreal regions has increased at almost twice the rate as in the other regions of the planet, and winter temperatures are rising more rapidly than summer temperatures. There are some variations across the region – with some places showing more warming than others. In Alaska and northwestern Canada, winter temperatures have increased by as much as 3-4 oC over the past 50 years. Changes in the amount and characteristics of precipitation have also occurred, including an 8% increase in precipitation (with most of this in the winter) and more rain on snow events. The high degree of variability in precipitation and the difficultly in detecting precipitation changes has led to the projection of trends in precipitation being associated with greater uncertainty than for temperature, particularly in mountainous regions (Bonsal et al. 2003). However, with the release of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, understanding of projected patterns in precipitation have improved and it is believed to be very likely that amounts of precipitation in high latitudes are very likely to increase (Solomon et al. 2007) The impacts of climate change are already apparent in northern boreal forests. As evidence of ecosystem response to climate change, the ACIA cites spruce bark beetle infestations in the Kenai Peninsula and in the southwest Yukon and declines in forest health and productivity in interior Alaska, among other impacts (Juday et al. 2004). The latest IPCC assessment report projects that disturbances from pests, diseases and fire will have increasing impacts on forests, with an extended period of high-fire risk and large increases in area burned (Adger et al. 2007). The report also notes that the impacts of climate change will vary regionally but, aggregated and discounted to the present, they are very likely to impose net annual costs which will increase over time as global temperatures increase. While northern and Arctic human communities are already adapting to climate change, the IPCC concludes that both external and internal stressors will challenge their adaptive capacities (Adger et al. 2007). Observed and anticipated impacts of climate change on northern boreal forests are summarized in greater detail in Chapter 2.

1.1.2

Climate change adaptation in the forest sector

Climate change poses important questions for any forest management and planning process. Increasingly, forest managers will be challenged to maintain the ecological integrity of boreal 2

Introduction

forests, to maintain social and economic goods and services provided by forest ecosystems, and to manage carbon pools and fluxes in the light of climate impacts. In the following sections, a definition of adaptation and the rationale for adaptation in the forest sector is provided, along with a discussion on the relationship between adaptation and sustainable forest management. 1.1.2.1 Adaptation defined Adaptation is defined as adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment. Adaptation to climate change refers to adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic change, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities (IPCC 2001). Adaptation can be a spontaneous or planned activity, and can be carried out in response to or in anticipation of changes. In some situations, it may make sense for adaptations to occur in a natural and unmanaged way. For example, in a forestry context, longterm unmanaged shifts in species composition within a timber supply area might be followed by autonomous adaptations in the private sector to utilize the new type of forest resource (Ohlson et al. 2005). In other situations, it may make sense to undertake adaptations in a planned proactive manner. For example, long-term shifts in forest disturbance patterns that threaten ecological, social or economic systems might necessitate planned adaptations in the form of targeted regeneration, silviculture or protection strategies (Ohlson et al. 2005). Proactive approaches to adaptation are more likely to avoid or reduce damage than reactive responses because planning among government institutions and economic sectors will enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change (Easterling 2004). The ability of the forests and the forest industry to adapt will depend on the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on forests, as well as other factors, including the cumulative impacts of land cover and land-use change (Lemmen and Warren 2004) and the adaptive capacity of the environmental, economic and/or social system that is coping with the impacts. Little information is available on how effective various options are at fully reducing risks, particularly at higher levels of warming and related impacts, and for vulnerable groups (Adger et al. 2007). Adaptive capacity is the ability of a system to adjust its characteristics or behaviour in order to expand its coping range under existing climate variability, or future climate conditions, and is a reflection of the resources available for adaptation, as well as the ability or capacity to use these resources effectively in the pursuit of adaptation (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried 2005). There are formidable environmental, economic, informational, social, attitudinal and behavioural barriers to 3

Introduction

implementation of adaptation; however, the barriers, limits and costs of adaptation are not fully understood (Adger et al. 2007). 1.1.2.2 Rationale for adaptation Even the most stringent mitigation efforts cannot avoid further impacts of climate change, which makes adaptation essential. Adaptation is now occurring to observed and anticipated climate change to a limited extent (Adger et al. 2007). Adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting from the warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions. (Adger et al. 2007). A wide array of adaptation options are available, including technological, behavioural, managerial and policy responses. However, more extensive adaptation than is currently occurring is required if the vulnerability to future climate change is to be reduced. Adaptation alone is not expected to be able to cope with all of the projected effects of climate change, and especially not over the long run as most impacts increase in magnitude. Mitigation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, will also be necessary. Vulnerability to climate change can be exacerbated by the presence of other, non-climatic stresses, which reduce resilience and adaptive capacity because resources are deployed to competing needs (Adger et al. 2007). Future vulnerability depends not only on climate change but also on social and economic development pathways (Adger et al. 2007). Current forest utilization and protection policies are based on how forests developed under past climate conditions; therefore, policy makers and forest managers will need to accept both that climate change is probable, and that it will result in significant impacts on forests and forestbased communities (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003). Efforts to maintain rigidly the current properties of boreal forests in the face of multiple interacting global changes are doomed to failure (Chapin et al. 2004); however, researchers have speculated that it is the interaction of human-induced change with climate change that will trigger large ecosystem shifts (Chapin et al. 2004). Since many human-induced changes are amenable to management, forest management policies in the coming decades can have a substantial influence on the ecological and societal consequences of climate change (Chapin et al. 2004). Because of the vulnerability of the forest ecosystem, and because of the expected increase in the rate of change of its ecology, along with some of the uncertainties related to what is known about the ecosystem and how it will be impacted, few adaptation strategies for the forest sector are 4

Introduction

currently being researched, evaluated or implemented. Rather, most of the research done to date in the forest sector on climate change has related to improving our understanding of climate impacts. However, it is clearly very important for resource managers in the boreal region to start considering the implications of climate change, and to adapt their management plans accordingly (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003). 1.1.2.3 Adaptation and sustainable forest management According to Adger et al. (2007), sustainable development can reduce vulnerability to climate change by increasing resilience and enhancing adaptive capacity, and climate change can impede the ability to achieve sustainable development. However, at present, few plans for promoting sustainability have explicitly included either adapting to climate change impacts or promoting adaptive capacity. While the influence of climate change on forest ecosystems poses new questions as to how sustainable forest management (SFM) can be achieved, the principles and practice of SFM embodies many of the activities that will be required to respond to the effects of climate change on forests (Ogden and Innes 2007a; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003). For example, adaptive management is an essential component of SFM. Adaptive management rigorously combines management, research, monitoring, and means of changing practices so that credible information is gained and management activities can be modified by experience; it is a systematic process for continually improving management policies and practices by learning from the outcomes of operational programs (BCMOF 2006). Its most effective form–"active" adaptive management–employs management programs that are designed to experimentally compare selected policies or practices, by evaluating alternative hypotheses about the system being managed (BCMOF 2006). Adaptive management involves recognizing uncertainty, establishing methodologies to test hypotheses concerning those uncertainties; it uses management as a tool not only to change the system but to learn about the system (Holling 1978; Holling 2001). As one of the biggest challenges in developing adaptation strategies in the forest sector is the reality of uncertainty an effective adaptive management cycle is essential to climate change adaptation (Ohlson et al. 2005). The uncertainties associated with projections of climate change and associated impacts emphasize the need to identify robust management options – those that are likely to achieve the objectives of sustainable forest management and are likely to perform well across a wide range of potential future climate conditions (Ogden and Innes 2007a; Lempert et al. 2003). Uncertainty may be explicitly addressed by selecting alternatives that provide opportunities for learning over time (McDaniels and Gregory 2004; Ohlson et al. 2005). 5

Introduction

Climate change adaptation strategies may be considered as a risk management component of a sustainable forest management plan (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Ohlson et al. 2005) because a definitive assessment of climate change impacts is very difficult and complex to perform. Such an assessment requires knowledge about ecosystem interrelationships, information on future development pathways that is currently not available, as well as planning over very large temporal and spatial scales. Risk management is a tool that can be used to evaluate and to prioritize adaptation options, in order to assist practitioners in directing limited resources to the areas of greatest return, or to areas where the ecosystems are most vulnerable. Risk management techniques can also be employed to determine which ecosystem components require monitoring for possible future interventions. McDaniels (2003) and Leiss (2003) provide summaries of concepts and analytical tools for risk analysis and management, while Willows and Connell (2003) provide a comprehensive overview of risk, uncertainty and decision-making for climate adaptation. It is important however to understand the limits of adaptation. Unmitigated climate change would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt. There is high confidence that the resilience of many ecosystems (their ability to adapt naturally) is likely to be exceeded by 2100 by an unprecedented combination of change in climate, associated disturbances (e.g., flooding, drought, wildfire, insects, ocean acidification), and other global change drivers (e.g., land-use change, pollution, over-exploitation of resources) (Adger et al. 2007). In the northern boreal forest, adaptations to resource management policies and practices may only buy ecosystems additional time to adjust to a changing climate until broad global action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions takes effect (Rosentrater and Ogden 2003). Options that have been suggested by various researchers as ways to adapt forest management practices and policies to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change on northern boreal forests are summarized in greater detail in Chapter 2.

6

Introduction

1.2

RESEARCH ASSUMPTIONS

A research question or problem statement arises out of assumptions that are accepted as theoretical constructs. In this way, assumptions affect the design of a research project. Assumptions may be made about: the main policy concerns, issues or decisions that prompted the analysis; criteria used to define issues of concern or options; the scope and boundaries of the analysis; the way in which various factors are expected to influence conclusions reached; intangible issues that are ignored or inadequately dealt with in quantitative analysis; approximations introduced by the level of detail in models; value judgments; and tradeoffs. This study was developed on the basis of the following assumptions: 1. Climate change is real. We know enough to know that climate change is taking place and will continue to take place at an ever-expanding rate (Solomon et al. 2007). We know enough to know that we need to start developing both mitigative and adaptive responses to climate change (Adger et al. 2007; Barker et al. 2007). 2. Climate change is associated with irreducible uncertainties. We don’t know enough to know exactly what the future will look like so adaptation measures and strategies that make sense across a wide range of future conditions need to be sought (Ohlson et al. 2005). 3. Forest management policies in the coming decades can have a substantial influence on the ecological, economic and societal consequences of climatic change (Chapin et al. 2004). Given the first two assumptions, it is prudent to act proactively by exploring potential management responses for the forest sector and forest dependent communities. 4. In a northern context, local knowledge and priorities need to play a critical role in an assessment of adaptation options. This is particularly true within a context of settled land claims and self government agreements. In the Yukon, the Umbrella Final Land Claim Agreement legally established a strong role for community and local knowledge and participation in decision-making on how lands and resources are managed. Local residents now have a unique opportunity, and a legal right, to be directly involved in the land and resource management decisions that affect them, their families and their communities.

7

Introduction

1.3

METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH

Five methodological approaches were central to the design of this study: 1. Adaptation planning 2. Structured decision-making 3. Case study research 4. Participatory research 5. Informed judgments

1.3.1

Adaptation planning

Adaptation planning is a process by which individuals, communities and countries seek to cope with the consequences of climate variability and change (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried 2005). Both the strategy and the process by which adaptation is implemented are equally important, such that the UNDP Adaptation Policy Framework Guidebook places strong emphasis on the broad engagement of stakeholders as they are seen as instrumental in driving each stage of the adaptation process (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried 2005). Because of the uncertainty surrounding future climate and socio-economic circumstances, an effective climate change adaptation policy must be responsive to a wide variety of economic, social, political and environmental circumstances (Burton et al. 2002). Adapting forest management and planning practices requires the following considerations (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried 2005; Dale et al. 2001; Holling 2001; Ohlson et al. 2005; Smit and Pilifosova 2001; Spittlehouse 1997; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003): •

Scoping and designing an adaptation project to ensure that a project, whatever its scale or scope, is well integrated into policy planning and development process. This is considered to be the most important stage of the adaptation planning process to increase the likelihood of adaptation strategies, policies and measures to be implemented.



Establish management objectives for the future forest under climate change;



Determine the current and future vulnerability of forest ecosystems, forest communities, local economies and human populations;



Develop and evaluate alternative adaptation options and the formulation of these options into a cohesive, integrated strategy; and 8

Introduction



Implementing, monitoring, evaluating, improving and sustaining the initiatives launched by the adaptation project.

The following processes are essential to successful adaptation planning (Lim and SpangerSiegfried 2005): •

Engaging stakeholders in the adaptation process is ultimately crucial to the successful implementation of an adaptation strategy. This requires an active and sustained dialogue among affected individuals and groups.



Increase through education the awareness of the forestry community to adaptation options to climate change;



Assessing and enhancing adaptive capacity so that societies can better cope with climate change and variability.

Adaptation planning does not require an abundance of high quality data or extensive expertise in computer-based models. Rather, it relies on a thoughtful assessment and a robust stakeholder process (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried 2005).

1.3.2

Structured decision-making

A process to plan for climate change adaptation may benefit from applying concepts developed for decision analysis practice. While generic options exist in the literature (e.g. Ogden and Innes 2007a; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003), little research is being done to evaluate these options in a regional or applied context. Structured decision-making provides a useful framework to assess when and where a particular adaptation option may be suitable (Ogden and Innes 2007a; Ohlson et al. 2005). In relation to adaptation to climate change, structured decision-making (SDM) involves: 1) establishing management objectives for the future forest; 2) determining the vulnerability of forest ecosystems, forest communities, local economies and human populations; 3) developing alternative adaptation options; 4) evaluating alternative options against management objectives; 5) implementation of desired adaptation policies and measures; 6) monitoring the effectiveness of climate change adaptation efforts in achieving management objectives; and 7) modify management practices when adaptation efforts are not successful in meeting management objectives (e.g., adaptive management) (Ohlson et al. 2005; Ogden and 9

Introduction

Innes 2007a). Articulating specific objectives may help planning processes to be more successful in addressing long-term concerns within short-term decisions (Gregory et al. 2001). Structured decision-making has many similarities to the adaptation policy framework process suggested by the UNDP (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried 2005). Both involve assessing current vulnerability, formulating adaptation strategies, and implementing and monitoring and improving the initiatives launched. Structured decision making places more of an emphasis on the articulation of management objectives and the evaluation of alternative options and strategies against these objectives. The adaptation policy framework process places more of an emphasis on who is involved in making the evaluation (strong stakeholder engagement), on the careful scoping a project to ensure that is well-integrated into a policy and planning processes to foster implementation of results, and on enhancing adaptive capacity. Neither approach requires highquality data or extensive modeling expertise, and both approaches encourage thoughtful assessment and a structured process.

1.3.3

Case study

Practical ideas about how to adapt to climate change exist; however, little research is being done to evaluate such strategies in a regional context. It is important to seek examples and case studies to examine selected questions in particular contexts. A case study approach was chosen for this research project because it provides a mechanism to explore opportunities and examine barriers to adaptation to climate change in forest management in a specific biogeographical and political context. A case study is designed to capture the complexity of a single case which is studied because it is of very special interest (Stake 1995). A case-study approach is also highly consistent with the adaptation planning process described above. Case studies are not examined primarily to understand other cases in that they are not designed to optimize the production of generalizations (Stake 1995). Research questions in case study research are intended to direct the looking and thinking, but not too much (Stake 1995). Commonly, issues questions are used to force attention to the complexity and contextuality of the case. Issues are not simple, but are intricately linked to political, social and historical contexts. In qualitative case study, the intent is to seek greater understanding of the case to appreciate its uniqueness and complexity, its embeddedness and interaction with its contexts. 10

Introduction

1.3.4

Participatory research

Several lessons have emerged from experiences with research and resource co-management in the north that are essential to apply in the design of any research project to evaluate responses to climate change (Wortley 2003; Clarke and Slocombe 2004): •

The necessity of understanding other actors’ standpoints and perspectives;



The limitations of a conventional definition of knowledge integration in co-management;



The limited prospects for ecosystem-based management ideas imported from elsewhere;



The need for place-based social learning; and



The essential need for the strengthening of trust between community and government partners.

Incorporating such findings into the design of a research project demands that a different methodological approach be used than is generally employed in traditional, quantitative, forestry research. Gunderson and Holling (2001) argue that successful decision-making in resource management is related to willingness, capacity and understanding. It is important, therefore, for forest managers to understand the inter-relationships between humans and the forest ecosystem in order to support community-directed sustainable forest management decision-making (Wortley 2003). Because site-specific, community-based forest management is dependent on the internal relationships within the community as well as on the external relationships between, for example, communities and governments/industry, it lends itself to study by qualitative and participatory research approaches (Wortley 2003). This study was designed to use participatory research methods because of their potential to enhance successful decision-making (van Asselt Marjolein and Rijkens-Klomp 2002; St. Denis 1992). Within the context of a community-directed forest management plan, local involvement in the identification and evaluation of forest management activities to respond to climate change is unquestionably important. Participatory research provides a mechanism for this involvement. In addition, the goals of many resource management and planning processes in the Yukon – to undertake forest management and planning cooperatively and to build local capacity – support a participatory approach to research.

11

Introduction

Participatory research is a qualitative methodology that involves the community in all stages of the research process -- from defining the intent and purpose of the research, analysis and interpretation of results, to the decision-making around the use of the findings/results (St. Denis 1992; Morris and Muzychka 2002). In participatory research, research participants help define the research objectives, questions, and methods, and are involved in data collection, analysis, and reporting, and in determining the uses of the research, thereby building capacity to implement the results of the research project.

1.3.5

Informed judgments

Public perceptions of climate change have been widely documented and have been the focus of considerable research in recent years (e.g., McDaniels et al. 1996; Lazo et al. 2000; Berk and Fovell 2004; Bord et al. 1998; O’Connor et al. 1999). In addition, expert judgments (generally defined as those of well-recognized university-based experts) have been used to forecast and assess probabilities and risks and have provided useful insights for decision-makers, particularly in situations characterized by complexity and deep uncertainty (e.g., Morgan et al. 2001; Lazo et al. 2000; Clemen and Winkler 1999; Morgan et al. 2006). While some efforts have been made to document the judgments of members of the professional and practitioner communities on climate risks (Williamson et al., 2005; Stedman 2004), research in this area has received considerably less attention. A notable gap is research to document what we term the informed judgments of forest practitioners on priorities and mechanisms for adaptation. Forest managers need to gain experience in developing and evaluating alternative adaptation options (Ohlson et al. 2005). Integrating climate change adaptation considerations into existing decision-making processes is called ‘mainstreaming’ and can lead to “win-win” policies – those that reduce vulnerability to climatic change while simultaneously addressing other priorities (Ford et al. 2006). It is also important for key local actors and institutions to be involved in mainstreaming since they play a significant role in knowledge transfer and policy development (Huq et al. 2005; Ford et al. 2006; Newton et al. 2005). Interventions will be more successful if they are identified and developed by local actors, as they (the interventions) are more likely to be consistent with local priorities, goals, norms and institutions (Newton et al. 2005; Chapin et al. 2006). Conversely, a recommendation that fails to involve consultation with local communities and/or government institutions is far less likely to be adopted (Newton et al. 2005). 12

Introduction

Forest practitioners play a critical role in adaptation planning. Forest practitioners are involved with the planning and management of forest-based resources and, in a northern context, encompass those with social, cultural, economic and/or environmental expertise, and holders of local, traditional and/or scientific knowledge of forest-based resources (Ogden and Innes 2007b). Practitioners are well-informed, highly-knowledgeable individuals whose employment or livelihood is tied to the forest sector and who tend to be employed by key decision-making agencies; alternatively, they may be stakeholders who are instrumental in driving forestry decision-making (Williamson et al. 2005). Documenting the informed judgments of practitioners could therefore provide useful insights into the state of knowledge and practice on climate adaptation and the readiness of practitioners to engage in adaptive strategies (Williamson et al 2005). The applied knowledge held by forest practitioners can also provide useful insights for decision-makers while research to produce more definitive results is ongoing (Morgan et al. 2001.). In the Yukon, forest practitioners work at the confluence of government, scientific and community knowledge and priorities and as such are experts in the local context. They also play an important role in developing, implementing and/or reviewing operational forest management plans to ensure the community-directed goals and objectives of forest management are achieved. Within the experiential knowledge base of local practitioners rests is an applied understanding of local priorities, goals, norms and institutions. There are many trade-offs involved in forest management decision-making, trade-offs that are well understood by those who are experts in the local context. This expertise is incredibly useful to an assessment of climate change vulnerabilities and the regional appropriateness of and adaptation options and strategies. An exploration of practitioners’ viewpoints on adaptation measures in a local context also creates the opportunity to build a collective understanding of locally-appropriate measures that might be taken to adapt to climate change. In addition, raising awareness of the range of alternative adaptation options within this community can facilitate changes in policy and practice. In this way, exposing practitioners to adaptation-related questions might help to build the necessary foundation for their incorporation into longer-term forest management and planning-related decisions.

13

Introduction

1.4

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The objective of this research was to identify adaptation policies and measures to reduce current vulnerability and future climate risks for a forest management plan in the southwest Yukon. Specifically, this project sought answers to the following five questions. The manuscript chapter in this thesis where each of the questions are addressed are also indicated.

Question 1: How can climate change adaptation considerations can be incorporated into forest management plans in the boreal forest? What options exist for how to adapt forest management practices and policies to

Ch 2

reduce vulnerability to climate change? At what level in the forest management planning hierarchy (e.g. strategic,

Ch 2

operational) are these options best considered?

Question 2: What are current and future vulnerabilities to climate change? What direct evidence exists to support the notion that climate change is having an

Ch 2,3,6

impact on forest ecosystems? Have forest practitioners observed changes in various attributes of environmental,

Ch 3,6

social and economic systems over the past 20 years that they attribute to recent climate warming? What factors do forest practitioners consider to be contributing to the adaptive

Ch 3,6

capacity of the forest sector and forest-based communities to climate change? To what degree do forest practitioners consider the forest sector and forest-dependent

Ch 3,6

communities as being vulnerable to the impacts of climate change? Do forest practitioners consider climate change to be affecting their ability to meet

Ch 3,6

stated objectives of forest management? Do they think this will change in the future with climate change?

14

Introduction

Question 3: In light of management objectives, defined values and recent and projected climate change, what forest management adaptation options should be implemented to reduce current and future vulnerabilities? What are the goals of climate adaptation for the northern forest sector? In the northern boreal forest, what is the importance of alternative adaptation options

Ch 2,3 Ch 3

to achieving objectives of sustainable forest management under low and high scenarios of climate change? At the scale of a forest management plan, what is the importance of alternative

Ch 6

adaptation options to achieving objectives of sustainable forest management under low and high scenarios of climate change? Do forest management plans and practices currently incorporate any adaptation

Ch 4

measures? How well-adapted are these plans? Do practitioners consider options that are incorporated into plans to be part of current

Ch 6

practice? Are they being adequately implemented? What management options are considered to be robust (e.g. important to implement

Ch 6

across all scenarios)? What management options are no-go (e.g. not considered to be important to implement across all scenarios)? Is the framework suggested by Ogden and Innes (2007b) useful to an evaluation of

Ch 3,6

adaptation options in a regional forest management context?

Question 4: Following a climatically-driven spruce bark beetle epidemic, how should forest renewal practices and policies be adapted to achieve forest management objectives? What is the vision of the future forest? How does this differ by landscape zone?

Ch 7

To what degree do practitioners think climate change is having or will have an

Ch 7

influence on the ability of forest managers to achieve management objectives relevant to forest renewal? Are practitioners able to identify a robust management strategy (e.g. one that is likely

Ch 7

to achieve the objectives of forest renewal across a wide range of potential future climate conditions)? Do practitioners perceive the applicability of alternative adaptation strategies to differ

Ch 7

for different landscape zones? 15

Introduction

Question 5: What additional information is required to support adaptation decisionmaking? Is the existing knowledge held by forest practitioners on climate change, its impacts

Ch 3,6,8

and ways to adapt to climate change a barrier to the implementation of adaptive responses? What additional climate change-related information would have the greatest influence

Ch 8

on decision-making in the northern forest sector? What key uncertainties or knowledge gaps that, if explored, would help forest

Ch 8

managers incorporate climate change considerations into forest management and planning to achieve forest management goals and objectives? To support adaptive management, indicators may be used to test progress towards

Ch 8

achieving forest management goals and objectives. What indicators related to forest renewal should be monitored to facilitate making this assessment?

1.5

RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Hypotheses offer a proposed explanation for a research question. Scientific hypotheses are predictions that are testable and based on observation, experience, or scientific reasoning. Hypotheses indicate the expected answer to a research question in a given circumstance or situation. Below, hypotheses are provided for each of the major research questions addressed in this research. The status of these hypotheses following the completion of this research is discussed in the concluding chapter.

1.5.1

Question 1: How can climate change adaptation considerations can be incorporated into forest management plans in the boreal forest?

Hypothesis 1a: The goals of adaptation are synonymous with the goals of sustainable forest management. Hypothesis 1b: To simplify mainstreaming of adaptation-related considerations, adaptation strategies, policies, and measures must be considered at the appropriate scale, e.g., national level,

16

Introduction

territorial/provincial level, strategic planning level, and operational planning level, and also across scales.

1.5.2

Question 2: What are the most likely impacts and implications of climate and environmental change on forest ecosystems?

Hypothesis 2a: Climate change is having observable and identifiable impacts on forest ecosystems. These impacts will increase with increasing warming but the exact nature of future changes and responses are indeterminable. Hypothesis 2b: Climate change will affect the ability to meet the stated goals and objectives of forest management.

1.5.3

Question 3: In light of management objectives, defined values and recent and projected climate change, what forest management adaptation options should be implemented?

Hypothesis 3a: The appropriate forest management strategy to address climate change is one that is considered important to implement to achieve management objectives across a wide range of potential climate futures Hypothesis 3b: An understanding of the local dimensions of climate change based on scientific data, local knowledge and traditional knowledge, and an explicit consideration of this understanding in forest management and planning, will increase the likelihood of achieving desired forest management outcomes. Hypothesis 3c: The involvement of local practitioners to carry out an assessment of adaptation options through a participatory approach will increase the potential for mainstreaming results into changes in policy and practice. Hypothesis 3d: In a community-directed forest management and planning context, local residents and decision-makers will be more willing to see forest management adaptation 17

Introduction

measures and strategies implemented that are oriented to assisting the stated goals and objectives of forest management.

1.5.4

Question 4: Following a climatically-driven spruce bark beetle epidemic, how should forest renewal practices and policies be adapted to achieve forest management objectives?

Hypothesis 4a: The choice of forest renewal practices will be dependent on management objectives and the associated vision of the future forest. Hypothesis 4b: Climate change will not change the vision of the future forest from what has been specified in planning processes unless the management objectives driving that vision are perceived to be unattainable. Rather, it will change forest management activities required to achieve that vision

1.5.5 Question 5: What additional information is required to support adaptation decisionmaking? Hypothesis 5a: Practitioners and community residents will express different research needs from those expressed by the scientific community and community residents will emphasize implementing these research needs through community involvement. Hypothesis 5b: Climate change provides the imperative for a more comprehensive research and monitoring program than currently exists to support the sustainable management of forest resources.

1.6

STUDY DESIGN

To explore forest management options to adapt to climate change in the northern boreal forest, a ten-step research program was originally proposed (Ogden 2005). The study design outlined in the original proposal underwent some modifications as the research progressed. The major “steps” or elements of this research are summarized below as a means of demonstrating how the

18

Introduction

seven manuscript chapters in this thesis are linked together. In reality, the study was carried out in more of an iterative fashion than the logical sequence that is presented below.

Step Description

Chapter

1

Introduction - scope and design research project

Ch1

2

Assess current state of knowledge on how to adapt

Ch 2

3

Develop and pilot test assessment framework

Ch 3

4

Assess Yukon forest management plans for adaptations

Ch 4

5

Select case study

Ch 5

6

Establish participatory research process

Ch 5, 6, 7,8

7

Assess current state of knowledge for case study area

Ch 5

8

Develop assessment framework for case study area

Ch 6, 7,8

9

Assess vulnerabilities and options to adapt

Ch (3), 6

10

Assess forest renewal strategies

Ch 7

11

Identify research and monitoring needs to support decision making

Ch 8

12

Prepare reports and manuscripts

Ch 2-8

13

Conclusion: develop recommendations for next steps

Ch 9

14

Conduct outreach with practitioners, local residents and decision-makers

1.6.1

Step 1: Introduction - scope and design research project

To scope the research project a proposal was prepared that reviewed relevant literature and stated the hypotheses to be tested along with the primary assumptions upon which the research is based. The methodological approach, research questions, hypotheses to be tested and the study design were also determined as described in this introductory chapter.

1.6.2

Step 2: Assess current state of knowledge on how to adapt

To date, discussions around when, where and how to consider adaptation in forest management plans for the boreal forest have been limited. As a starting point, specific objectives for climate change adaptation need to be articulated. A hypothesis that these are synonymous with the criteria for conservation and sustainable management of boreal forests as defined by the Montréal Process was tested and was supported by forest practitioners in the Yukon and Northwest Territories (Ogden and Innes 2007b). Secondly, because forest management plans are 19

Introduction

hierarchical – there are higher level strategic plans and lower level operational plans – it is important to distinguish at which planning level adaptation options are most appropriately considered. The purpose of this step was to put forward a range of alternative adaptation options that forest managers working in the boreal zone could consider during the development of strategic and operational forest management plans in order to achieve sustainability as defined by the Montréal Process. A paper was developed that discusses how climate change adaptation considerations can be incorporated into forest management plans by: 1) reviewing the forest management planning process and the hierarchy of planning levels; 2) suggesting seven objectives of climate change adaptation; 3) discussing projected climate impacts on forest management objectives; 4) indicating whether climate change adaptation objectives are more appropriately considered at the strategic or operational planning level; and 5) suggesting methods for evaluating the regional applicability of various adaptation options, and how the performance of alternative climate change adaptation options (once implemented) can be evaluated. Results from Step 2 are summarized in Chapter 2.

1.6.3

Step 3: Develop and pilot test assessment framework

Forestry practitioners in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada were asked to complete a questionnaire examining the likely impacts of climate change on forest sector sustainability and adaptation options to climate change. The intent of this stage in the project was twofold a. To pilot test a framework to gather the informed judgments of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the northern forest sector (e.g., to pilot-test the assessment framework to be used in Steps 8-11). b. To inform the writing of the Northern Chapter of the Canadian Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Assessment. As very little has been done to explore issues around adaptation in the northern forest sector in Canada, the intent of this project was to document the perspectives of northern forest practitioners as a preliminary step in addressing this gap. Practitioner perspectives were explored on the basis of the following research questions: Do forest practitioners perceive climate change to be affecting the sustainability of the northern forest sector? What factors do forest practitioners perceive to be contributing to the current 20

Introduction

vulnerability of the northern forest sector and/or forest dependent communities to climate change? What are the goals of climate adaptation for the northern forest sector? What is the perceived importance of alternative adaptation options to achieving these goals? What additional climate change-related information would have the greatest influence on decision-making in the northern forest sector? The questionnaire is detailed in Appendix A and a detailed report on the results of the questionnaire is available in Appendix B. Results from Step 3 are summarized in Chapter 3. The workbook used in Steps 8-11 (Appendix D) was refined based on the results of this survey.

1.6.4

Step 4: Assess Yukon forest management plans for adaptations

Recent interest in sustainable forest management planning in the Yukon has coincided with growing public awareness of climate change, providing an opportunity to explore how forestry plans are incorporating climate change. The Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Traditional Territory (CATT) and the Teslin Tlingit Traditonal Territory (TTTT) were examined for evidence of adaptation to climate change. For each plan, management policies and practices that are also recognized as ways to adapt to climate change were identified following the framework developed by Ogden and Innes (2007a) to provide information on the incremental costs and benefits of additional adaptation efforts. A typology to characterize how strategic forest management plans may address climate change was suggested. This typology, which may be useful to any future retrospective assessments on how successful these or other sustainable forest management plans have been in addressing and managing the risks posed by climate change, consists of a matrix that categorizes plans into one of four types; 1) proactive-direct, 2) proactive-indirect, 3) reactive-direct, and 4) reactiveindirect. This is related back to sustainable forest management planning in the Yukon. Results from Step 4 are summarized in Chapter 4.

1.6.5

Step 5: Select case study

The southwest Yukon was selected as the case study area for this project because the current circumstances are especially suitable for the initiation of a dialogue on how to take climate change into account in forest management planning. It has been selected for study because of the pressing need to learn about what can be done to address climate change in this region. Specifically, 21

Introduction

1. There is growing evidence that the Southwest Yukon may already be affected by climate change. In the past ten or so years, severe spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennus) infestations have killed a large number of white spruce trees. Evidence indicates that the unprecedented magnitude and intensity of this infestation is related to recent climate warming. The impacts of climate change on the forests in this region are forcing changes to the social and economic sectors of local communities that are dependant on the goods and services provided by these forests. 2. To local communities and management agencies, the beetle infestation has demystified the often-abstract issue of climate change, providing a rallying point to explore adaptation planning. 3. Climate change impacts are likely to affect the ability of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Government (CAFN), the Government of Yukon (YTG) and the local community to achieve the goals of the community-directed Strategic Forest Management Plan’s forest management, which include having a functioning forest ecosystems and community sustainability and benefits. 4. The strategic plan identifies goals of cooperative forest management and planning and building local capacity. These goals, along with the commitment in the plan to follow an adaptive management cycle, may provide the vehicle and forum to make management decisions that are adaptive and effective in the face of climate change. The participatory research approach adopted by this study complements these goals. 5. Decision-making authorities – the Government of Yukon and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation – and the ARRC, have expressed an interest in research that can inform implementation of the plan. 6. The southwest Yukon is one of the few areas that has both strategic forest management plans and recently settled land claims. Few examples community-directed forest management planning in a post-land claims context exist in the boreal forest: therefore, this project provides opportunities for learning in a broader context. In many respects, the Southwest Yukon is a situation that lends itself to a case study approach, primarily because it represents a unique opportunity to support successful decision-making around climate change adaptation in this region. 22

Introduction

1.6.6 Step 6: Establish participatory research process Several of the lessons that have been learned from experiences with research and resource comanagement in the southwest Yukon were applied to the design of this research project. Because of the necessity of understanding other actors’ standpoints and perspectives, local perceptions on the limitations of adopting approaches to sustainable forest management from elsewhere, the need for place-based social learning, and the need to strengthen trust between community and government partners (Wortley 2003; Clarke and Slocombe 2004), participatory research approaches were considered appropriate for Steps 7-14 of this study. •

For Step 7 a project team was assembled that was made up of representatives of key land management agencies in the region: the Yukon Government and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (the organizations that are responsible for approving the Strategic Forest Management Plan); Alsek Renewable Resources Council (the lead organization for developing the plan); Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service); and Parks Canada. The project team helped to develop the goals and objectives of the project and helped to put together a network of researchers. They also read, commented on and approved the project report. Finally, they helped to develop the goals and format of the results workshop. Some of the team members also researched, wrote or gave input into the overview and/or background reports. Other experts and scientists were also involved to provide information, data, ideas, guidance or advice, and some read the reports generated by the project and commented on their accuracy and completeness.

a. For Steps 8-11 a project planning team – consisting of researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and representatives of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Lands and Resources Department and the Government of Yukon, Forest Management Branch – was struck to guide the planning and implementation of the research. The project team reviewed, revised and approved the project proposal, identified participants, helped to secure funding, participated in the pilot session and developed a plan for the dissemination of results. The project team consulted members of the local Research and Monitoring Technical Working Group for feedback on the project proposal, participant list and steps that should be taken to follow-up on project results.

23

Introduction

1.6.7

Step 7: Assess current state of knowledge for case study area

A multi-stakeholder, interagency project was carried out to synthesize available information on climate change for the southwest Yukon. The objectives of this stage of the project were to: compile and improve access to existing baseline information needed to support informed management decisions in the face of climate change; to make this information available using several communication tools for various target audiences; and to create an opportunity for scientists, government; and local residents to share observations and concerns on climate change as related to the management of forest resources within the study region. This was done as a first step in a longer-term process of evaluating climate impacts, assessing risks to ecosystem and community values, and developing scenarios for adaptation. An overview of this project is provided in Chapter 5 and the project overview report is provided in Appendix C.

1.6.8

Step 8: Develop assessment framework for case study area

In Step 3, a survey was administered that pilot-tested an assessment framework to gather the informed judgments of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the northern forest sector. The assessment framework used in Steps 8-11 was refined based on the results of this survey used in Step 3 and targeted to the case study area: the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory. The assessment framework used to document the informed judgments of individual forest practitioners was a workbook. The sequence of questions in the workbook followed the structured decision-making approach described above in Section 1.3.2. The workbook was designed to be self-administered – an introduction to the workbook and each section within the workbook was provided and all terminology was clearly defined. The workbook was pilot-tested with key local representatives before the sessions were undertaken. This identified a number of modifications that were needed to the workbook (e.g. wording of questions, reducing the number of questions). The final workbook was 65 pages in length and consisted of the following: •

Introductory sections including agenda, consent form, and background information



Participant information



Establishment of goals/objectives



Assessment of climate change vulnerabilities 24

Introduction



Identification and evaluation of alternative management options



Identification and evaluation of alternative forest renewal strategies



Evaluation of alternative strategies by forest management objectives in the study area



Application of alternative strategies to landscape zones in the study area



Identification of key uncertainties and research needs



Feedback from participants



Appendices including definitions, acronyms and map showing forest management zones

Practitioners were guided through the workbook during a one-day session. Five sessions were held, each consisting of six to eight like-minded people. Participants worked through a very structured series of questions in a workbook. The purpose of each session was to ensure there was a common understanding among participants of the questions being asked in the workbook. Since this project was interested in gaining an understanding of the range of opinions among practitioners, no attempt was made to reach consensus on any of the answers to the questions. Efforts were made to create a comfortable, non-judgmental, permissive environment and to place individuals within groups where participants were likely to share common ideas. The sessions were moderated by a neutral, skilled facilitator who was familiar with the subject matter and was neither in a position of power or influence over participants, nor affiliated with a governing body or a controversial issue in the community – this was done to ensure the quality of the results was not jeopardized (Kruger and Casey 2000). At the start of each session, the facilitator introduced the goals and objectives of the research project and explained how the information that was gathered was going to be used. Throughout the day, the facilitator introduced the various sections of the workbook and encouraged discussion on the nature and intent of the questions to ensure that there was a common understanding of their nature and intent. After each section of the workbook was introduced, the practitioners were given time to complete that section of the workbook such that the entire workbook was completed over the course of the day-long session. Discussions on individual responses to the questions in the workbook were limited so as to not influence the responses being provided by the participants. The results from the assessment of vulnerabilities and the evaluation of alternative management options are provided in Chapter 6. In Chapter 7, the results from the identification and evaluation of alternative forest renewal adaptation strategies and their application to landscape zones in the 25

Introduction

study area are presented. In Chapter 8, the results from the research needs identification are discussed. A copy of the workbook may be viewed in Appendix D and a detailed report on the results may be viewed in Appendix E.

1.6.9

Step 9: Assess vulnerabilities and adaptation options

A logical starting point for climate change adaptation in the forest sector is to identify management practices and policies that have a higher likelihood of achieving management objectives across a wide range of potential climate futures, followed by implementing and monitoring the success of these options in achieving management objectives within an adaptive management context. This step implemented an approach to identifying locally-appropriate adaptation options by tapping into the experiential knowledge base of local forest practitioners while at the same time, building capacity within this community to implement the results. Thirty forest practitioners involved with the implementation of a regional forest management plan participated in this project. Three steps in the structured decision-making process (assess vulnerability, develop alternative adaptation options, evaluate options against management objectives) were applied to a regional forest management planning context. The following research questions were explored: •

Assessment of vulnerabilities - Is the existing knowledge held by forest practitioners on climate change, its impacts and ways to adapt to climate change a barrier to the implementation of adaptive responses? Have forest practitioners observed changes in various attributes of environmental, social and economic systems over the past 20 years that they attribute to recent climate warming? What factors do forest practitioners consider to be contributing to the adaptive capacity of the forest sector and forest-based communities to climate change? To what degree do forest practitioners consider the forest sector and forest-dependent communities as being vulnerable to the impacts of climate change?



Assessment of adaptation options - What is the considered importance of alternative adaptation options to achieving objectives of sustainable forest management under low and high scenarios of climate change? Are any of these adaptation options currently being practiced? What management options are considered likely to perform well across a range of potential future climate change scenarios? Is the framework suggested by 26

Introduction

Ogden and Innes (2007b) useful to an evaluation of adaptation options in a regional forest management context? The line of questioning that was used to explore these questions was refined from experience gained in Step 2. Results from Step 8 are summarized in Chapter 6.

1.6.10 Step 10: Assess forest renewal strategies Identifying and implementing management strategies that have a higher likelihood of achieving forest management objectives across a wide range of potential climate futures is essential to the achievement of sustainable forest management and a critical consideration in forest renewal decision-making. This study explored the informed judgments of local forest practitioners on the performance of alternative strategies to re-establish a forested area following a large-scale spruce bark beetle disturbance in light of climate change. Through the application of structured decision-making techniques, the alternative strategies were systematically evaluated against the objectives of forest management in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory of southwestern Yukon and their applicability to different landscape zones within the study area was assessed. The following research questions were explored: •

What is the vision of the future forest? How does this differ by landscape zone?



To what degree do practitioners think climate change is having or will have an influence on the ability of forest managers to achieve management objectives relevant to forest renewal?



Are practitioners able to identify a robust management strategy (e.g. one that is likely to achieve the objectives of forest renewal across a wide range of potential future climate conditions)?



Do practitioners perceive the applicability of alternative adaptation strategies to differ for different landscape zones?

Strategies were developed from the list of options identified in Step 1 and evaluated in Step 8. Results from Step 9 are summarized in Chapter 7.

27

Introduction

1.6.11 Step 11: Identify research and monitoring needs to support decision making Tremendous investments in research are required to reduce the uncertainties associated with climate change; however, such needs occur within the context of limited availability of resources for research. For community-directed forest management, research that will help both the managers of forest based resources and the residents of communities who set the forest management directions incorporate climate change into their decision-making processes is important. Efforts to target research to support decision-making should take place at the scale and context where decisions are made, such as a forest management planning area. This paper presents research needs that were identified to support the incorporation of climate change considerations into the implementation of the Strategic Forest Management Plan in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory, southwest Yukon through 1) practitioner sessions and 2) a community climate change workshop. Results from Step 10 are summarized in Chapter 8.

1.6.12 Step 12: Prepare reports and manuscripts The following reports and manuscripts were prepared to summarize the results of this research 1. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2007. Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest (Chapter 2) 2. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2007. Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada (Chapter 3) 3. Ogden, A.E. Climate change impacts, adaptation and the northern forest sector. In Furgal et al. 2008 National Assessment on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: Northern Chapter. 4. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2008. Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon, Canada (Chapter 4) 5. Ogden, A.E. 2007. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for Southwest Yukon (Chapter 5) 6. Ogden, A.E. 2006. Overview Report: Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for Southwest Yukon (Appendix C) 7. Ogden, A.E. 2006. Climate, climate variability and climate change in the southwest Yukon. Forest management in a changing climate background report. 28

Introduction

8. Ogden, A.E. 2006. Climate change and major forest disturbance in southwest Yukon. Forest management in a changing climate background report. 9. Johnstone, J. Leung, M., Nixon, W., Ogden, A.E., O'Donoghue, M., Boutin, S., and Maraj, R. 2006. Climate change and ecosystem dynamics in southwest Yukon. Forest management in a changing climate background report. 10. Johnson, P., Lipovsky, P., Zdanowicz, C., McKenna, K., Janowicz, R. Smith, S., Clague, J., and Ogden, A.E. 2006. The changing physical environment of the southwest Yukon. Forest management in a changing climate background report. 11. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. In review. Application of a structured decision-making approach to an assessment of climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options for forest management in the southwest Yukon, Canada (Chapter 6) 12. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. Boreal forest renewal under climate change: an assessment of alternative adaptation strategies (Chapter 7) 13. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. In review. Adapting to climate change in the boreal forest: locally identified research and monitoring needs to support decision-making on Sustainable Forest Management (Chapter 8)

1.6.13 Step 13: Conclusions To conclude this research project, the status of relevant working hypotheses, discussion and conclusions relating manuscript chapters to each other and to the discipline of field of study, comments on strengths and weaknesses of the thesis research, an evaluation of current knowledge and proposals for new ideas related to the field of study, a discussion of the overall significance of the thesis research to the field of study and of any potential applications of the research findings as well as comments on future research are discussed. This discussion is provided in the concluding chapter.

1.6.14 Step 14: Conduct outreach with practitioners, local residents and decision-makers The next and last logical step of this research project is to disseminate the results of this research to the practitioners who were involved, local residents and decision-makers. Practitioners provided valuable feedback on how to engage local residents in these discussions (Appendix E). An action plan will be developed and presented to the local Forestry Working Group and Forestry Research and Monitoring Technical Working Group. It is hoped that a session can be 29

Introduction

held with the Steering Group as well as with community members to share results of this study and to gather their perspectives. At the time this dissertation was completed, this stage in the project had not yet been completed.

30

Introduction

1.7

REFERENCES

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Burton, I., S. Huq, B. Lim, O. Pilifosova, and E.L. Schipper. 2002. From impacts assessment to adaptation priorities: the shaping of adaptation policy. Climate Policy 2:145–159. Chapin, F.S. III, Peterson, G., Berkes, F., Callaghan, T.V., Angelstam, P., Apps, M., Beier, C., Bergeron, Y., Crépin, A.S., Danell, K., Elmqvist, T., Folke, C., Forbes, B., Fresco, N., Juday, G., Niemelä, J., Shvidenko, A. and Whiteman, G. 2004. Resilience and vulnerability of northern regions to social and environmental change. Ambio 33 (6): 344-349. Chapin, F.S., III, Hoel, M., Carpenter, S.R., Lubchenco, J., Walker, B., Callaghan, T.V., Folke, C., Levin, S.A., Maler, K.-G., Nilsson, C., Barrett, S., Berkes, F., Crepin, A.S., Danell, K., Rosswall, T., Starrett, D., Xepapadeas, A., and Zimov, S.A. 2006. Building resilience and adaptation to manage Arctic change. Ambio 35(4):198–202. Clarke, D. and S. Slocombe, 2004. Re-Negotiating Science and Protected Areas: Lessons from Grizzly Bear Conservation in the Southwest Yukon, Canada. Proceeding of Presenting and Representing the Natural Environment: the Response of the Arts and Sciences- an Interdisciplinary Conference. Canadian Studies in Wales Group, University of Wales. Gregynog Hall, Newtown, Wales, UK, March 13-15, 2004. Clemen, R.T. and R.L. Winkler. 1999. Combining probability distributions from experts in risk analysis. Risk Analysis 19(2):187-203. Dale, V.H, Joyce, L.A., McNulty, S., Neilson, R.P., Ayres, M.P., Flannigan, M.D., Hanson, P.J., Irland, L.C., Lugo, A.E., Peterson, C.J., Simberloff, D., Swanson, F.j., Stocks, B.J. and Wotton, B.M. 2001. Climate change and forest disturbances. BioScience 51:723-734. Easterling, W.E., Hurd, W.H. and Smith, J.B. 2004. Coping with global climate change: the role of adaptation in the United States. Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, Arlington, VA. 40 pp. Ford, J., Pearce, T., Smit, B., Wandel, J., Allurut, M., Shappa, K., Ittusujurat, H., and Qrunnut, K. 2006. Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in the Arctic: The Case of Nunavut, Canada. Arctic 60(2): 150–166. Gregory, R., McDaniels, T.L. and Fields, D. 2001. Decision-aiding not dispute resolution: creating insights through structured environmental decisions. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 20(3):415-432 Gunderson, L. and C. Holling, 2002. Panarchy : understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island Press, Washington. Holling, C.S. (ed.) 1978. Adaptive Environmental Assessment and Management. Wiley, Chichester, New York. 377 pp. Holling, C.S. 2001. Understanding the complexity of economic, ecological, and social systems. Ecosystems 4: 390-405. Huq, S., Yamin, F., Rahman, A., Chatterjee, A., Yang, X., Wade, S., Orindi, V., and Chigwada, J. 2005. Linking climate adaptation and development: A synthesis of six case studies from Asia 32

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St. Denis, V. 1992. Community-based participatory research: aspects of the concept relevant for practice. Native Sutdies Review 8(2)51-73. Van Asselt Marjolein, B.A. and N. Rijkens-Klomp. 2002. A look in the mirror: reflection on participation in integrated assessment from a methodological perspective. Global Environmental Change 12:167-184. Williamson, T.B., J.R. Parkins and B.L. McFarlane. 2005. Perceptions of climate change risk to forest ecosystems and forest-based communities. Forestry Chronicle 81(5):710-716. Willows, R. and R. Connell (eds.). 2003. Climate Adaptation: Risk, Uncertainty and Decision Making. United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) Technical Report. UKCIP, Oxford, UK. Wortley, D. Community-based forest management planning in the Yukon: the difficulties of government transfer of responsibility and authority to community agencies. M.Sc Thesis, Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta.

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2.0

Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation Considerations into Forest Management Planning in the Boreal Forest1

2.1

SUMMARY

Climate change will pose increasing challenges to forest managers working to achieve sustainable forest management in the boreal forest. To date, discussions around when, where and how to consider adaptation in forest management plans for the boreal forest have been limited. As a starting point, specific objectives for climate change adaptation need to be articulated, which we consider to be synonymous with the criteria for conservation and sustainable management of boreal forests as defined by the Montréal Process. Secondly, because forest management plans are hierarchal – there are higher level strategic plans and lower level operational plans – it is important to distinguish at which planning level adaptation options are most appropriately considered. The purpose of this paper is to put forward a range of alternative adaptation options that forest managers working in the boreal zone could consider during the development of strategic and operational forest management plans in order to achieve sustainability as defined by the Montréal Process.

2.2

INTRODUCTION

Climate change poses a new dimension to forest management and planning, particularly in the boreal forest, one of the Earth’s ecosystems that is expected to be most affected by a changing climate (Gitay et al. 2001; Houghton 2004, IPCC 2007a). Boreal forests cover about 17% of the Earth’s land area, and play a critical role in regulating global climate, in global carbon and water cycles, and in the world economy (Bhatti et al. 2003). The converse is also true; boreal forests are highly constrained by climate, with their distribution and dynamics being largely determined directly or indirectly by climate (e.g., Kuusela 1990; McGuire and Chapin 2006). By 2100, global climate is expected to warm by 1.4 to 5.8°C, but the temperature increase in the boreal region is projected to be more than 40% higher than this (IPCC 2001, 2007a), with major implications for boreal forests.

1

This chapter has been published. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2007. Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest. International Forestry Reviews 9(3):713-733.

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Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

Of necessity, forest managers are already adapting to the impacts of climate change. The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) infestation in the montane cordillera ecozone of central British Columbia and the spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennus Kirby) infestation in the boreal cordillera ecozone of southwest Yukon provide examples of major disturbances, the magnitude and intensity of which are considered to be at least in part evidence of ecosystem response to climate warming, and which are driving forest management and planning efforts in these regions (ARRC 2004; Carroll et al. 2004; Juday et al. 2005; Shore et al. 2004). While adaptation can be carried out in response to or in anticipation of changes, in some situations it may make sense for adaptation to climate change to happen in a more proactive manner. Adaptation may involve taking increased uncertainty into account, and/or anticipated changes. For example, long-term shifts in forest disturbance patterns that threaten ecological, social or economic systems might necessitate planned adaptations in the form of targeted regeneration, silviculture or protection strategies (Goff et al. 2005; Ohlson et al. 2005), since proactive approaches to adaptation are more likely to avoid or reduce damage than reactive responses (Easterling et al. 2004). In many cases, this will involve careful modelling of the interactions between climate change, disturbance and management (e.g., MacIntire et al. 2005). To date, discussions around when, where and how to incorporate adaptation considerations into forest management and planning have been limited, and it could in fact be argued that much forest management and planning is more aimed at preserving the status quo than allowing for change. While some work has been done on fire management planning under different climate scenarios (e.g., Ryu et al. 2004), very little such planning has been done within the broader context of forest management plans, with uncertainty over impacts being cited as one reason for the inability to develop adaptive strategies (Krankina et al. 2004). For the boreal forest, this paper discusses how climate change adaptation considerations can be incorporated into forest management plans by: 1) reviewing the forest management planning process and the hierarchy of planning levels; 2) suggesting seven objectives of climate change adaptation; 3) discussing projected climate impacts on forest management objectives; 4) indicating whether climate change adaptation objectives are more appropriately considered at the strategic or operational planning level; and 5) suggesting methods for evaluating the regional applicability of various adaptation options, and how the performance of alternative climate change adaptation options (once implemented) can be evaluated.

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Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

2.3

FOREST MANAGEMENT PLANNING

Forest management planning can be separated into two distinct levels: strategic planning and operational planning. Strategic long-term plans establish the broader context for operational short-term plans by providing direction on how the mix of forest resources will be managed in a given area. As strategic forest management plans are concerned with larger areas and longer time frames than operational plans, they often describe desired future forest conditions and indicate broad strategies (such as landscape zoning) that establish how the desired future forest conditions will be achieved (Liu et al. 2000). Strategic plans play an important role in determining the appropriate choice of forest practices described in operational plans, and consistency between the different levels of planning has been found in practice to be essential (Bott et al. 2003). In western Canada, strategic plans are often equated with forest management plans; whereas, operational plans are equated with harvesting plans or development plans. Operational plans are developed to be consistent with the objectives established in the strategic plans and are usually developed for smaller areas and shorter time frames. They provide detailed descriptions of the forest resources, as well as the location, timing and description of forest practices for the management, use and conservation of the resources. Because operational plans must be consistent with strategic plans, the forest practices described in a given operational plan also must be tailored to be consistent with the objectives of the strategic plan in effect for the area. Operational plans describe how the objectives identified in strategic plans are to be implemented.

2.4

INCORPORATING CLIMATE CHANGE INTO FOREST MANAGEMENT PLANS

Articulating specific goals and objectives for climate change adaptation can assist forest managers in incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management plans. Forest management goals are broad statements that describe a desired outcome, and objectives describe the range of conditions that are necessary to achieve forest management goals. A clear statement of goals and objectives can increase the success of forest management plans in addressing long-term concerns within short-term decisions (Gregory et al. 2001). Within the context of climate change, this requires the determination of the potential range of future

38

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

conditions that could occur under different climate scenarios, and relating these to the desired future conditions (Jones and Boer 2005). While the influence of climate change on boreal forest ecosystems poses new questions as to how sustainable forest management can be achieved, the existing principles and practice of sustainable forest management embody many of the activities that will be required to respond to the effects of climate change on forests (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003). As a consequence, the goal of climate change adaptation can therefore be considered to be synonymous with that of achieving sustainable forest management. The capacity to adapt to climate change is thus integral to sustainable forest management. In 1993, the Montréal Process was initiated to advance a common definition of what characterizes the sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. In 1995, seven criteria of sustainable forest management were endorsed through the Santiago Declaration by 12 member countries in both northern and southern hemispheres that represent about 90 per cent of the world's temperate and boreal forests or approximately 60 per cent of the world’s forests (Montréal Process Working Group 1999; Figure 1.1). These criteria define what the essential elements of sustainable forest management are, and recognize forest ecosystems as providing a wide range of environmental, social, cultural and economic goods and services. The criteria incorporate ecosystem-related functions and attributes (biodiversity, productivity, forest health, carbon cycle, and soil and water protection), socio-economic benefits (timber, recreation and cultural values) and describe the essential characteristics of the legal and institutional frameworks for sustainable forest management.2 No single criterion or indicator is alone an indication of sustainability; all must be achieved before a forest can be considered to be sustainably managed. If the goal of climate change adaptation is to achieve sustainable forest management, it follows that the objectives of adaptation are identical with the objectives that need to be in place to achieve sustainable forest management. This hypothesis was tested in a recent survey of forest practitioners in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada (Ogden and Innes 2007). Forest practitioners were asked whether internationally agreed-upon criteria for sustainable forest management, as defined by the Montréal Process, could also serve as management objectives for 2

More information about the Montreal Process is available at http://www.mpci.org/

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Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

climate change adaptation in the forest sector -- 71% of respondents agreed, 12% agreed with some but not all of the criteria and 9% were unsure (Ogden and Innes 2007). FIGURE 2.1: Criteria for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests as defined by the Montreal Process and endorsed through the Santiago declaration in 1995. Source: Montreal Process Working Group (2006). 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Conservation of biological diversity Maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources Maintenance of forest contributions to global carbon cycles Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies 7. Legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management

2.5

CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON FOREST MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES AND OPTIONS FOR ADAPTATION

Following is a summary of the potential impacts of climate change as they pertain to each of the seven criteria of sustainable forest management (Montréal Process Working Group 1999; Figure 2.1). These seven criteria are considered here to be synonymous with management objectives for climate change adaptation. For each impact, alternative adaptation options that may be considered by forest managers at both the strategic and the operational planning levels are also provided (Tables 2.1 to 2.7). The adaptation options that are presented were compiled from a range of publications dealing with climate change adaptation and forest management (e.g., IPCC 2000, 2007b, 2007c; Gitay et al. 2001; Noss 2001; Bhatti et al. 2003; Biringer 2003; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Spittlehouse 2005; Chapin et al. 2004; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Kellomaki et al. 2005; BCMOF 2006; Johnston et al. 2006). Where we were unable to locate either a strategic level or an operational level adaptation option from the literature that specifically relates to a particular climate change impact, we have offered a suggestion.

2.5.1 Conservation of biological diversity Biological diversity makes it possible for organisms and ecosystems to respond and adapt to environmental change (CCFM 2006). The Montréal Process outlines the elements of biological diversity that need to be conserved in order to achieve sustainable forest management which are 40

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

the diversity of ecosystems, the diversity between species, and genetic diversity in species. Biodiversity conservation requires viable breeding populations of species, and their natural genetic variation, and the maintenance of fundamental ecological processes. This requires 1) contiguous ecosystems and 2) ecosystems of a certain minimum size (Montréal Process Working Group 1999). Excessive habitat fragmentation can disrupt some ecological processes (e.g., pollination, seed dispersal, and wildlife movement between patches of forest and breeding) and impede the ability to maintain viable breeding populations of species. Forest-dependent species with low population levels or significantly reduced range run the risk of losing important genetic traits from their gene pools, resulting in a reduced ability by species to adapt to environmental changes (Montréal Process Working Group 1999). Together, changes in the natural disturbance regime and climate warming in both temperate and boreal regions are expected to alter plant and animal distributions over time (Gitay et al. 2002; Nitschke and Innes 2006). As climate conditions change, the distributions of individual species of trees will respond by shifting, as they have in the past in response to changes in climate (Lemmen and Warren 2004). The distributions of tree species are expected to shift northward and to higher altitudes as the climate warms, with actual changes being determined by temperature, moisture conditions, nutrient availability, disturbance regimes, and a range of other factors (Nitschke and Innes in press). However, the rapid rate of future climate change may exceed the natural dispersal abilities of some tree species (Malcolm and Markham 2000; Malcolm et al. 2002). Furthermore, migration may be impeded by habitat fragmentation (Biringer 2003), competition from exotic species, which may be facilitated by disturbance events (Iverson and Prasad 2001; ACIA 2004), or by changes in the timing and rate of seed production (Stewart et al. 1998). Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of conserving biological diversity of northern forest ecosystems are presented in Table 2.1. At the strategic level, potential adaptation options include minimizing habitat fragmentation, maintaining connectivity, maintaining representative forest types across environmental gradients in reserves, protecting climate refugia, identifying and protecting functional groups and keystone species, creating artificial reserves to preserve rare or threatened species, developing a gene management program, maintaining natural fire regimes, and maintaining the integrity of ecosystems (Noss 2001; Peters 1990; Holling 2001; Carey 2003; 41

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

Parker et al. 2000). At the operational level, potential adaptation options include practicing low intensity forestry, preventing conversion to plantations, assisting changes in the distribution of species by introducing them to new areas, allowing forests to regenerate naturally following disturbance where regeneration success is likely, and controlling invasive species (Noss 2001; Parker et al. 2000; Kellomaki et al. 2005).

2.5.2

Maintenance of the productive capacity of forest ecosystems

Sustainable forest management requires that the productive capacity of forest ecosystems be maintained such that ecological functions and processes are able to perpetuate themselves over the long term (Montréal Process Working Group 1999). Productivity refers to the ecosystem’s ability to accumulate biomass, which depends on the degree to which nutrients, water, and solar energy are absorbed and transferred within the ecosystem (CCFM 2006). Because changes in weather-related disturbance regimes and nutrient cycling are the primary controls on productivity in the boreal forest (Gitay et al. 2001), small changes in temperature and precipitation could greatly affect future forest growth and survival (Rehfeldt et al. 1999; Strömgren and Linder 2002; Briceño-Elizondo et al. 2006), especially at ecotones and threshold areas (Sykes and Prentice 1995, 1996; Lemmen and Warren 2004). In boreal forests, winter warming may have both positive and negative effects on forest growth and health. Warmer winters may decrease the amount of winter twig breakage (Columbo 1998); however, the risk of frost damage and the frequency and duration of midwinter thaws may lead to increased shoot damage and tree dieback (Kellomäki et al. 1995; Lieffers et al. 2001), may cause changes to below-ground processes such as nitrogen mineralization (Sulkava and Huhta 2003), or may also interact with other stressors to make trees more susceptible to dieback (Hogg et al. 2002). In addition, a decrease in snow cover could increase tree dieback due to frost heaving, seedling uplift and increased exposure of roots to freeze–thaw events (Bergsten et al. 2001). Although changes in temperature and precipitation patterns will impact future moisture conditions in boreal forests, areas where moisture is not a limiting factor may expect increased forest growth and productivity (Kellomäki and Kolström 1994; Kellomäki and Väisänen 1996; Price et al. 1999; Alekseev and Soroka 2002; Yarie and Billings 2002). In other areas, decreases in precipitation will exacerbate the moisture stress caused by warming while higher temperatures may decrease the efficiency of water use by plants. The narrow adaptive range of individual trees 42

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

may results in many natural and planted forests being significantly maladapted within their lifespan as a result of climate change, and significant losses in productivity may be expected, particularly in drier and warmer regions of the boreal forest (Rehfeldt et al 1999; BCMOF 2006). Although research on the impact of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) on tree growth is inconclusive (Karnosky et al. 2001), higher CO2 concentrations may improve the efficiency of water use by some tree species, increasing their growth and productivity; however, individual tree age may also influence the response. Over time, any positive response of plants to enhanced CO2 may decrease as plants acclimatize to the elevated CO2 concentrations (Drake et al. 1997; Long et al. 2004), but this remains uncertain, with much conflicting evidence from relatively short-term experiments. Overall, the impact of climate change on forest growth and productivity will vary from region to region, and will be influenced by species composition, site conditions and local microclimate (Arseneault and Sirois 2004; Lemmen and Warren 2004). Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining the productive capacity of northern forest are summarized in Table 2.2. At the strategic level, forest managers may consider practicing highintensity forestry in areas where timber production is the primary objective. This may become essential in areas where a decrease in productivity and/or an increase in disturbance are expected. High-intensity forestry is most appropriate in a well-planned landscape where the forested landbase is allocated using a TRIAD approach to landscape zonation (Innes and Nitschke 2005). Other strategic considerations include adapting silvicultural rules and practices to ensure the growth rates of trees and optimum species-site relationships are maintained and adopting policies to ensure that the disruption of ecosystems by non-native species is avoided (IPCC 2000; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Kellomaki et al. 2005; BCMOF 2006). At the operational level, a variety of silviculture-based adaptation options may be considered including assisting in tree regeneration, maintaining a diversity of age stands and mix of species, actively managing forest pests, enhancing growth through forest fertilization, employing vegetation control to offset drought and/or to control species expected to become more competitive in a changed climate, selectively removing suppressed, damaged or poor quality trees, relaxing rules governing the movement of seedlots, designing and establishing a seedlot trial across a diverse array of climatic and latitudinal environments, identifying more suitable genotypes, and including climate variables in growth and yield models in order to have more specific predictions on the future development of forests (Biringer 2003; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Kellomaki et al. 2005; IPCC 43

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

2000; Parker et al. 2000; Smith et al. 1997; Papadol 2000; Gitay et al. 2001; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; BCMOF 2006; Linder et al. 2000)

2.5.3

Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality

Forest disturbances are a critical part of the natural functioning of healthy boreal forest ecosystems, and boreal forest dynamics cannot be understood without considering natural disturbances at different scales of time and space (Johnson et al. 2003). Forest ecosystems have evolved to cope with, and recover from, natural disturbances (e.g. insects, diseases, drought stress, windthrow, or wildfires). Some of these disturbances, such as wildfires in the boreal forest, even play a key role in allowing forests to renew themselves and maintain their productivity (CCFM 2006). Humans have contributed to an intensity, rate, and scale of forest disturbances that are outside the natural range of variation. Together, disturbances such as harvesting, deforestation for urban and agricultural development, pollution, and climate change have sometimes exceeded what forest ecosystems have adapted to. If forests cannot adapt to the cumulative impact of these stressors, they will lose their ability to maintain ecological functions and processes, leading to a decline or loss of forests over the long term (Montréal Process Working Group 1999). Therefore, forest ecosystem health and vitality must be maintained in order for sustainable forest management to be achieved. One of the projected consequences of climate change in boreal forests is that the frequency, severity and duration of natural disturbances are very likely to increase (ACIA 2004). Insects in particular are known to play a major role in the dynamics of boreal forests and there are major concerns that a changing climate would allow the spread of pests and diseases that are normally limited by weather conditions (ACIA 2004). An increase in forest disturbances due to insect outbreaks is almost certain to result from climate warming and the natural dynamics of forest insects are likely to be perturbed by the combined impacts of climate change and forest development (e.g., McCullough et al. 1998; Ayres and Lombardero 2000; Volney and Fleming 2000; Volney and Hirsch 2005). In addition, climate change is projected to increase the frequency, extent, and severity of forest fires and reduce mean fire return intervals (Juday et al. 2005; Flannigan et al. 2000; McCoy and Burn 2005; Stocks et al. 2000). The area burned in western North America has doubled over the past thirty years (ACIA 2004). Recent research suggests that climate-related increases in fire frequency could trigger more frequent shifts from conifer to deciduous-dominated successional trajectories in the future (Johnstone and Chapin 44

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

2006). In addition, disturbance events can facilitate habitat invasions by non-native and invasive species (ACIA 2004). Declines in forest health have been observed in some areas of the boreal forest over the last several decades that have been attributed to warmer temperatures. In some areas where declines have been observed, drought stress has been identified as the cause, whereas in other areas declines are currently not explained (Juday et al. 2005). Drought stress is also impeding the healthy re-establishment of spruce forests following fire in some areas of southwest and southcentral Yukon that are highly vulnerable to climate change if trends towards drier conditions continue (Hogg and Wein 2005). The five climate models used in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) project climate regimes that are very likely to prevent the growth of commercially valuable white spruce forest types and widespread black spruce forest types in major parts of Alaska and probably western boreal Canada (Juday et al. 2005; Barber et al. 2000; Barber et al. 2004; Juday and Barber 2005; Hogg and Wein 2005). Table 2.3 summarizes strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining the health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems. At the strategic level, adaptation options that may be considered include adjusting harvest schedules to harvest stands most vulnerable to insect outbreaks, enhancing the ability of ecosystems to respond to climate change by reducing non-climatic stresses (e.g., tourism, recreation, grazing, and atmospheric pollutants) and restoring degraded areas (Lemmen and Warren 2004; Biringer 2003). At the operational level, adaptation options that may be considered include: breeding for pest resistance and for a wider tolerance to a range of climate stresses and extremes; planting genotypes that are tolerant of drought, insects and/or disease; reducing disease losses through sanitation cuts that remove infected trees; using prescribed burning to reduce vulnerability to insect outbreaks; employing silvicultural techniques such as partial cutting or thinning to increase stand vigour and lower susceptibility to insect attack; shortening the rotation length to decrease the period of stand vulnerability to damaging insects and diseases and to facilitate change to more suitable species (Namkoong 1984; Wang et al.1995; Kellomaki et al. 2005; Farnum 1992; Smith et al. 1997; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Biringer 2003; Dale et al 2001; Gottschalk 1995; Wargo and Harrington 1991; Lindner et al. 2000). In addition, reducing cumulative impacts of multiple stressors at the operational level may involve maximizing forest area by quickly regenerating any degraded areas (Biringer 2003; 45

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

Wheaton 2001), working with others to ensure that stressors outside the control of the forest manager are minimized, and adopting a holistic management approach that balances timber and non-timber goods and services.

2.5.4

Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources

Sustainable forest management requires that the soil and water resources in forested ecosystems be conserved and maintained (Montréal Process Working Group 1999). Boreal forests play key ecological roles with respect to the conservation and protection of surface and subsurface waters, maintaining soil productivity, and sustaining the global carbon cycle. Forest management activities modify forest soils through disturbance, erosion, and compaction and the removal of the forest canopy and can increase soil erosion, stream siltation, water temperatures, and the flow of water out of a watershed by reducing interception and transpiration losses. Forest harvesting may also cause the water table to rise, particularly where soils are wet and shallow, and the loss of soil nutrients from a site from excess surface water runoff. When improperly carried out, forestry activities (in particular, road construction and maintenance) can have negative effects on water quality, water quantity, and soil integrity (CCFM 2006). However, the use of management techniques to protect soil and water can minimize these impacts by returning water levels will usually return to pre-harvest levels within a few years and curtailing nutrient losses. A major concern in the boreal forest is the melting of the permafrost (IPCC 2001; Nelson et al. 2002). Large areas of permafrost are expected to thaw, particularly in warm permafrost in the discontinuous and sporadic permafrost zones. Permafrost thaw will have an impact on drainage patterns, terrain stability and soil erosion, particularly where the permafrost is ice rich (20% to 50% visible ice). The development of thermokarst -- a landscape characterized by shallow pits and depressions caused by selective thawing of ground ice or permafrost -- has already been documented in some areas (Osterkamp et al. 2000; Yoshikawa and Hinzman 2003), as have the northward movement of permafrost zone (Halsey et al. 1995) and other changes (Serreze et al. 2000; Jorgensen et al. 2001). In forested areas underlain by permafrost, disturbances that reduce canopy cover enhance the rate of permafrost degradation. The hydrology of the boreal region will also change because of the increased precipitation and the decrease in the strongly seasonal patterns of runoff (IPCC 2001). Peatlands may be adversely affected because of increased evapotranspiration (e.g., Pastor et al. 2003). There are likely to be 46

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

major interactions between forest disturbances, such as fire, and hydrology, although the nature of these interactions is difficult to anticipate (e.g., Schindler et al. 1996). Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of conserving and maintaining the soil and water resources in northern forest ecosystems are summarized in Table 2.4. At the strategic level, forest managers may consider adopting practices that minimize the risk of sediment generation associated with roads and harvesting activities, re-assessing terrain stability maps in light of changing ground conditions associated with climate change and re-assessing river and stream peak flows and linking these to bridge and road design standards (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Mote et al. 2004; BCMOF 2006). At an operational level, adaptation options that may be considered include maintaining, decommissioning and rehabilitating roads to minimize sediment runoff due to increased precipitation and melting of permafrost, minimizing soil disturbance through lowimpact harvesting activities, minimizing the density of permanent road network to maximize productive forest area, limiting harvesting operations to the winter to minimize road construction and soil disturbance, avoiding the construction of roads in terrain prone to landslides where increased precipitation and melting of permafrost may increase the hazard of slope failure and examining the suitability of current road construction standards and stream crossings to ensure they adequately mitigate the potential impacts on infrastructure, fish, and potable water of changes in timing and volume of peak flows (Spittlehouse and Stewart, 2003; IPCC 2000; Mote et al. 2003; BCMOF 2006).

2.5.5

Maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles

Boreal forests store 200 to 500 gigatons of carbon or 15–30% of the carbon stored in the terrestrial biosphere, an amount that could increase the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by as much as 50% if it were released by climate warming (Goulden et al. 1998; ACIA 2004). Most of this soil carbon is found in seasonally and perennially frozen soils, particularly in deep layers, about 40 to 80 centimeters below the surface, where the ground remains frozen for most or all of the year (Goulden et al. 1998). While boreal forests contain some of the world’s largest land-based stores of carbon (ACIA 2004), the carbon balance in these forests is strongly influenced by disturbances (Weber and Flannigan 1997; Apps and Marsden 2000; Conard et al. 2002). Forest management activities can have substantial impacts on the role of forests in the carbon cycle since carbon stored in forests can be easily transferred to the atmosphere through 47

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

human or natural disturbances (CCFM 2006). Forest industries consume a large amount of energy in harvesting, transporting, and converting timber into products. Therefore, maintenance of forest contributions to global carbon cycles is an essential element of sustainable management of the boreal forest (Montréal Process Working Group 1999). Even where forest managers are working within a forest management area where carbon removals by harvesting and sinks from tree growth are in balance, carbon storage can decrease for two reasons: 1) disturbances will shift the age class structure towards younger forests, or 2) the continued aging in the absence of disturbance resulting in older forests characterized by slower growth rates and less of a potential to sequester carbon (Apps and Marsden 2000). The role of boreal forests as either a net sink or source of carbon is determined largely by changes in large-scale disturbance regimes such as forest fires and insect outbreaks, and to a lesser extent by harvesting (Apps and Marsden 2000; Garcia-Conzalo et al. 2007). Increased forest disturbances due to insect outbreaks are almost certain to result from climate warming (Fleming et al. 2002; ACIA 2004). When large numbers of trees die due to insect disturbance, they are no longer contributing to reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon dioxide into living wood. In addition, climate change is projected to increase the frequency, extent, and severity of forest fires, reduce the mean fire return intervals, shift the age class distributions toward younger forests, and decrease the terrestrial carbon stored in the boreal forest (Rupp et al. 2002; Bhatti et al. 2003). The area burned by forest fires has already more than doubled in western North America over the past 30 years (ACIA 2004), and is forecast to increase by as much as 80% over the next 100 years (Stocks et al. 1998; Weber and Stocks 1998; Flannigan et al. 2005). In addition, drought-stress may be an important factor limiting carbon uptake in a large portion of the North American boreal forest (Barber et al. 2000). Table 2.5 summarizes strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles. At the strategic level, forest managers may consider adopting a policy to minimize the risk of the forest ecosystem becoming a net source of carbon, identifying forested areas that can be managed to enhance carbon uptake, identifying areas that may be suitable for afforestation, identifying areas were forests have been degraded and can be rehabilitated and where deforestation may avoided (IPCC 2000; Parker et al. 2000; Spittlehouse 2002; White and Kurz 2003). At the operational level, adaptation options that may be considered to enhance forest 48

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

growth and the ability of forests to sequester carbon include fertilization, modifying the intensity and/or timing of thinning practices and/or rotation length, minimizing the density of the permanent road network and/or decommissioning and rehabilitating roads (IPCC 2000; Kellomaki et al. 2005; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003). Forest managers may also decrease the impact of disturbances on carbon stocks through pest management and fire management, minimizing soil disturbance through low impact harvesting activities, enhancing forest recovery after disturbance and by increasing the use of forests for biomass energy (IPCC 2000; BCMOF 2006; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Wheaton 2001; Noss 2001).

2.5.6

Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socioeconomic benefits

The Montréal Process requires that forests be managed to sustain the flow of social and economic goods and services over the long term (Montréal Process Working Group 1999). Economic benefits include timber, non-timber forest products, water, and tourism. Other significant benefits include those that are not measurable in monetary terms but are highly valued by society nonetheless such as cultural, spiritual, wildlife, recreation, aesthetics, and wilderness values. Many social and economic consequences will flow from the biophysical impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems. Because changes in climate conditions affect forest productivity, the ability of forests to supply goods and services is in turn affected (Gitay et al. 2001). Such impacts will affect forest companies, aboriginal peoples, landowners, consumers, governments and the tourism industry (Hauer et al. 1999). The magnitude of social and economic impacts will depend on five factors: (1) the rate and magnitude of climate change; (2) the response of forest ecosystems to climate change; (3) the sensitivity of communities to the impacts of climate change and to the policies introduced to address climate change; (4) the economic characteristics of the affected communities; and (5) the adaptive capacity of the affected group (van Kooten 1995; Hauer 2001). As forests play a vital economic and cultural role in many aboriginal communities in the boreal forest, aboriginal groups have expressed great concern about the potential for climate change to affect the sustainability of their communities (Mike 2001; Lemmen and Warren 2004). The ability of a society and its economy to adapt to climate change will depend not only on the magnitude of the direct and indirect impacts but also on the capacity of the society to adapt to the changes (Cohen 1997; Chapin et al. 2003). Adaptive capacity is the ability of a system to adjust its characteristics (or its behaviour) in order to expand its coping 49

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

range under existing climate variability or future climate conditions; it is a reflection of the resources available for adaptation, as well as the ability to use these resources effectively in the pursuit of adaptation (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried 2005). Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining and enhancing long term multiple socioeconomic benefits to meet the needs of societies are summarized in Table 2.6. At the strategic level, adaptation options that may be considered include conducting vulnerability assessments in anticipation of variability and change, diversifying the forest economy (e.g. dead wood product markets, value added products, non-timber forest products), diversifying the regional economy (non-forest based), enhancing the capacity to undertake integrated assessments of system vulnerabilities at various scales, establishing objectives for the future forest under climate change, assessing the ability of forest policies and institutions to achieve social objectives under climate change, including risk management in management rules and forest plans, and conducting an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions produced by internal operations (Chapin et al. 2004; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; BCMOF 2006; Johnston et al. 2006; Ohlson et al. 2005; Kellomaki et al. 2005; Spittlehouse 2005; Venevsky 2006). At the operational level, adaptation options that may be considered include fostering learning and innovation, conducting research to determine when and where to implement adaptive responses, encouraging societal adaptation, enhancing dialogue amongst stakeholder groups to establish priorities for action on climate change adaptation, modifying wood processing technology, increasing awareness about the potential impact of climate change in the fire regime, encouraging proactive actions with regards to fuels management and community protection, protecting higher value areas from fire through “firesmart” techniques, and harvesting timber from salvage logging of fire or insect disturbed stands (Chapin et al. 2004; Johnston et al. 2006; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; BCMOF 2006).

2.5.7

Legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management

Legal, institutional and economic frameworks facilitate the conservation and sustainable management of forests. While legal and institutional frameworks may be external to the forest itself, they support efforts to conserve, maintain or enhance one or more of the conditions, attributes, functions and benefits of forest ecosystems reflected by the Montréal Process criteria 50

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

(Montréal Process Working Group 1999). For example, laws, regulations and guidelines may facilitate the implementation best management practices, provide opportunities for public participation in forest management decision-making, require monitoring and reporting on indicators of sustainable forest management, and support research aimed at improving forest management activities, etc. Such laws, regulations and guidelines are facilitated, enabled and/or enforced by institutions. Institutions give rise to social practices, assign roles to participants in these practices, and govern interactions among occupants of those roles (Young 2002). In some circumstances, the legal, institutional and economic framework for forest management may no longer be relevant in the context of climate change. Policies may lack the flexibility that is required to develop, discuss and implement adaptive responses, or their static nature may actually enhance the vulnerability of forests and forest dependent communities to climate change (Peterson and Johnson 1995). Furthermore, policies may not provide the incentives necessary to engage forest managers in developing adequate responses to climate change. Table 2.7 summarizes climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of ensuring the appropriate legal, institutional and economic framework is in place for forest conservation and sustainable management. At the strategic level, adaptation options include: providing long term tenures, evaluating the adequacy of existing monitoring networks for tracking the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems; practicing adaptive management to ensure management activities and plans are continually modified as new information is gained; relaxing rules governing the movement of seed stocks from one area to another; developing flexible forest management plans and policies that are capable of responding to climate change, relaxing rules governing the movement of seed stocks from one area to another; developing forest management plans that reduce vulnerability of forest and forest dependent communities to climate change; supporting research on climate change; supporting knowledge exchange, technology transfer, capacity building and information sharing on climate change; removing barriers and develop incentives to adapt to climate change; and providing incentives and remove barriers to enhancing carbon sinks and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Spittlehouse 2005; BCMOF 2006; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Johnstone et al. 2006; Chapin et al. 2004; Kellomaki et al. 2005). At the operational level, adaptation options include: measuring, monitoring and reporting on indicators if climate change and sustainable forest management to determine the state of the forest and identify when critical 51

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

thresholds are reached; incorporating new knowledge about the future climate and forest vulnerability into forest management plans and policies; involving the public in an assessment of forest management adaptation options; supporting research, knowledge exchange, technology transfer, capacity building and information sharing; and providing opportunities for forest management activities to be included in carbon trading systems (e.g. as outlined in Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol).

2.6

EVALUATING ADAPTATION OPTIONS

Faced with a large number of different options, a manager may be challenged to deciding which to adopt. In some cases, the complexities of making such choices when faced with a large number of uncertainties may result in no choices being made and the status quo being maintained. Other options may be taken by default. It is not possible to make an assessment here of the best options to take, as every forest area has its own unique combination of environmental, social, economic and cultural conditions. Instead, this section examines potential methods by which such choices might be reached for a specific area and timeframe. The evaluation of management options may be carried out for two reasons: 1) to determine when and where adaptation options should be implemented; and 2) to assess the performance of adaptation options in enabling management objectives to be achieved after they have been implemented.

2.6.1

Evaluating adaptation options to determine when and where they should be implemented

Structured decision-making provides a useful framework to assess when and where a particular adaptation option may be suitable to include in a strategic plan or in an operational plan. The crucial steps in a structured decision-making are the development of comprehensive objectives, an assessment of current and future vulnerabilities, the consideration of reasonable alternatives, an understanding of consequences based on available information, and the implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of management actions (Figure 2.2). Additional information on the application of a structured decision-making approach to climate change adaptation in the forest sector can be found in Ohlson et al. (2005).

52

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

FIGURE 2.2: A structured decision-making approach for evaluating the regional appropriateness of various climate change adaptation options. Source: Adapted from Ohlson et al. (2005).

Some of the adaptation options identified in Tables 2.1 to 2.7 may be appropriate to implement in some areas but not in others. Depending on factors such as the magnitude, rate and location of climate change, management objectives, social acceptability and economic feasibility (all of which may vary from place to place), the choice of adaptation options to implement will vary. For example, in some areas, a particular adaptation option may not economically feasible whereas in other areas, this may be overshadowed by the importance of conserving or protecting a particular value that is at risk from climate change thereby favouring its implementation at any cost. In addition, many of the adaptation options listed in Tables 2.1 to 2.7 are conflicting with one another. The application of a structured decision-making approach to an evaluation of adaptation options can be a useful tool to facilitate the type of dialogue that needs to take place to resolve these issues. A recent study applied a structured decision-making approach to an evaluation of forest management adaptation options using the framework put forth in this paper (Ogden and Innes 2007). In this study, forest practitioners were surveyed for their perceptions on the importance of 53

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

implementing the alternative adaptation options suggested in Tables 2.1-2.7 to achieving sustainable management of the boreal forest in northern Canada. The survey revealed a diversity of opinions rather than a consensus. Some of the practitioners involved in this study preferred adaptation options that adapted social and economic systems to ecological change while others preferred adapting ecosystems to meet social and economic needs. Some had a preference for adaptation options that facilitate ‘natural’ ecosystem responses to climate change while others advocated options that are akin to engineering resistance to ecological change; some favoured an active approach to adaptation while others favoured more passive approaches. Therefore, climate change appears to alter how trade-offs in social, economic and environmental dimensions of forest management activities are perceived (Ogden and Innes 2007). Similar to planning for sustainable forest management, climate change adaptation planning needs find the most appropriate balance between fundamental ecological, economic and social objectives (Ogden and Innes 2007; Ohlson et al. 2005). Often, these objectives are reflected as values in regional forest management planning processes. Therefore, efforts to determine when and where adaptation options should be implemented within a managed forest context would benefit from being carried out at the scale of a forest management unit where regionally-defined objectives for forest management have been identified and a regional assessment of current and future vulnerabilities to climate change has been completed (Ogden and Innes 2007). Alternative adaptation options may then be characterized according to how well they may support or hinder the realization of management objectives in light of climate change, should they be able to be realized at all. The irreducible uncertainties associated with climate change also emphasize the need to identify robust management options – those that are likely to perform well across a range of potential future scenarios (Ogden and Innes 2007; Lempert et al. 2003).

2.6.2

Evaluating the performance of adaptation options once they have been implemented

For both strategic and operational plans, evaluation is necessary to assess the effectiveness of climate change adaptation efforts in maintaining the desired condition and state of the forest. Guidance for how to assess the effectiveness of forest management plans in incorporating climate change adaptation considerations does exist. The seven criteria for sustainable forest management developed in the Montréal Process have been further defined by 67 associated indicators through the work of the Montréal Process Working Group (1999). The indicators – aspects of the criteria that can be identified or described – are quantitative or qualitative variables 54

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

that can be measured or described and which, when observed periodically, demonstrate trends. The indicators relate specifically to forest conditions, attributes or functions, and to the values or the benefits associated with the environmental and socio economic goods and services that forests provide. When used in combination with clear targets and thresholds, indicators can be used to gauge the effectiveness of management activities in achieving management objectives, and can signal when an alternative management response may be warranted (Hickey and Innes 2005; Siry et al. 2005).Criteria and indicator reporting is becoming commonplace across the boreal as member countries uphold commitments made through the Montréal Process and its European equivalent. In addition, most forest certification systems require criteria and indicator reporting and some systems are also exploring additional ways in which the success of efforts taken to adapt to climate change may be evaluated. One of the greatest challenges in incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management plans is the reality of uncertainty. Uncertainty may be explicitly addressed through the periodic and systematic evaluation of the performance of adaptation options as well as by instituting adaptive management (Ohlson et al. 2005). Adaptive management identifies uncertainties and establishes methodologies to test hypotheses concerning those uncertainties; it uses management as a tool not only to change the system but to learn about the system (Holling 1978; Holling 2001). To ensure that management objectives are being met, adaptive management requires that the effects of treatments and the outcomes of decisions be continually monitored and utilized to modify management practices on a continuing basis. As such, it provides a mechanism to understand better the potential uncertainties associated with the management of forest ecosystems under conditions of climate change (Folke et al. 2004). Adaptive management is an often cited in forest management plans (Raivio et al., 2001), but in reality, this is passive adaptive management (i.e. “learning by doing”), and not the active, science-based approach advocated by Holling (1978), Folke et al. (2004) and others.

2.7

CONCLUSION

It is extremely important for forest managers to begin to include climate considerations in their strategic and operational plans yet, to date, there is little evidence that many are taking a proactive approach to the issue. However, there is evidence of an increasing awareness of the potential issues, particularly in Europe. Despite improvements in the understanding of potential 55

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

effects, the uncertainties associated with climate change have discouraged forest managers from incorporating climate change into management plans. In the boreal forest, the objectives of adaptation to climate change are consistent with the criteria for sustainable forest management as defined by the Montréal Process, and the criteria provide a useful framework for examining potential adaptation strategies although at first sight they may appear more oriented to maintaining current forest conditions. In the long term, and in the light of eventual climate impacts, the implementation of climate change adaptation options in both strategic and operational plans will be necessary to realize sustainable forest management. The choice of management options will depend on the local conditions and overall management objectives for a forest area. Consequently, it is not possible to make generic recommendations about management options. Instead, the options that are available to a manager should be considered when preparing a management plan, and the structured decision-making approach appears to offer a suitable way to do this. Given the very large uncertainties, managers will need to monitor the effectiveness of their actions in maintaining the values that they consider important, and adaptive management techniques provide a suitable methodology to do this.

56

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

TABLE 2.1: Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of conserving biological diversity of northern forest ecosystems. Management objective: conserve biological diversity of northern forest ecosystems Climate Change Impact Alteration of plant and animal distribution

Forest Management Planning Level Strategic

Operational

Increased frequency and severity of forest disturbance

Strategic Operational

Habitat invasions by non native species

Strategic Operational

Adaptation Option Minimize fragmentation of habitat and maintain connectivity Maintain representative forest types across environmental gradients in reserves Protect primary forests (in the boreal forest, these are defined as a forest largely undisturbed by human activities) Protect climate refugia at multiple scales Identify and protect functional groups and keystone species Provide buffer zones for adjustment of reserve boundaries Protect most highly threatened species ex situ Develop a gene management program to maintain diverse gene pools Create artificial reserves or arboreta to preserve rare species Practice low intensity forestry and prevent conversion to plantations Assist changes in the distribution of species by introducing them to new areas Maintain natural fire regimes Allow forests to regenerate naturally following disturbance; prefer natural regeneration wherever appropriate Maintain integrity of ecosystems by avoiding their disruption by non-native species Control invasive species

References Noss 2001; Peters 1990 Noss 2001; Holling 2001; Carey 2003 Noss 2001 Noss 2001 Noss 2001; Holling 2001 Noss 2001 Noss 2001 Noss 2001; Parker et al. 2000 Parker et al. 2000 Noss 2001 Parker et al. 2000 Noss 2001 Kellomaki et al. 2005 Noss 2001; Kellomaki et al. 2005 Noss 2001; Kellomaki et al. 2005

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Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

TABLE 2.2: Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining the productive capacity of northern forest ecosystems. Management objective: maintain productive capacity of northern forest ecosystems Climate Change Impact Increased frequency and severity of forest disturbance

Forest Management Planning Level Strategic

Operational

Decreased forest growth

Strategic Operational

Species are no longer suited to site conditions

Adaptation Option Allocate forest landbase using a TRIAD approach to landscape zonation to identify areas that may be managed for timber production where high intensity plantation forestry may be practiced Assist in tree regeneration Apply silvicultural techniques that maintain a diversity of age stands and mix of species Actively manage forest pests Adapt silvicultural rules and practices to ensure the growth rates of trees is maintained or enhanced Practice high intensity forestry in areas managed for timber production to promote growth of commercial tree species and where the forested landbase is allocated using a TRIAD approach to landscape zonation Include climate variables in growth and yield models in order to have more specific predictions on the future development of forests Enhance forest growth through forest fertilization Employ vegetation control techniques to offset drought Pre commercial thinning or selectively remove suppressed, damaged or poor quality individuals to increase resource availability to the remaining trees Plant genetically modified species and identify more suitable genotypes

Strategic

Adapt silvicultural rules and practices to maintain optimum species-site relationships

Operational

Underplant with other species or genotypes where the current advanced regeneration is unacceptable as a source for the future forest Design and establish a long term multi species / seedlot trial to test improved genotypes across a diverse array of climatic and latitudinal environments Reduce the rotation age followed by planting to speed the establishment of better adapted forest types

Invasions by non native species

Strategic Operational

Relax rules governing the movement of seed stocks from one area to another; examine options for modifying seed transfer limits and systems Adopt policies to ensure the disruption of ecosystems by non-native species is avoided Control those undesirable plant species that will become more competitive in a changed climate

References Innes and Nitschke 2005

Lemmen and Warren 2004 Biringer 2003 Biringer 2003 IPCC 2000 Innes and Nitschke 2005

Kellomaki et al. 2005 IPCC 2000 Parker et al. 2000 Smith et al. 1997; Papadopol 2000; Kellomaki et al. 2005 Gitay et al. 2001; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Kellomaki et al. 2005 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Kellomaki et al. 2005; BCMOF 2006 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003 BCMOF 2006 Lindner et al. 2000; Parker et al. 2000 ; Kellomaki et al. 2005 Kellomaki et al. 2005; BCMOF 2006

Parker et al. 2000; Kellomaki et al. 2005

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Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

TABLE 2.3: Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining the health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems. Management objective: maintain health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems Climate Change Impact Increased frequency and severity of insect and disease disturbance

Decreased health and vitality of forest ecosystems due to cumulative impacts of multiple stressors

Forest Management Planning Level Strategic Operational

Strategic

Operational

Adaptation Option Adjust harvest schedules to harvest stands most vulnerable to insect outbreaks Plant genotypes that are tolerant of drought, insects and/ or disease Reduce disease losses through sanitation cuts that remove infected trees Breed for pest resistance and for a wider tolerance to a range of climate stresses and extremes in specific genotypes Used prescribed burning to reduce fire risk and reduce forest vulnerability to insect outbreaks Employ silvicultural techniques to promote forest productivity and increase stand vigour (i.e. partial cutting or thinning) to lower the susceptibility to insect attack Shorten the rotation length to decrease the period of stand vulnerability to damaging insects and diseases and to facilitate change to more suitable species Reduce non climatic stresses to enhance ability of ecosystems to respond to climate change by managing tourism, recreation and grazing impacts Reduce non climatic stresses to enhance ability of ecosystems to respond to climate change by regulating atmospheric pollutants Reduce non climatic stresses to enhance ability of ecosystems to respond to climate change by restoring degraded areas to maintain genetic diversity and promote ecosystem health Work with others to ensure that stressors outside the control of the forest manager (e.g., atmospheric pollution) are minimized Adopt a holistic management approach that balances timber and non-timber goods and services Maximize forest area by quickly regenerating any degraded areas

References Lemmen and Warren 2004 Farnum 1992; Namkoong 1984; Kellomaki et al. 2005 Smith et al. 1997 Namkoong 1984; Wang et al. 1995; Kellomaki et al. 2005 Lemmen and Warren 2004 Biringer 2003; Dale et al. 2001; Gottschalk 1995; Wargo and Harrington 1991 Lindner et al. 2000 Biringer 2003 Biringer 2003 Biringer 2003

Biringer 2003; Wheaton 2001

59

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

TABLE 2.4: Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of conserving and maintaining the soil and water resources in northern forest ecosystems. Management objective: conserve and maintain soil and water resources in northern forest ecosystems Climate Change Impact Increased soil erosion due to increased precipitation and melting of permafrost

Increased terrain instability due to extreme precipitation events or melting of permafrost More/earlier snow melt resulting in changes in the timing of peak flow and volume in streams

Forest Management Planning Level Strategic Operational

Strategic Operational Strategic Operational

Adaptation Option Adopt practices that minimize the risk of sediment generation associated with roads and harvesting activities Maintain, decommission and rehabilitate roads to minimize sediment runoff due to increased precipitation and melting of permafrost Minimize soil disturbance through low impact harvesting activities Minimize density of permanent road network and decommission and rehabilitate roads to maximize productive forest area Limit harvesting operations to the winter to minimize road construction and soil disturbance Re-assess terrain stability maps in light of changing ground conditions associated with climate change Avoid constructing roads in landslide prone terrain where increased precipitation and melting of permafrost may increase hazard of slope failure. Re-assess river and stream peak flows and link to bridge and road design standards Examining the suitability of current road construction standards and stream crossings to ensure they adequately mitigate the potential impacts on infrastructure, fish, and potable water of changes in timing and volume of peak flows

References Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003 IPCC 2000 BCMOF 2006

BCMOF 2006 BCMOF 2006 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Mote et al. 2003 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Mote et al. 2003

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Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

TABLE 2.5: Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles. Management objective: maintain northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles Climate Change Impact Decrease in forest sinks and increased CO2 emissions from northern forested ecosystems due to declining forest growth and productivity

Decrease in forest sinks and increased CO2 emissions from northern forested ecosystems due to increased frequency and severity of forest disturbance

Forest Management Planning Level Strategic Operational

Strategic

Operational

Adaptation Option Minimize risk of the forest ecosystem becoming a net source of carbon Enhance forest growth and carbon sequestration through forest fertilization Modify thinning practices (timing, intensity) and rotation length to increase growth and turnover of carbon Minimize density of permanent road network to maximize forest sinks Decommission and rehabilitate roads to maximize forest sinks Identify forested areas that can be managed to enhance carbon uptake Identify areas that may be suitable for afforestation Identify areas where forests have been degraded and can be rehabilitated Identify areas were where deforestation may avoided Reduce forest degradation and avoid deforestation Decrease impact of natural disturbances on carbon stocks by managing fire and forest pests Minimize soil disturbance through low impact harvesting activities Enhance forest recovery after disturbance Increase the use of forests for biomass energy Practice low intensity forestry and prevent conversion to plantations

References IPCC 2000 IPCC 2000 Kellomaki et al. 2005 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003 Parker et al. 2000; Spittlehouse 2002; White and Kurz 2003 IPCC 2000 IPCC 2000 IPCC 2000 IPCC 2000 IPCC 2000; BCMOF 2006; Lemmen and Warren 2004 IPCC 2000 Wheaton 2001 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003 Noss 2001

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Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

TABLE 2.6: Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of maintaining and enhancing long term multiple socio economic benefits to meet the needs of societies. Management objective: maintain and enhance long term multiple socio economic benefits to meet the needs of societies Climate Change Impact Decreased socioeconomic resilience

Forest Management Planning Level Strategic

Operational

Increased frequency and severity of forest disturbance

Strategic

Operational

Adaptation Option Anticipate variability and change and conduct vulnerability assessments at a regional scale Diversify forest economy (e.g. dead wood product markets, value added products, non-timber forest products) Diversify regional economy (non forest based) Enhance capacity to undertake integrated assessments of system vulnerabilities at various scales Establish objectives for the future forest under climate change Review forest policies, forest planning, forest management approaches and institutions to assess our ability to achieve social objectives under climate change (e.g. conservation objectives) Foster learning and innovation and conduct research to determine when and where to implement adaptive responses Encourage societal adaptation (e.g. encourage changes in expectations) Develop technology to use altered wood quality and tree species composition, modify wood processing technology Make choice about the preferred tree species composition for the future Enhance dialogue amongst stakeholder groups to establish priorities for action on climate change adaptation in the forest sector. Include risk management in management rules and forest plans and develop an enhanced capacity for risk management Conduct an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions produced by internal operations Increase awareness about the potential impact of climate change on the fire regime and encourage proactive actions in regard to fuels management and community protection Protect higher value areas from fire through firesmart techniques Increase amount of timber from salvage logging of fire or insect disturbed stands

References Chapin et al. 2004; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; BCMOF 2006; Venevsky 2006

Johnston et al. 2006; Venevsky 2006 Kellomaki et al. 2005 Johnston et al. 2006; Spittlehouse 2005 Chapin et al. 2004; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; BCMOF 2006 Johnston et al. 2006; Spittlehouse 2005 Kellomaki et al. 2005 ; Spittlehouse 2005 Kellomaki et al. 2005; Spittlehouse 2005 Lemmen and Warren 2004 Kellomaki et al. 2005; Ohlson et al. 2005 ; Spittlehouse 2005 ; Johnston et al. 2006; Venevsky 2006 BCMOF 2006 BCMOF 2006

Lemmen and Warren 2004 Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003

62

Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest

TABLE 2.7: Strategic and operational level climate change adaptation options that may be considered to achieve the management objective of ensuring the appropriate legal, institutional and economic framework is in place for forest conservation and sustainable management. Management objective: ensure the appropriate legal, institutional and economic framework is in place for forest conservation and sustainable management Climate Change Impact Forest management plans and policies lack the flexibility that is required to respond to climate change

Forest Management Planning Level Strategic

Operational

Forest management plans and policies enhance the vulnerability of forests and forest dependent communities to climate change

Strategic

Operational

Forest management policies and incentives do not encourage adaptation to climate change

Strategic

Operational

Adaptation Option Provide long term tenures to encourage long term considerations within short term decisions Evaluate the adequacy of existing environmental and biological monitoring networks for tracking the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems, identify inadequacies and gaps in these networks and identify options to address them Practice adaptive management. Adaptive management rigorously combines management, research, monitoring, and means of changing practices so that credible information is gained and management activities are modified by experience

References

BCMOF 2006

Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003

Relax rules governing the movement of seed stocks from one area to another Development of flexible forest management plans and policies that are capable of responding to climate change Measure, monitor and report on indicators of climate change and sustainable forest management to determine the state of the forest and identify when critical thresholds are reached Development of forest management plans that reduce vulnerability of forest and forest dependent communities to climate change

Kellomaki et al. 2005

Support research on climate change, climate impacts, and climate change adaptations and increase resources for basis climate change impacts and adaptation science Support knowledge exchange, technology transfer, capacity building and information sharing on climate change; maintain or improve capacity for communications and networking Incorporate new knowledge about the future climate and forest vulnerability into forest management plans and policies Involve the public in an assessment of forest management adaptation options Remove barriers and develop incentives to adapt to climate change. Provide incentives and remove barriers to enhancing carbon sinks and reducing greenhouse gas emissions Provide opportunities for forest management activities to be included in carbon trading systems (e.g. as outlined in Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol)

Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Johnston et al. 2006

Spittlehouse 2005

Chapin et al. 2004; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; BCMOF 2006

Lemmen and Warren 2004; Chapin et al. 2004; Johnston et al. 2006 Spittlehouse 2005 Lemmen and Warren 2004

BCMOF 2006

63

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2.8

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3.0

Perspectives of Forest Practitioners on Climate Change Adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada3

3.1

SUMMARY

Forestry practitioners in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada were asked to complete a questionnaire examining the likely impacts of climate change on forest sector sustainability and adaptation options to climate change. Practitioners were asked to self-assess their knowledge on various aspects of climate change and ranked their level of knowledge as generally only poor to fair, despite past educational efforts in this area. Changes in the intensity, severity or magnitude of forest insect outbreaks, changes in extreme weather events, and changes in the intensity, severity or magnitude of forest fires were the three impacts most frequently identified as having had an impact on sustainability. More than half of the respondents indicated that commodity prices, availability of timber, trade policies, environmental regulations, and the ability to secure needed capital as presently having more of a negative impact on sustainability than climate change. The assessment of 65 potential adaptation options was structured according to the criteria of the Montreal Process. The majority of respondents considered the goals of adaptation to be synonymous with the criteria of sustainable forest management, indicating the Montreal Process criteria provide a suitable framework for assessing adaptation options in the forest sector. The intensity, severity and magnitude of forest insect outbreaks under future climate conditions, forest growth and productivity, precipitation, climate variability and the intensity, severity and magnitude of forest fires were ranked as the most important areas where further information would be of assistance to decision-making.

3.2

INTRODUCTION

There is mounting evidence of the high sensitivity of northern forested ecosystems to climate change. In recent decades, relatively minor climate changes (in comparison to what is projected to take place over the next century) have triggered significant ecological responses (Parmesean and Yohe 2003; Juday et al. 2005; Scholze et al. 2006; ACIA, 2004; Ogden, 2006). The boreal forest is expected to be one of the Earth’s ecosystems most affected by a changing climate (Gitay 3

This chapter has been published. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2007. Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada. Forestry Chronicle 83(4):557-569.

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Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

et al. 2001; Houghton 2004). Northern forest-dependent communities are expected to be significantly impacted by these ecological changes because of their strong connections to forested ecosystems (Davidson et al. 2003). It is now widely accepted that climate change will pose increasing challenges to forest managers working to achieve sustainable forest management. To date, discussions around when, where and how to incorporate adaptation considerations into forest management and planning have been limited, despite the fact that forest managers are already reactively adapting to the impacts of climate change. In recent years, an appreciation of the need to explore proactive strategies to adapt to climate change in northern regions has increased, particularly since the release of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment in 2004. This is a positive development, as proactive approaches to adaptation are more likely to avoid or reduce damage than reactive responses (Easterling 2004). In general, planning for adaptation occurs primarily through government policy-making; when unplanned, adaptation tends to be triggered by unexpected changes in natural or human systems (Spanger-Siegfried and Dougherty 2005). In 2005, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) released a guidebook, targeted at practitioners, that provides detailed technical guidance on developing and implementing proactive adaptation strategies, policies and measures to cope with the impacts of climate change (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried 2005). The guidebook suggests practical approaches to the steps involved in adaptation, including scoping and designing an adaptation project, assessing current vulnerability, assessing future climate risks, and formulating an adaptation strategy. The scoping and designing of an adaptation project requires clear goals and objectives. Articulating goals and objectives can help planning processes to be more successful in addressing long-term concerns through short-term decisions (Gregory, McDaniels and Fields 2001). Assessing current vulnerability involves developing an understanding of factors that determine current vulnerability and how successful efforts are to adapt to current climate risks (Downing and Patwardhan 2005). Assessments of future climate risks are based on scenarios of future climate, an understanding of potential range of future conditions that could occur under different climate scenarios, and relating these to the desired future condition (Jones and Boer 2005). Formulating an adaptation strategy involves developing a set of alternative adaptation options and measures in response to current vulnerability and future risks, and evaluating these against management objectives (Ohlson et al., 2005).

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Public perceptions of climate change have been widely documented and have been the focus of considerable research in recent years (e.g., McDaniels et al. 1996; Lazo et al. 2000; Berk and Fovell 2004; Bord et al. 1998; O’Connor et al. 1999). Expert judgments have been used to forecast and assess probabilities and risks and have provided useful insights for decision-makers, particularly in situations characterized by complexity and deep uncertainty (e.g., Morgan et al. 2001; Lazo et al. 2000; Clemen and Winkler 1999; Morgan et al. 2006). While some efforts have been made to document the perspectives of members of the professional and practitioner communities on climate risks (Williamson et al., 2005; Stedman 2004), research in this area has received considerably less attention. A notable gap is research to document the perceptions of forest practitioners on priorities and mechanisms for adaptation. Forest practitioners play a critical role in adaptation planning. Practitioners are well-informed, often highly-educated individuals whose employment or livelihood is tied to the forest sector (Williamson et al 2005). These individuals tend to be employed by key decision-making agencies or they may be stakeholders who are instrumental in driving forestry decision-making (Williamson et al 2005). Consequently, the perceptions of forest practitioners may be critically important in determining how climate change considerations are incorporated into forest management plans and policies. Documenting the perspectives of practitioners could therefore provide useful insights into the state of knowledge and practice on climate adaptation within the forest sector and the readiness of practitioners to engage in adaptive strategies (Williamson et al 2005). This paper describes the results of a survey that was conducted specifically to inform the Northern Chapter of the Canadian Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Assessment (National Assessment)4. As very little has been done to explore issues around adaptation in the northern forest sector in Canada, the intent of this project was to document the perspectives of northern forest practitioners as a preliminary step in addressing this gap. Practitioner perspectives were explored on the following research questions:

4

The National Assessment is being coordinated by the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Directorate at Natural Resources Canada. The purpose of the assessment is to ascertain the current state of knowledge regarding Canada’s vulnerability to climate change, to provide an up-to-date source of information that can be used to inform decision-making and policy development, to summarize what has been learned through research since the publication of the last national-scale assessment in 1998, and to identify any knowledge gaps that need to be addressed. The assessment is scheduled for release in 2007. More information about the assessment can be found at

http://www.adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/assess_e.php

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Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada



Do forest practitioners perceive climate change to be affecting the sustainability of the northern forest sector?



What factors do forest practitioners perceive to be contributing to the current vulnerability of the northern forest sector and/or forest dependent communities to climate change?



What are the goals of climate adaptation for the northern forest sector?



What is the perceived importance of alternative adaptation options to achieving these goals?



What additional climate change-related information would have the greatest influence on decision-making in the northern forest sector?

This paper is organized as follows. First, an overview of the northern forest sector is provided to help provide the context for this unique area. Then the methods employed in this project are discussed, including a summary of how practitioners were defined and identified, and how the survey was constructed. The results are then presented and discussed including the results of the participant self-assessment, and perceptions on sector vulnerabilities and sensitivities, options for adaptation, and knowledge gaps and research needs. This is followed by a discussion on the research questions explored in this paper. The paper concludes with recommendations including suggestions for further research and knowledge exchange.

3.3

THE NORTHERN FOREST SECTOR

For the purposes of this paper, the definition of ‘north’ used by the National Assessment was applied – the three northern territories. As Nunavut does not have an active forest sector, this assessment focused on the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

3.3.1 Yukon The Yukon is approximately 48.5 million hectares in size of which about 22.8 million hectares are forested (Natural Resources Canada 2005). Of the forested land base, less than 30 per cent (or 81,000 km2) has tree cover that is of the species or size that might support timber harvesting activities (Government of Yukon 2006). The majority of merchantable forests in the Yukon are located south of the 61st parallel. Yukon forests are classified as being 79% softwood, 2% hardwood and 19% mixed wood (Natural Resources Canada 2005). The cultural, spiritual, social 77

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

and economic well being of many Yukon First Nations is dependent on a healthy forest ecosystem, as the gathering of food and the exercise of cultural practices are considered to be important uses of the forest land. The low productivity of the forest and higher operating costs because of the economies of scale associated with a relatively small industry are important considerations in the development of forest management plans and the forest industry. Currently, the forest industry in the Yukon is dominated by salvage harvest opportunities. In 2005, over 300,000 m3 in timber permits were issued to salvage wood from areas that were burned during the record fire season of 2004, when over 1.8 million hectares were burned. In 2006, a request for proposals was issued to salvage 1,000,000 m3 of wood from the spruce bark beetle infestation in the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory in the southwest Yukon. As a result, the contribution of harvested wood products to the Yukon economy, estimated at one million dollars in 2004 (Natural Resource Canada 2005), is forecast to increase significantly in the coming years as harvest levels in the southern Yukon could exceed 300,000 m3/year (Government of Yukon 2006).

3.3.2

Northwest Territories

Eight percent of Canada’s entire forested area, about 33.35 million hectares, is found in the Northwest Territories (NWT). NWT forests are classified as being 53% softwood, and 47% mixedwood (Natural Resources Canada 2005). As in the Yukon, forests in the NWT have been utilized for thousands of years, and forests and forest-based resources played an important role in the economy of pre-contact First Nations. It is only within the last two hundred years that modern trade and commerce in forest products has played a role. Prior to this period, the indigenous people engaged in more traditional forms of trade and barter for wood and wood products (GNWT 2006). The level of harvesting in the NWT was locally significant, but was relatively small in relation to the total forest resources in the Territory. The estimated contribution of forest products to the NWT economy was estimated at $70,000 in 2004, which is insignificant in comparison to the contribution of other resource-based activities, such as mining. However, this figure does not include the value of non-timber forest products or other products derived from the forest, nor does it include the non-market value of ecosystem services. The Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline project, should it proceed, is likely to create opportunities for expansion of the NWT forest sector. 78

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3.4

METHODOLOGY

A questionnaire survey was used to document the views of individual practitioners in the northern forest sector. The intent of the questionnaire was to develop an understanding of the range and diversity of opinions about climate change and adaptation. As group-based settings can hinder the expression of extreme views, the advantage of using methods that do not attempt to seek consensus and do not provide a mechanism for iterative communication is that they document a range of perspectives unhampered by social interactions (Morgan et al. 2006). The disadvantage is that they do not allow for the opportunity for mutual learning which may be more beneficial in the long-run. Below is a description of the sampling technique, questionnaire design, questionnaire delivery and the non-response survey. A copy of the questionnaire may be viewed in Appendix A.

3.4.1

The forest practitioner target group

For the purposes of this project, a forest practitioner was defined as an individual who is involved in any aspect of the management and planning of forest-based resources in the northern territories. This definition was purposefully broad in order to encompass those with social, economic and/or environmental expertise, as well as those with local, traditional and/or scientific knowledge of forest-based resources. We acknowledge that the definition of ‘forest practitioner’ applied in this study may differ from elsewhere in Canada where forestry professionals are defined by provincial legislation as individuals who meet specific academic and employment experience requirements. In the northern territories, such legislation does not exist. In addition, land claim agreements have established policies requiring the incorporation of local and traditional knowledge into natural resource management and planning processes and environmental assessments of proposed developments. These systems of knowledge are not generally acknowledged by professional associations. Therefore, a more northern-relevant definition of forestry practitioner was adopted. In this study, northern forest practitioners were targeted that hold local knowledge and expertise of forest ecosystems and forest management policies within their geographical areas of practice. Practitioners included representatives of First Nation, territorial and federal governments, co-management organizations, industry, nongovernmental organizations, and selected University-based researchers with northern forestry expertise.

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3.4.2

Non-probability sampling

Non-probability sampling techniques were used to identify forest practitioners since the small size of the forest practitioner population in the territories did not permit the kinds of probability samples used in large-scale social surveys. In some cases, it is appropriate to select a sample on the basis of the researcher’s own knowledge of the population and the purpose of the study. This sampling technique is called purposive or judgmental sampling (Babbie and Benaquisto 2002) and was the method used to identify practitioners for this study. A list of 135 northern forest practitioners – 85 from the Yukon and 50 from the NWT – was compiled from personal knowledge of the researcher and consultation with the Forestry Divisions of the Territorial Governments. In some cases First Nation governments designated their appropriate respondent based on the definition of forest practitioner that was provided.

3.4.3

Questionnaire design

The questionnaire consisted of four parts: •

Part A: Respondent information (8 items)



Part B: Current status, sector vulnerabilities and sensitivities (6 items)



Part C: Options for adaptation (8 items)



Part D: Knowledge gaps and research needs (2 items)

The questionnaire was designed to be self-administered. To reduce ambiguity, terminology was clearly defined, and consistent scales were used throughout. A description of each part of the questionnaire is provided below. 3.4.3.1 Part A: Respondent information Part A of the questionnaire gathered respondent information on key indicators about the experience and knowledge base of the practitioners, including their geographical area of expertise and the length of time the individual had been a practitioner in the northern forest sector. Practitioner perspectives on the state of knowledge of various aspects of climate change as they pertain to the northern forest sector were sought. Practitioners were also asked to selfassess their own knowledge in these same areas. Perceptions are formed as a result of personal experiences and by learning processes (Slovic 1987), and a number of approaches can be used to explore why perceptions vary amongst individuals (McDaniels et al., 1995, 1996). A detailed 80

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

examination of the causes of any underlying differences in opinions was outside the scope of this study. Rather, the focus of this study was on documenting the current range of opinions about climate change and adaptation to its impacts among the northern forest practitioner community.

3.4.3.2 Part B: Current status, sector sensitivities and vulnerabilities Part B of the questionnaire explored practitioner perspectives on the influence of various factors on the current status of forest sector sustainability, and the importance of these factors in relation to climate change. As a measure of sensitivity, practitioners were asked provide their perspectives on the extent to which a number of potential climate change impacts (e.g., increased forest fire frequency, changes in the treeline, etc.) are currently having an influence on sustainability. The selected list of climate change impacts was compiled from a number of literature reviews dealing with climate change impacts on forested ecosystems (ACIA 2004; Juday et al., 2005; IPCC, 2001; Lemmen and Warren, 2004). Practitioners were also asked to rank how various factors (e.g., lack of awareness, cumulative effects of resource developments, etc.) are contributing to current vulnerability. The factors that may have an influence on vulnerability that were ranked were compiled from a range of sources (ACIA 2004; IPCC 2001; Brooks et al. 2005; Burton 1997; Downing and Patwardhan 2005; Smit and Pilifosova 2003).

3.4.3.3 Part C: Goals and options for adaptation Part C of the questionnaire explored practitioner perspectives on the goals of climate adaptation for the northern forest sector, and the importance of alternative adaptation options to achieving these goals. As the principles and practice of sustainable forest management embody many of the activities that will be required to respond to the effects of climate change on forests (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003), we hypothesized that the goal of climate adaptation is synonymous with the achievement of sustainable forest management. Practitioners were first asked whether or not they agreed with this hypothesis. Then, practitioners were asked their opinion on the importance of a variety of adaptation options to achieve these goals in northern forest ecosystems. Adaptation options were compiled from a number of literature reviews dealing with climate change adaptation and forest management (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Noss 2001; Biringer 2003 ; Chapin et al. 2004; Gitay et al. 2001; IPCC 2001; Lemmen and Warren 2004). The adaptation options, numbering 65 in total, were then structured according to the seven criteria of sustainable management of boreal and temperate forests, as laid out in the Montreal Process, as outlined in Ogden and Innes (2007a). 81

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

The questionnaire sought perspectives on the perceived importance of the adaptation options in the context of three scenarios of climate change in the 2050s:‘no climate change’, a ‘low scenario of future climate change’, and a ‘high scenario of future climate change’ (Table 3.1). For the ‘no climate change’ scenario, respondents were asked to assume climate in 2050 would be essentially as it is today. This scenario was included to provide a baseline indication of the perceived importance of the adaptation options in a “business-as-usual” context. The ‘low’ and ‘high’ scenarios were derived from the 33 climate change scenarios available for the forested regions of northern territories west of 102°W5. The low, median and high scenarios represented the smallest, median and largest projected changes of the available scenarios (with respect to the 1961–1990 baseline period), respectively.

3.4.3.4 Part D: Knowledge gaps and research needs Part D of the questionnaire sought perspectives on what additional climate change-related information would have the greatest influence on decision-making in the northern forest sector. This information was sought as a means of identifying areas for further research targeted to decision-support.

3.4.4

Questionnaire delivery

Five practitioners pre-tested the questionnaire prior to its distribution. The purpose of the pre-test was to identify any potential ambiguous or leading questions. Pre-testers were asked to complete the questionnaire rather than just review it. Results from the pre-test were incorporated into the final questionnaire design. Pre-testers recommended some wording changes to reduce ambiguity of questions and also recommended that assistance be made available to participants if necessary due to the length of the survey. The questionnaire was delivered with assistance from staff at the Northern Climate ExChange and the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network. A letter explaining the nature of the project and how the results would be used was sent, along with the questionnaire, by mail and by email. The letter of introduction indicated that assistance was available to respondents to complete the survey. In some cases, respondents worked through the survey, or 5

The climate change scenarios are from those prepared for the National Assessment. More information about the assessment can be found at http://www.adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/assess_e.php.

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elements of it, with the researcher in a phone or in-person interview. In other cases, some respondents requested financial support to complete the survey, which was provided. Two follow-up mailings were sent to non-respondents to encourage their participation.

3.4.5

Non-response survey

A non-response survey was conducted to assess the robustness of the survey’s findings. The purpose of the survey was to determine if there was a difference in the responses between those who responded and those who did not. For example, it is possible that those practitioners who knew less about climate change chose not to respond to the survey. We constructed a follow-up survey that contained a subset of the questions from the original survey. This survey was circulated to a subset of the non-respondents. The results of this non-response survey were then compared to the results of the original survey.

3.5

RESULTS

A detailed report on the results of the questionnaire may be viewed in Appendix B. A summary of the key results is presented below.

3.5.1 Respondent information Thirty-four forest practitioners completed the questionnaire, a response rate of 25%. The questionnaire took, on average, 60-90 minutes to complete. The majority of respondents (54%) were employed by territorial government agencies. In the data, forest practitioners from the Yukon (82% of respondents) were better represented than that from the NWT (18% of respondents). However, nine individuals in the GNWT forestry office collaborated on a response. This response was counted as a single response in the analysis. Because of the relatively low number of responses from the different groups of forest practitioners (e.g., consultant, industry, government, academia), the data were merged into a single dataset for analysis. The sample size was also too small to explore differences in perspectives from practitioners in the Yukon and the NWT. A survey that documented the perceptions of 53 forestry professionals who attended a workshop on climate change risks to forest ecosystems and forest-based communities in British Columbia similarly reported on perceptions of the group as a whole (Williamson et al 2005).

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The majority of respondents (57%) indicated that they had less than 10 years of experience working as practitioners in the northern forest sector although, in some cases, this underrepresented their total number of years of experience. For example, some respondents indicated that they had drawn on local and/or traditional knowledge gained outside their work as a practitioner to complete the survey, while others indicated their opinions were based on their experience working as forest practitioners in more southerly Canadian jurisdictions. When respondents were asked to perform a self-assessment of their knowledge of various aspects of climate change as they pertain to the northern forest sector, they for the most part ranked their knowledge as being fair to poor. Their knowledge of 20th century climate change and projected climate change was greatest (85% and 79% fair to good, respectively), whereas knowledge of impacts received lower scores (56% – 85% poor to fair, depending on the area of impact). Knowledge of how to respond to the impacts of climate change received the lowest scores, with 44% indicating that their knowledge in this area was poor. Very few respondents indicated having an excellent knowledge of either climate change (0%) or its impacts (3%).

3.5.2

Current status, sector vulnerabilities and sensitivities

Respondents indicated their opinion on the extent to which 15 climate change impacts – identified in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA 2005) – have had an effect on the sustainability of the forest sector or forest-dependent communities in the northern territories in the past 20 years. All impacts were noted by some of the practitioners as having had an impact on sustainability. Changes in the intensity, severity or magnitude of forest insect outbreaks, changes in extreme weather events, and changes in the intensity, severity or magnitude of forest fires were the three impacts most frequently identified as having had an impact on sustainability. Changes in forest growth and productivity, changes in treeline, and changes in the availability of non-timber forest products were perceived by only a few practitioners to have had a significant effect on forest sector and/or community sustainability over the past 20 years. Respondents placed climate change in the context of other factors that may be having an impact on the sustainability of the northern forest sector or forest-dependent communities. While a number of climate change impacts were noted as having a negative impact on forest sector sustainability (as described above), forest practitioners generally perceived other factors to have a greater influence on sustainability. More than half of the respondents indicated that commodity prices, availability of timber, trade policies, environmental regulations, and the 84

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

ability to secure needed capital as presently having more of a negative impact on sustainability than climate change. Over 80% of respondents indicated that they expected the relative importance of these factors to change over the next 20 years. Many expressed the opinion that the relative influence of climate change on forest sector sustainability will increase in the coming years. Respondents provided their opinion on how a number of factors contribute to the current vulnerability of the northern forest sector and northern forest-dependent communities to climate change. In the questionnaire, the IPCC definition of vulnerability was referenced and is defined as the extent to which climate change may damage or harm a system, and depends on the sensitivity and ability of a system to adapt to new climatic conditions. The current level of awareness and understanding of climate change impacts, the current level of diversity of the forest economy and the cumulative effects of resource developments and other forces of change were the factors noted most frequently by practitioners as increasing the current vulnerability of the northern forest sector and northern forest-dependent communities. Surprisingly, the availability of financial resources to adapt to climate change was identified as a priority by only one respondent, and investments in research and innovation was not considered important by anyone.

3.5.3

Goals and options for adaptation

In 1994, the Montreal Process identified seven criteria of sustainable management of boreal and temperate forests. Respondents were asked to give their opinions on whether these criteria could also serve as the goals of climate change adaptation in the northern forest sector. The IPCC definition of adaptation was given (adjustments in practices, processes or structures of systems to projected or actual changes of climate; adaptation can be spontaneous or planned, and can be carried out in response to or in anticipation of changes). The majority of respondents (71%) agreed that these criteria could also serve as goals for adaptation in the forest sector, 12% agreed with some but not all of the criteria and 9% were unsure. An evaluation was made of the importance of 65 forest management adaptation options to achieving sustainable forest management in the context of three scenarios of climate change (Table 3.1). Adaptation options were structured according to the framework outlined in Ogden and Innes (2007a). The responses are summarized in Tables 3.2 to 3.8. Some patterns emerged: 85

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

1) practitioners perceive some adaptation options to make sense regardless of whether or not climate change is a consideration in forest management plans (e.g., minimize fragmentation of habitat and maintain connectivity; identify and protect functional groups and keystone species; diversity regional economies); 2) practitioners did not change their perceptions of the importance of implementing some adaptation options between low and high scenarios of warming (e.g., involving the public in the assessment of adaptation options; foster learning and innovation and conduct research to determine when and where to implement adaptive responses); 3) for some adaptation options, their importance was perceived to increase with increasing warming (e.g., breeding for pest resistance and for a wider tolerance to a range of climate stresses; enhance forest growth through forest fertilization; practice high intensity forestry in selected areas); and 4) the perceived importance of some adaptation options decreased with increasing warming (e.g., maintenance of natural fire regimes; allow forests to regenerate naturally following disturbance).

3.5.4

Knowledge gaps and research needs

Finally, practitioners indicated the extent to which additional information on the impact of climate change would influence their decision-making processes. Table 3.9 summarizes climate change attributes that forest practitioners indicated as having a very significant or quite significant influence. More than 60% of respondents indicated that additional information on the impacts of climate change on the following attributes would significantly influence their decision making: the intensity, severity or magnitude of forest insect outbreaks; forest growth and productivity; precipitation; climate variability; intensity, severity or magnitude of forest fires; and temperature.

3.5.5

Non-response survey

A non-response survey was conducted to determine if there was a significant difference in the responses between those who responded and those who did not. Eight non-respondents completed the follow-up survey that contained a subset of the questions from the original survey. The results of this non-response survey were found to be comparable to the results of the original survey. In the non-response survey, 50% of respondents were employed by the territorial government, and 100% of respondents were Yukon forest practitioners. The majority (88%) of respondents 86

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

indicated they had 11 years of experience or greater. In the non-response survey, practitioners ranked their knowledge of various aspects of climate change as they pertain to the northern forest sector as being fair to poor. Similar to the original survey, their knowledge of 20th century climate change and projected climate change was greatest (75% and 75% fair to good), their knowledge of impacts received lower scores (50%-63% poor to fair, depending on the area of impact), and their knowledge of how to respond to the impacts of climate change was also rated as poor by 50% of the respondents. No respondents indicated having an excellent knowledge of either climate change or its impacts. In the non-response survey, similar patterns emerged in the evaluation of the importance of 65 forest management adaptation options to achieving sustainable forest management in the context of low and high scenarios of climate change as were observed in the original survey. Practitioners in the non-response survey similarly perceived some adaptation options to make sense regardless of whether or not climate change is a consideration in forest management plans, practitioners did not change their perceptions of the importance of implementing some adaptation options between low and high scenarios of warming. For some adaptation options, their importance was perceived to increase with increasing warming, and the perceived importance of some adaptation options decreased with increasing warming. However, the relative importance assigned to adaptation options differed in some cases between the original survey and the non-response survey. The similarity in results between the original survey and the non-response survey increases the robustness of the findings of this study.

3.6

DISCUSSION

3.6.1

Survey limitations

Due to the low response rate, it was not possible to assess reliably whether or not differences exist in perceptions on climate change between practitioners in the two territories. Similarly, it was not possible to assess reliably whether or not differences exist in the perceptions on climate change between the practitioners that play different roles in the northern forest sector (e.g., whether perceptions of practitioners that work for territorial governments differ from those who work for First Nations governments). Caution should also be taken interpreting the results of 87

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

this questionnaire since the forest practitioners ranked their level of knowledge of climate change as being fair to poor, despite past educational efforts in this area. This level of knowledge seems inconsistent with the considerable availability of scientific information in synthesis reports such as the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, and national outreach and networking programs such as the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research network. The low level of knowledge held by practitioners on climate change may be a reflection of the self-selecting nature of the transfer of scientific knowledge to the practitioner community, the time practitioners have available to study climate change reports, or the limited effectiveness of outreach activities to date in reaching this community.

3.6.2

Do forest practitioners perceive climate change to be affecting the sustainability of the northern forest sector?

The data from the survey display a diversity of opinions rather than a consensus on perceptions of how climate change may be affecting the sustainability of the northern forest sector. As noted above, forest sector and forest-dependent community sustainability are functions of a number of interacting factors that vary from place to place. Consequently, the results may be a reflection of regional variability in the rate and magnitude of climate change, the response of forest ecosystems to climate change, the sensitivity to the impacts of climate change, the economic characteristics of the affected community or industry, and its adaptive capacity. Alternatively, a lack of consensus on how climate change is affecting forest sector sustainability may be a reflection of the level of awareness and understanding of climate change impacts within the forest practitioner community. Practitioners ranked the knowledge that they themselves possess on various aspects of climate change to be generally fair to poor, and they identified the current level of awareness and understanding of climate change impacts as a factor that is currently enhancing vulnerability to climate change in the northern forest sector. Consequently, the results may be a reflection of either the general state of knowledge of forest practitioners and/or the level of success of knowledge transfer from knowledge holders (e.g., aboriginal elders, scientists, other practitioners) to knowledge users (e.g., forest practitioners).

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3.6.3

What factors do forest practitioners perceive to be contributing to the current vulnerability of the northern forest sector and/or forest dependent communities to climate change?

Adaptation options may be developed to address areas of vulnerability, so an understanding of current and future vulnerability is a critical consideration in the development of adaptation responses (Burton 1997). The results of the survey display a diversity of opinions rather than a consensus on factors that are contributing to the current vulnerability to climate change of the northern forest sector and/or forest dependent communities. Vulnerability is a function of a number of interacting factors that vary from place to place, so the results may be a reflection of regional differences and/or a reflection of limited awareness and understanding of climate change and its implications as in the above discussion.

3.6.4

What are the perceived goals of climate adaptation in the northern forest sector?

When asked directly, survey respondents largely support the view put forward by Spittlehouse and Stewart (2003) that the principles and practice of sustainable forest management embodies many of the activities that will be required to respond to the effects of climate change on forests. This finding emphasizes the similarities between climate change adaptation planning in the forest sector and planning for sustainable forest management. What is central to both is the need find the most appropriate balance between fundamental ecological, economic and social objectives, and to do so in the face of ongoing change and uncertainty. The influence of climate change on forest ecosystems poses new questions as to what management strategies need to be employed to achieve sustainable forest management. Climate change adaptation strategies may be considered to be a risk management component of a sustainable forest management plan (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Ohlson et al. 2005) because a definitive assessment of climate change impacts is very difficult and complex to perform. Such an assessment requires knowledge about ecosystem interrelationships, information on future development pathways that is currently not available, and considerations of very large temporal and spatial scales. Therefore, since one of the biggest challenges in developing adaptation strategies in the forest sector is the reality of uncertainty, effective monitoring, using an adaptive management cycle, is essential in an overall approach to climate change adaptation (Ohlson et al. 2005). Adaptive management is also an essential component of sustainable forest management, as it identifies uncertainties and establishes methodologies to test hypotheses concerning those uncertainties; it uses management as a tool 89

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

not only to change the system but to learn about the system. The irreducible uncertainties associated with climate change also emphasize the need to identify robust management strategies – those that are likely to perform well across a range of potential future scenarios.

3.6.5

What is the perceived importance of alternative adaptation options to achieving these goals?

The survey revealed a diversity of opinions rather than a consensus on the importance of alternative adaptation options to achieving the goals of sustainable forest management in the context of climate change. It is important to acknowledge the diversity of opinion and the associated implications, since diversity of opinion implies that there may not be a single most appropriate adaptation solution that fits all forest management contexts and perspectives on the management of forest resources. Rather, in light of climate change, it may be necessary to open a dialogue on the trade-offs inherent in forest management for social, economic and environmental objectives. There appear to be different ‘paradigms’ or ‘world views’ that may play an important role in influencing how practitioners perceive the importance of alternative adaptation options. For example, some practitioners favoured an active approach to adaptation while others favoured more passive approaches; some had a preference for responses that facilitate ‘natural’ ecosystem responses to climate change while others advocated options that are akin to engineering resistance to ecological change. Some preferred approaches that adapted social and economic systems to ecological change while others preferred adapting ecosystems to meet social and economic needs. Climate change may thus alter how trade-offs in social, economic and environmental dimensions of forest management activities are perceived and negotiated. Some respondents expressed difficulties in evaluating options without a specific geographical context, such as a planning unit with defined management objectives and identified values. Additional work to evaluate adaptation options should therefore consider being confined to a particular planning area.

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3.6.6

What additional climate change-related information would have the greatest influence on decision-making in the northern forest sector?

Practitioners highlighted a number of areas where additional information on the impact of climate change would have a significant influence on their decision-making process in the northern forest sector. Their views are possible indications of priority areas for further adaptation-oriented research that targets the information gathering that is required to support decision-making.

3.7

CONCLUSION

Northern forest practitioners agree that the criteria of sustainable forest management can also serve as goals for climate change adaptation. However, practitioners attach differing levels of importance to which climate change impacts have had a significant effect on the sustainability of the northern forest-sector, which factors contribute to the current vulnerability of the northern forest sector, the desirability of alternative adaptation options, and research priorities. These results should be considered as a starting point for more focused research on the topics that were addressed. Additional research is required to identify potential adaptation strategies (that consist of a combination of management options) that may be implemented to achieve adaptation goals. Alternative strategies may then be characterized according to how well they may support or hinder the realization of various management objectives in light of the uncertainties posed by climate change. Another area worth further exploration is how climate change may alter how trade-offs in social, economic and environmental dimensions of forest management activities are perceived and negotiated. Because of the difficulty some respondents had in evaluating adaptation options without a specific geographical context (e.g., a planning unit with defined management objectives and identified values), additional work to evaluate adaptation options should consider being limited to a particular planning area. The perceptions held by forest practitioners determine how climate change considerations are incorporated into forest management plans. As the level of knowledge held by forest practitioners on various aspects of climate change as they pertain to the northern forest sector is fair to poor (based on a self-assessment), more opportunities for knowledge exchange are

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required. If this survey is repeated over time, a measure of changing perspectives may be gained, provided that actions are taken to enhance their knowledge and understanding.

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TABLE 3.1: Climate change scenarios for the 2050s for the forested areas of the northern territories west of 102°W.

Annual temperature change (°C) Winter temperature change (°C) Summer temperature change (°C) Annual precipitation change (%)

Climate Change Scenario – Low (2050s) 2.4

Climate Change Scenario -Median (2050s) 3.6

Climate Change Scenario – High (2050s) 7.3

2.6

4.7

10.6

0.7

2.1

3.4

4.5

15.3

22.9

Source: The climate change scenarios are from those prepared for Natural Resources Canada’s National Assessment of Climate Change Impacts. More information about the assessment can be found at http://www.adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/assess_e.php.

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TABLE 3.2: Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to conserving biological diversity in northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario. Adaptation option

% of respondents who perceive option to be important in absence of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a low scenario of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a high scenario of climate change

Minimize fragmentation of habitat and maintain connectivity Maintain representative forest types across environmental gradients in reserves Protect primary forests Protect climate refugia at multiple scales Identify and protect functional groups and keystone species Maintain natural fire regimes Provide buffer zones for adjustment of reserve boundaries Create artificial reserves or arboreta to preserve rare species Protect most highly threatened species ex situ Develop a gene management program Allow forests to regenerate naturally following disturbance. Control invasive species Practice low-intensity forestry Assist changes in the distribution of species by introducing them to new areas

82 73

85 61

85 61

70 45 82 67 64 58 58 39 55 64 52 33

61 55 79 39 64 61 58 55 39 52 45 45

61 55 79 39 64 61 58 55 39 52 45 45

94

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

TABLE 3.3: Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to maintaining the productive capacity of northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario. Adaptation option

% of respondents who perceive option to be important in absence of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a low scenario of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a high scenario of climate change

Practice high-intensity plantation forestry in selected areas, especially those where an increase in disturbance is anticipated Assist in tree regeneration Employ vegetation control techniques to offset drought Plant genetically modified species Enhance forest growth through forest fertilization Practice high-intensity forestry to promote growth of commercial tree species Underplant with other species or genotypes where the current advanced regeneration is unacceptable as a source for the future forest Pre-commercial thinning or selectively remove suppressed, damaged or poor quality individuals to increase resource availability to the remaining trees Reduce the rotation age followed by planting to speed the establishment of better-adapted forest types Control those undesirable plant species that will become more competitive in a changed climate Relax rules governing the movement of seed stocks from one area to another

50

47

82

56 26 15 18 38

59 32 21 18 35

59 56 53 76 41

32

32

35

41

35

32

21

24

32

35

35

41

21

21

32

95

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

TABLE 3.4: Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to maintaining health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario. Adaptation option

% of respondents who perceive option to be important in absence of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a low scenario of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a high scenario of climate change

Breed for pest resistance and for a wider tolerance to a range of climate stresses and extremes in specific genotypes Manage tourism/recreation/grazing impacts Regulate atmospheric pollutants Adjust harvest schedules to harvest stands most vulnerable to insect outbreaks Restore degraded areas Plant drought-, insect- or disease-tolerant genotypes Reduce disease losses through sanitation cuts that remove infected trees Used prescribed burning to reduce fire risk and reduce forest vulnerability to insect outbreaks ) Employ silvicultural techniques to promote forest productivity and increase stand vigour (i.e. partial cutting or thinning) to lower the susceptibility to insect attack Shorten the rotation length to decrease the period of stand vulnerability to damaging insects and diseases and to facilitate change to more suitable species

38

50

62

62 76 59

68 76 62

68 79 62

68 44 41 53

68 50 41 65

71 53 41 68

59

65

74

26

32

38

96

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

TABLE 3.5: Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to the conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources in northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario. Adaptation option

% of respondents who perceive option to be important in absence of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a low scenario of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a high scenario of climate change

Minimize soil disturbance through low impact harvesting activities Minimize density of permanent road network to maximize productive forest area and forest sinks Deactivate and rehabilitate roads to maximize productive forest area and forest sinks Limit harvesting operations to the winter in order to minimize road construction and soil disturbance Avoid constructing roads in landslide-prone terrain where increased precipitation and melting of permafrost may increase the hazard of slope failure Maintain, decommission and rehabilitate roads to minimize sediment runoff due to increased precipitation and melting of permafrost Mitigating the impacts on infrastructure, fish, and potable water, of changes in the timing of peak flow and volume in streams resulting from more/earlier snow melt

94 88

94 91

94 91

82

82

82

62

68

68

88

91

91

88

94

91

76

76

76

97

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

TABLE 3.6: Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to the maintenance of northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario. Adaptation option

% of respondents who perceive option to be important in absence of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a low scenario of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a high scenario of climate change

Mitigate climate change through forest carbon management Increase forested area through afforestation Reduce forest degradation and avoid deforestation Enhance forest growth through forest fertilization

47 44 76 26

56 50 76 26

56 50 79 29

Decrease impact of natural disturbances on carbon stocks through fire management and pest management Enhance forest recovery after disturbance Increase the use of forests for biomass energy

35

35

38

47 38

47 35

47 38

98

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

TABLE 3.7: Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies from northern forest ecosystems under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario. Adaptation option

% of respondents who perceive option to be important in absence of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a low scenario of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a high scenario of climate change

Anticipate variability and change and conduct vulnerability assessments at a regional scale Foster learning and innovation and conduct research to determine when and where to implement adaptive responses Diversify forest economy e.g., explore dead-wood product markets, value-added products Diversify regional economy (non-forest based) Enhance dialogue amongst stakeholder groups to establish priorities for action on climate adaptation in the forest sector Protect higher-value areas from fire through ‘firesmart’ techniques Increase amount of timber from salvage logging of fire or insect disturbed stands

59

74

71

65

76

74

79

82

88

85 59

85 65

85 71

62 44

65 53

68 56

99

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

TABLE 3.8: Adaptation options that northern forest practitioners perceive as being important or very important to adapt the present legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management under three scenario of climate change for the 2050s – no climate change, low scenario, and high scenario. Adaptation option

% of respondents who perceive option to be important in absence of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a low scenario of climate change

% of respondents who perceive option to be important under a high scenario of climate change

Long-term tenures

56

56

59

Relax rules governing the movement of seed stocks from one area to another Receive incentives for enhancing carbon sinks/reducing greenhouse gas emissions Adopt article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol Practice adaptive management – a management approach that rigorously combines management, research, monitoring, and means of changing practices so that credible information is gained and management activities are modified by experience Measure, monitor and report on indicators of climate change and sustainable forest management Support research on climate change, climate impacts, and climate adaptations Support knowledge exchange, technology transfer, capacity building and information sharing on climate change Involve the public in an assessment of forest management adaptation options

24

32

38

50

65

65

41 94

50 94

56 94

82

88

91

71

79

82

76

82

85

79

82

82

100

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

TABLE 3.9: Percent of respondents who indicated that additional information on the impact of climate change on the following attributes would have a significant influence on their decision making process as a practitioner in the northern forest sector. Additional information on the following attributes would have a significant influence on decision making Intensity, severity or magnitude of forest insect outbreaks Forest growth and productivity Precipitation Climate variability Intensity, severity or magnitude of forest fires Temperature Soil moisture regimes Extreme weather events Regeneration lag Species abundance, movement and ranges including invasive species Length of growing season / frost free season Forest cover type Wind regimes Forest carbon budget Economic opportunities Length of winter road season Nutrient cycling Timber supply Non-timber forest products Treeline

Respondents (%) 71 68 65 62 62 59 59 59 59 59 56 50 41 35 35 35 32 32 32 29

101

Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada

3.8

REFERENCES

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). 2004. Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Overview Report. Cambridge University Press, UK. 1042 pp. Aneilski, M. and S. Wilson. 2005. Counting Canada's Natural Capital: Assessing the Real Value of Canada's Boreal Ecosystems. Pembina Institute and Canadian Boreal Initiative. Ottawa, Ontario. Available for download at http://www.pembina.org/pdf/publications/Boreal_FINAL.pdf Babbie, E. and L. Benaquisto. 2002. Fundamentals of Social Research. Nelson, Thompson Canada Limited, Scarborough, Ontario. 514pp. Berk, R.A. and R.B. Fovell. 2004. Public perceptions of climate change: A ‘willingness to pay’ assessment. Climatic Change 41(3):413-446. Biringer, J. 2003. Forest ecosystems threatened by climate change: promoting long-term forest resilience. In Hansen, L.J., J. Biringer and J.R. Hoffman (eds). 2003. Buying Time: A User’s Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems. World Wild Fund for Nature, Gland, Switzerland. pp. 43–72. Bord, R.J., A. Fisher and R.E. O’Connor. 1998. Public perceptions of global warming: United States and international perspectives. Climate Research 11(1):75-84. Brooks, N., W.N. Adger, P.M. Kelly. 2005. The determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity at the national level and the implications for adaptation. Global Environmental Change 15: 151-163. Burton, I. 1997. Vulnerability and adaptive response in the context of climate and climate change. Climatic Change 36(1/2): 185–196. Chapin, F.S., G. Peterson, F. Berkes, T.V. Callaghan, P. Angelstam, M. Apps, C. Beier, Y. Bergeron, A.S. Crepin, K. Danell, T. Elmqvist, C. Folke, B. Forbes, N. Fresco, G. Juday, J. Niemela, A. Shvidenko and G. Whiteman. 2004. Resilience and vulnerability of northern regions to social and environmental change. Ambio 33(6): 344–349. Clemen, R.T. and R.L. Winkler. 1999. Combining probability distributions from experts in risk analysis. Risk Analysis 19(2):187-203. Davidson, D.J., T. Williamson and J.R. Parkins. 2003. Understanding climate change risk and vulnerability in northern forest-based communities. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 33: 2252–2261. Downing, T.E. and A. Patwardhan. 2005. Assessing Vulnerability for Climate Adaptation. In Lim, B. and E. Spanger-Siegfried (eds). Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing Strategies, Policies and Measures. United Nations Development Programme. Cambridge University Press, New York, New York.

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Easterling, W.E., W.H. Hurd and J.B. Smith. 2004. Coping with global climate change: the role of adaptation in the United States. Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, Arlington, VA. 40 pp. Gitay, H., A, Suarez, D.J. Dokken, and R.T. Watson (eds). 2001. Ecosystems and Their Goods and Services. Chapter 5 In J.J. McCarthy, O.F. Canziani, N.A. Leary, D.J. Dokken and K.S. White (eds.). Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York. 1042 p. Government of Yukon. 2006. http://www.emr.gov.yk.ca/forestry/ Government of Northwest Territories. 2006. http://forestmanagement.enr.gov.nt.ca/ Gregory,R., T.L. McDaniels and D. Fields. 2001. Decision-aiding not dispute resolution: creating insights through structured environmental decisions. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 20 (3): 415-432. Houghton, J. 2004. Global warming. The complete briefing. 3rd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 351 pp. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2001. Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report: Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York. 397 pp. Jones, R. and R. Boer. 2005. Assessing Current Climate Risks. In Lim, B. and E. SpangerSiegfried (eds). Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing Strategies, Policies and Measures. United Nations Development Programme. Cambridge University Press, New York, New York. Juday, G.P. V. Barber, P. Duffy, H. Linderhorm, S. Rupp, S. Sparrow, E. Vaganov and J. Yarie. 2005. Forests, Land Management and Agriculture. In Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ed.) Arctic Climate Impact Assessment: Scientific Report. Cambridge University Press, UK. pp. 781– 862. Lazo, J.K., J.C. Kinnell, and A. Fisher. 2000. Expert and layperson perceptions of ecosystem risk. Risk Analysis 20(2):179-193. Lemmen, D. and F. Warren (eds.) 2004. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Directorate, Natural Resources Canada. Ottawa, Ontario. 174 pp. Lim, B. and E. Spanger-Siegfried (eds). 2005. Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing Strategies, Policies and Measures. United Nations Development Programme. Cambridge University Press, New York, New York. McDaniels, T., L.J. Axelrod and P. Slovic. 1995. Characterizing perception of ecological risk. Risk Analysis 15(5)575-588. 103

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McDaniels, T., L.J. Axelrod and P. Slovic. 1996. Perceived ecological risks of global change. Global Environmental Change 6(2):159-171. Morgan, M.G., L.F. Pitelka and E. Shevliakova. 2001. Elicitation of expert judgments of climate change impacts on forest ecosystems. Climatic Change 49: 279–307. Morgan, M.G., P.J. Adams and D.W. Keith. 2006. Elicitation of expert judgments of aerosol forcing. Climatic change 75:195-214. Natural Resources Canada. 2005. The State of Canada’s Forests 2004–2005: The Boreal Forest. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service. Ottawa, Ontario. 95 pp. Noss, R.F. 2001. Beyond Kyoto: forest management in a time of rapid climate change. Conservation Biology 15: 578–590. O’Connor, R.E., R.J. Bard, A. Fisher. 1999. Risk perceptions, general environmental beliefs and willingness to address climate change. Risk Analysis 19(3):461-471. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2007a. Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management planning in the boreal forest. International Forestry Reviews 9(3):713-733. Ogden, A.E. 2006. Forest Management in a Changing Climate: Building the Environmental Information Base for the Southwest Yukon. Overview Report. Northern Climate ExChange, Whitehorse, YT. Available for download at http://www.yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/report Ohlson, D.W., G.A. McKinnon and K.G. Hirsch. 2005. A structured decision-making approach to climate change adaptation in the forest sector. Forestry Chronicle 81(1): 97–103. Parmesean, C. and G. Yohe. 2003. A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421: 37–42. Scholze, M., W. Knorr, N.W. Arnell, and I.C. Prentice. 2006. A climate change risk analysis for world ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103(35): 12116–13120. Slovic, P. 1987. Perception of risk. Science 236:280-285. Smit, B. and O. Pilifosova. 2003. From adaptation to adaptive capacity and vulnerability reduction. In Smith, J.B., R.J.T. Klein and S. Huq (Eds.). Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Development. Imperial College Press, London. Spanger-Siegfried, E. and B. Dougherty. 2005. User’s Guidebook. In Lim, B. and E. SpangerSiegfried (eds). Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing Strategies, Policies and Measures. United Nations Development Programme. Cambridge University Press, New York, New York. Spittlehouse, D.L. and R.B. Stewart. 2003. Adaptation to climate change in forest management. BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management 4(1): 1–11. 104

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Stedman, R.C. 2004. Risk and climate change: Perceptions of key policy actors in Canada. Risk Analysis 24(5): 1395-1406. Williamson, T.B., J.R. Parkins and B.L. McFarlane. 2005. Perceptions of climate change risk to forest ecosystems and forest-based communities. Forestry Chronicle 81(5):710-716.

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4.0

Climate Change Adaptation and Regional Forest Planning in Southern Yukon, Canada6

4.1

SUMMARY

Recent interest in sustainable forest management planning in the Yukon has coincided with growing public awareness of climate change, providing an opportunity to explore how forestry plans are incorporating climate change. In this paper, the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Traditional Territory (CATT) and the Teslin Tlingit Traditonal Territory (TTTT) are examined for evidence of adaptation to climate change. For each plan, management policies and practices that are also recognized as ways to adapt to climate change are identified to provide information on the incremental costs and benefits of additional adaptation efforts. A typology for classifying sustainable forest management plans according to how they address climate change is proposed and applied to the CATT and TTTT plans. This typology, which may be useful to any future retrospective assessments on how successful these or other sustainable forest management plans have been in addressing and managing the risks posed by climate change, consists of a matrix that categorizes plans into one of four types; 1) proactive-direct, 2) proactive-indirect, 3) reactive-direct, and 4) reactive-indirect. Neither of the plans available for the southern Yukon explicitly identifies climate change vulnerabilities and actions that will be taken to reduce those vulnerabilities and manage risks. However, both plans have incorporated some examples of ‘best management practices’ for sustainable forest management that are also consistent with appropriate climate adaptation responses. Even in a jurisdiction facing rapid ecological changes driven by climate change, where there is a relatively high level of awareness of climate change and its implications, forestry planning processes have yet to grapple directly with the risks that climate change may pose to the ability of forest managers to achieve the stated goals and objectives of sustainable forest management plans.

4.2

INTRODUCTION

There is mounting evidence of the high sensitivity of northern forested ecosystems to climate change. In recent decades, relatively minor climate changes (in comparison to what is projected to take place over the next century) have triggered significant ecological responses, including a 6

A revised version of chapter has been accepted for publication. Ogden, A.E. and J.L. Innes. 2008. Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 00(0):000-000.

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large-scale bark beetle outbreak (Parmesean and Yohe 2003; Juday et al. 2005; Scholze et al. 2006; ACIA 2004; Ogden 2006). Northern forest-dependent communities are expected to be significantly impacted by these ecological changes because of their strong connections to forested ecosystems (Davidson et al. 2003). While there has been much discussion of the potential impacts of climate change on forestry, these discussions have generally not been incorporated into action by forest managers, despite the increasing challenges that climate change will pose to forest managers working to achieve sustainable forest management. To date, discussions around when, where and how to incorporate adaptation considerations into forest management and planning have been limited. However, of necessity, forest managers in the boreal region are already adapting to the impacts of climate change. The current situation in the Yukon Territory of Canada presents tremendous opportunities to explore adaptation in a sustainable forest management context. Elevated insect and fire disturbance regimes, characterized by a magnitude, intensity and severity that surpass the natural range of variation, are associated with climate change in the boreal forest (ACIA 2004). Disturbance events are driving the forest industry in the Yukon, as is evident by the dominance of salvage harvest opportunities. In 2004, over 1.7 million hectares of the Territory were burned, nearly twice the previous record of 889,000 ha in 1958 (Government of Yukon 2007a), and the following year over 300,000 m3 in salvage timber permits were issued. In 2006, a request for proposals for 1,000,000 m3 was issued to salvage wood from the 380,000 ha spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) infestation in the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Traditional Territory in the southwest Yukon, considered to be the largest infestation ever recorded in Canada (ACIA 2004). As a result of recently settled land claims for much of the Yukon Territory, forest resources are being co-managed by the Yukon Government and individual First Nations. Strategic forest management planning has been initiated, with the first plan being approved in December 2004 and the second in January 2007. This interest in planning has coincided with a growing public awareness of climate change in the Yukon. The Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) is a major advocate for action on climate change in the Yukon and in national and international arenas. The CYFN, along with partnership-based organizations the Northern Climate ExChange and the Energy Solutions Centre, have delivered climate change public education and outreach

107

Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon

programs in the Yukon. In addition, the Government of Yukon released a climate change strategy in 2006 and is currently developing an action plan. In this paper, the Strategic Forest Management Plans for two traditional territories in the Yukon – the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory in southwest Yukon (CATT), and the Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territory in south-central Yukon (TTTT) – are compared in order to evaluate how the plans have incorporated climate change into land management recommendations. The plans are compared and contrasted with respect to how they have incorporated climate change considerations following the framework developed by Ogden and Innes (2007a). A typology to characterize how strategic forest management plans may address climate change is suggested. This is related back to sustainable forest management planning in the Yukon.

4.3

BACKGROUND

While the influence of climate change on boreal forest ecosystems poses new questions for the achievement of sustainable forest management (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003), the existing principles and practice of sustainable forest management embody many of the activities that will be required to respond to the effects of climate change on forests. The goal of climate adaptation can therefore be considered to be synonymous with that of achieving sustainable forest management (Ogden and Innes 2007a). In a recent survey, the perspectives of forest practitioners in the Yukon and Northwest Territories were sought on whether the seven criteria of sustainable forest management of the Montréal Process (Montréal Process Working Group 1999) could also serve as management objectives for climate adaptation in the forest sector7. Of those responding, 71% fully agreed, 12% agreed with some but not all of the criteria and 9% were unsure (Ogden and Innes 2007b). However, the actual management adaptations put in place to achieve these objectives may differ from place to place as the impacts of climate change on growth and productivity, changing disturbance regimes, and species migrations, among other changes, will vary or because management goals and objectives differ.

7

Montréal Process criteria are: 1 – conservation of biological diversity; 2 – maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems; 3 – maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality; 4 – conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources; 5 – maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles; 6 – maintenance and enhancement of long-term socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies; and 7 – legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management (Montréal Process Working Group 2006)

108

Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon

The proactive identification of management practices and policies that have a higher likelihood of achieving management objectives across a wide range of potential climate futures is a logical starting point for climate change adaptation in the forest sector (Ogden and Innes 2007b). A framework that describes how climate adaptation considerations can be incorporated into sustainable forest management plans in the boreal forest has been proposed that distinguishes between strategic-level and operational-level adaptation options (Ogden and Innes 2007a). Integrating climate change adaptation considerations into existing decision-making processes is termed ‘mainstreaming’ and can lead to “win-win” policies – those that reduce vulnerability to climatic change while simultaneously addressing other priorities (Ford et al. 2006). Ogden and Innes (2007a) summarized the potential impacts of climate change on the ability of forest managers to achieve the goals of sustainable forest management as defined by the Montréal Process. For each impact, alternative adaptation options at both the strategic and the operational planning levels were assessed (these are listed in Tables 4.2 to 4.8). Also suggested are methods for evaluating the regional applicability of various adaptation options, and how the performance of alternative climate adaptation options (once implemented) can be evaluated. Monitoring the success of these options in achieving management objectives within an adaptive management context is essential because of the uncertainties posed by climate change. Where monitoring programs indicate that management objectives are not being met, additional adjustments to management practices may be considered or expectations (e.g., the management objectives themselves) revisited. It is highly unlikely that all management objectives will be able to be reached in all cases by adjusting forest management policies and practices. Climate change will most likely result in certain thresholds being exceeded that, regardless of the intensity of management efforts, will prohibit the ability to achieve certain objectives. In southwest Yukon, an example of such a threshold being exceeded is the shift of the spruce bark beetle outbreak from a stand to a landscape scale.

4.4

ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE IN STRATEGIC FOREST MANAGEMENT PLANS: A TYPOLOGY

Adaptation to climate change can be carried out in response to or in anticipation of the changes. A proactive response involves acting before a situation becomes a crisis. A proactive plan identifies actions that will be taken to reduce vulnerabilities and manage risks in anticipation of change. Conversely, a reactive response involves waiting for something to happen before any 109

Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon

action is taken. A reactive plan identifies actions that will be taken to in response to a specific change after that change has taken place, and may or may not acknowledge what has driven the change. For example, a reactive sustainable forest management plan may be developed for a salvage harvesting operation following a disturbance event that may be of a magnitude, severity or intensity beyond what is normally managed for. Proactive approaches to adaptation are generally preferred as they are more likely to avoid or reduce damage (Easterling 2004); however, in practice, reactive approaches are more common. Sustainable forest management plans may also directly or indirectly acknowledge climate change as a driver or external force of change that may occur within the planning area. A plan that directly incorporates climate change considerations explicitly acknowledges climate change as a potential driver of ecosystem changes, and identifies climate change vulnerabilities and actions that will be taken to reduce those vulnerabilities and manage risks within the planning area. Alternatively, a plan that indirectly incorporates climate change considerations may incorporate a ‘best management practice’ for sustainable forest management that is consistent with what is believed to be an appropriate climate adaptation response; the practice is incorporated into a plan without specifically considering it as a response to actual or anticipated climate change. A simple typology can be described to categorize sustainable forest management plans according to how they address climate change. Four types of plan can be distinguished: 1) proactive-direct; 2) proactive-indirect; 3) reactive-direct; and 4) reactive-indirect (Table 4.1). This typology provides a basis for examining the potential effectiveness of sustainable forest management plans in reducing vulnerabilities and addressing and managing the risks posed by climate change. While placed within the context of forest management plans developed for the southern Yukon, the basic framework has much wider application, as forest management plans aimed at maintaining forest sustainability have quite similar structures the world over.

4.5

SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT PLANNING IN THE YUKON

The Yukon is approximately 48.5 million hectares in size of which about 22.8 million hectares are forested (Natural Resources Canada 2005). Of the forested land base, less than 30 per cent (or 81,000 km2) currently has tree cover that is of the desired species or size that might support timber harvesting activities (Government of Yukon 2007b). Yukon forests are classified as being 79% softwood, 2% hardwood and 19% mixed wood (Natural Resources Canada 2005). As roads 110

Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon

in the Yukon are limited, most areas of the territory are relatively pristine. The majority of merchantable forests are located south of the 61st parallel, as is 81% of the population of 31,000. North of the 61st parallel, the forests are more influenced by cold soils, poor drainage and aggressive fire regimes, and the majority of productive soils occur along major rivers and southfacing slopes. The cultural, spiritual, social and economic well-being of many Yukon First Nations is dependant on a healthy forest ecosystem, as the gathering of food and the exercise of cultural practices are considered to be important uses of the forest land. The low productivity of the forest and higher operating costs (because of the economies of scale associated with a relatively small industry) play important roles in the development of forest plans and the forest sector in general. For example, an estimated harvest level in the southern Yukon could exceed 300,000 m3/year, compared to 5,000 m3/year in the northern areas of the Territory (Government of Yukon 2007b). The devolution of responsibilities for natural resource management from the Government of Canada to the Government of the Yukon occurred in April 2003. As a result, the Yukon is now moving towards more regulated forest practices and a comprehensive legislative framework, including the development of a Yukon Forest Resources Stewardship Act. The majority of the fourteen First Nations in the Yukon have settled their land claims. Within these claims, the responsibility for forest management has been given to the Government of Yukon, the First Nation Governments, and the Renewable Resource Councils who work together to develop sustainable forest management plans. Plans are developed by First Nation traditional territories and apply to both public and settlement lands. The Yukon and First Nation governments are responsible for the final approval and implementation of forest management plans in lands under their jurisdiction. In forest regions where the First Nations have not settled their land claims, the Yukon Government has developed joint planning tables with First Nations’ representatives and community members. In December 2004, the first-ever strategic forest management plan in the Yukon was adopted for the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory. The Forest Management Plan for the Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territory of south central Yukon was adopted in January 2007. To date (July 2007), no other plans have been finalized. Sustainable forest management planning is generally separated into two distinct levels: strategic planning and operational planning. Strategic long-term plans establish the broader context for operational short-term plans by providing direction on how the mix of forest resources will be 111

Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon

managed in a given area. As strategic forest management plans are concerned with larger areas and longer time frames than operational plans, they often describe desired future forest conditions and indicate broad strategies (such as landscape zoning) that establish how the desired future forest conditions will be achieved (Liu et al. 2000). Strategic plans play an important role in determining the appropriate choice of forest practices described in operational plans, so the different levels of planning must be consistent (Bott et al. 2003). Because of their long timeframes and extensive consultation requirements, strategic plans provide a good opportunity to ‘mainstream’ climate change adaptation strategies into existing decision-making processes. Sustainable forest management planning in the Yukon follows four distinct planning stages that gradually narrow the decisions and direction from the general goals through basic landscape level arrangements down to specific harvest block location and design. The first two planning stages – strategic forest management plans and integrated landscape plans – are equated with those that provide strategic-level direction. The last two planning stages – harvest development plans and site plans – are equated with operational plans. The planning hierarchy is as follows: 1. Strategic Forest Management Plan. This is the first step in the planning process that sets out what issues and concerns, values and interests must be addressed as forest planning moves forward through subsequent stages. It represents a set of directions, based on a general consensus between governments and people within the Traditional Territory. Strategic plans are recommended by the local Renewable Resource Council for approval by the Yukon and First Nations governments. The plan is relevant for 20 years and has a planning horizon of two forest rotations. 2. Integrated Landscape Plan. This plan identifies broad areas available or not for forest development, and strategies for reducing or eliminating significant negative effects on other resources and values. At this stage a timber supply analysis is completed, followed by a determination of the harvest level for the planning region. Landscape plans are reviewed by the local Renewable Resource Council and recommendations are provided to the Yukon and First Nations governments. The ILP applies for a 5–20 year period. 3. Harvest Development Plan. This plan designs the general harvest activities consistent with the outcomes of landscape planning (e.g., main road location, harvest block location). Under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act

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(YESAA), these plans are now referred to as Timber Harvest Projects. They generally apply for a period of five years. 4. Site Plan. This details the harvest block boundaries, landings, volumes and exact road locations and describes specific proposed harvesting and operational design and activities for the coming year (e.g., exact road/landing/harvest area location, refined volume estimates, equipment, stream crossing methods etc.). It is generally prepared and applied annually. In November 2005, the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act (YESAA) came into effect. YESAA is a requirement of Chapter 12 of the Umbrella Final Agreement and Yukon First Nations’ Final Agreements. Under YESAA, environmental, social and economic effects of proposed development projects and other activities are independently assessed using scientific information, traditional knowledge and other local knowledge. Climate change mitigations and adaptations are a consideration under YESAA. Recommendations are made as to whether the activities should proceed, proceed with terms and conditions, or not proceed, and these recommendations are forwarded to the relevant decision bodies. The federal government, territorial government and/or First Nation governments, as decision bodies for the activities, will receive the recommendations from the assessor with all relevant project information. The decision body (or bodies) will then decide whether to accept, reject, or vary the recommendations of the assessor. Their conclusion is then issued in a decision document.

4.6

THE CATT PLAN AND ITS ASSOCIATED ACTIONS

The Strategic Forest Management Plan for the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory (CATT SFMP) was approved in December 2004 (ARRC 2004). The planning process was initiated in 1998 in response to a major spruce bark beetle infestation in the traditional territory that caused widespread mortality of white spruce (Picea glauca), the only conifer in the region.8 As a result of the spruce bark beetle infestation, the fire hazard within the southwest Yukon has increased because of increased quantity, flammability and extent of forest fuels, increasing the 8

The 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment called the infestation the largest and most intense outbreak of spruce bark beetle ever to affect Canadian trees, and a notable example of ecosystem response to recent warming. The dominance of mature white spruce enhanced the vulnerability of these ecosystems to large-scale beetle attack. A series of warmer winters and warmer and drier summers resulted in 1) drought stress that reduced the ability of white spruce to reduce insect attack, and 2) completion of the beetle life cycle in one year and over-winter survival, which built up the beetle populations to epidemic levels. The ACIA attributed the severity, intensity and magnitude of the infestation to changing climate

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risk of catastrophic loss of property (Garbutt et al. 2007). The elevated fire hazard will remain for many years because of the slow progress of decay in the dry, cold climate of this region (Garbutt et al. 2007). The widespread mortality of white spruce trees has also reduced the economic opportunities from the forest for timber, affected the visual quality of landscapes, reduced the value of the forest for recreation and tourism and has resulted in significant changes to the regional ecology (ARRC 2004). The infestation was first recorded in 1993 when it was 30,000 ha in size, and likely began in the late 1980s or early 1990s (Garbutt 1998). By 1998, the infestation was 90,000 ha in size. By 2005, the infestation had reached over 380,000 ha in size (Garbutt 2006). The CATT SFMP outlines strategic directions for sustainable forest management planning, principles for sustainable forest management, and identifies the key issues related to forest development in the CATT. It provides the direction and steps that are necessary to implement a balanced approach to the development of the region’s forest resources, as defined by local people. The plan identifies reduction of fire hazard, community and economic benefits from forestry, preservation of wildlife habitat, and forest renewal as priority issues and stresses the need for an integrated approach to forest management and planning. It does so by establishing basic goals and objectives for sustainable forest management9 and identifying a series of indicators to determine if management activities are proceeding according to plan. The SFMP subdivides the planning region into 18 forest planning areas that are loosely based on watershed boundaries. Based on local and traditional knowledge and community input, each of these forest planning areas was assigned a priority (low, medium or high) for development planning purposes. The SFMP also establishes processes for plan implementation and plan monitoring and review, and incorporates an adaptive management framework. In 2006, a request for proposals was issued to salvage 1,000,000 m3 of beetle-killed wood. An Integrated Landscape Plan has also been prepared for the CATT that identifies three landscape zones and priorities and general strategies for management in each of these zones along with guidelines for the development and implementation of Timber Harvest Project planning and the associated forestry operations. To date, no forest development plans or site plans have been developed under the SFMP. However,

9

The four goals the plan are A) functioning forest ecosystems B) community sustainability and benefits, C) cooperative forest planning and management, and D) build local capacity. The plan may be viewed at www.caforestry.ca

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a forest development plan for a planning unit identified as a priority area for fuel modification was prepared and approved through the environmental assessment process. The SFMP acknowledges the role that climate change has played in the spruce bark beetle infestation, and notes that if the region’s climate continues to become warmer and drier, increasing moisture stress and increased beetle populations could lead to increased attack and mortality of smaller size classes of trees. The plan acknowledges that a major factor contributing to the current beetle infestation is the relatively even-aged, mature white spruce stands that dominate the landscape in the area. Providing a long-term sustainable supply of timber is not the focus of the plan nor would this be attainable in the near future because of the widespread mortality of spruce. The plan provides direction for salvage-based harvesting activities and strikes a balance between environmental, social, economic and fuel reduction objectives. It considers creating the necessary conditions to achieve sustained yield forest management an “important work-in-progress”. It notes that this will require a carefully considered, soundly planned and action-oriented approach to forest renewal, and provides direction to create forests more resilient to disturbances by promoting a mosaic of species across the landscape using an ecologically and socially appropriate design. It also provides strategic directions to increase public awareness of wildfire risk, and argues that fuel treatment should be a priority for risk reduction strategies. While the SFMP does not take climate change considerations into account explicitly, a number of initiatives are underway in the CATT that directly or indirectly incorporate climate change considerations, and are consistent with management actions to adapt to climate change, as described in the framework proposed by Ogden and Innes (2007a). The development of fuel abatement plans for communities within the CATT is currently underway. In addition, a pilot effectiveness monitoring program has been developed and field-tested to assess how well fuel abatement activities are achieving plan objectives. The project Forest Management in a Changing Climate: Building the Environmental Information Base in Southwest Yukon synthesized existing information on climate impacts and adaptation responses (Ogden 2006). This project produced five technical reports and an overview report, posted on the project website10. In March 2006, a community workshop on climate change was held in one day of 10

http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/

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which was devoted to discussions on Our Changing Boreal Forest. Workshop participants were given the opportunity to share observations of climate change and to identify research and monitoring needs (McKinnon 2006). The unique challenges faced by this region recently attracted the attention of the Canadian Model Forest Program, which has designated the region as a Special Project Area. This designation secured funding for CAFN to do additional research on issues of community sustainability in the region in the face of climate change and on incorporating traditional and local knowledge into the adaptive management framework. An Initial Status Report on local indicators of sustainable forest management is also in preparation. A survey to gather local knowledge and perceptions on the indicators was undertaken, and the findings are being incorporated into the status report. This report will provide the baseline information that future monitoring and reporting of indicators can be compared against. Lastly, 30 forest practitioners involved with the implementation of this plan were recently involved in a study where current and future climate change vulnerabilities were assessed and an extensive list of alternative forest management adaptation options were evaluated, including those summarized in Tables 4.2 to 4.8, and the applicability of alternative adaptation strategies were assessed according to the different landscape zones in the CATT (Ogden et al. 2007c; Ogden et al. 2007d).

4.7

THE TTTT PLAN AND ITS ASSOCIATED ACTIONS

The Strategic Forest Management Plan for the Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territory (TTTT SFMP) was approved in January, 2007 (TRRC 2007). The planning process was initiated in 1998 with the establishment of a Forest Management Steering Group. The TTTT SFMP provides a sustainable development strategy for the forests of the TTTT. It establishes what issues and concerns, values and interests must be addressed as forest resource development moves forward in the region. It reflects the values and views of the region’s residents, the Teslin Tlingit Council, the Teslin Renewable Resources Council, the Yukon Government as well as those of stakeholders and other Yukon non-governmental organizations. The plan outlines strategic directions from planning and legislative initiatives that have a bearing on sustainable forest management planning in the region. It also provides strategic directions for key issues, including diversifying the local economy, coarse-filter approaches to the management of biodiversity, management of wildlife and wildlife habitat for species of concern, visual quality management, management of heritage and archaeological sites, uncommon vegetation types, 116

Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon

reducing conflict between different forms of land use, forest resource management near to the community of Teslin, access management, and salvage of timber associated with land clearing for linear and other disturbances. Climate change is not noted as a possible driver of change for any of these issues. There is only one reference in the plan to climate change. In the introductory description of the planning region, the plan notes “at this time it is unclear how climate change will affect forests in Teslin or Yukon” and notes that “across Canada it is thought that boreal forest species may shift northward 300 to 500 km and that portions of the boreal forest may be replaced by a temperate forest characteristic of southern Ontario or northern United States”. While it is encouraging to see a reference in the plan to climate change, it is unfortunate that this quote does not reflect our current understanding (e.g. Juday et al. 2004; Morgan et al. 2001; Price and Apps 1996; Schmitz et al. 2003 etc.). The TTTT SFMP identifies three categories of strategic forest land-use zones. These zones are further subdivided into regional forest use designations. The plan identifies 15 landscape units in the planning region. The Teslin community ranked each individual landscape unit for what was perceived to be an acceptable level of forest activity/development within the unit. Public consultations also identified key concerns for each landscape unit. Based on community activity, each of these forest planning areas was assigned a priority (low, medium or high) for planning purposes. The plan also defines sustainable forest management goals, objectives and indicators.11 Indicators help determine whether progress is being made in achieving an objective. An Initial Status Report on local indicators of sustainable forest management is also in preparation; this will serve as the baseline against which future indicator reports will be compared. The plan notes that forest ecosystems are complex and dynamic, and recognizes that the ability to predict how they will respond to management actions is limited. It identifies that this is particularly true in southern Yukon, where forest harvesting activities and ecosystem response research have been 11

The five goals the plan are A) conserve biological diversity, B) maintain forest ecosystem health and productivity, C) conserve and maintain soil and water resources D) maintain and enhance multiple socio-economic benefits and E) maintain and enhance community sustainability. The plan may be viewed at http://www.emr.gov.yk.ca/forestry/

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fairly limited, and that knowledge gaps and uncertainties exist on how to best manage the forests of the region. As a consequence, the plan adopts an adaptive management strategy that involves identifying measurable objectives and indicators, forecasting responses to management actions, monitoring indicators that are used to test forecasts, evaluating and comparing forecasts to measured responses, and adjusting management actions as appropriate. The adaptive management strategy draws particular attention to wildfire as the agent primarily responsible for unpredictable large land-base changes in the southern Yukon. The plan specifically states that the adaptive management strategy should include a monitoring program to assess the effects of wildfire on timber supply. It also provides strategic direction with respect to plan implementation monitoring and review.

4.8

PLAN COMPARISON

Using the framework proposed by Ogden and Innes (2007a), Tables 4.2-4.8 summarize which climate adaptation management tactics have or have not been incorporated into the CATT and TTTT Strategic Forest Management Plans. An understanding of the current management practices that may contribute to reducing vulnerability to climate change may help to bring into focus the incremental costs and benefits of additional adaptation strategies (Ohlson et al. 2005). The TTTT SFMP was approved nearly three years after the CATT SFMP, so the two plans are at different stages of implementation. A primary difference between the CATT and the TTTT plan is that the TTTT plan is not salvage-harvest driven. In the CATT, a 10-year harvest level was set to capture economic value from the trees killed by spruce bark beetle before the wood becomes unusable.12 While the CATT plan provides strategic direction for forest management to create the necessary conditions to achieve sustained yield forestry through a soundly planned approach to long-term forest renewal, it focuses providing strategic direction on salvage-based harvesting. In contrast, the intent of the TTTT plan is to provide for the long-term sustainability of the regions’ forests and the needs of future generations. The plans are similar in their stated desire to provide community sustainability and benefits, build capacity within the region to participate in forestry activities, cooperative planning and management, and incorporate local, traditional and scientific knowledge into decision-making. 12

The timber supply analysis and rationale for the harvest level may be viewed at www.caforestry.ca

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The goals of both plans are also consistent with the principles of sustainable forest management, which are essential to developing responses to climate change. The goals provide the vehicle and forum to make management decisions that are adaptive in the face of climate change. Both plans incorporate best management practices for conserving biological diversity that are also consistent with what has been suggested to be an appropriate adaptation response to address changes in plant and animal distributions that may result because of climate change (e.g., minimizing fragmentation of habitat, maintaining connectivity, identifying and protecting functional groups and keystone species). Similarly, both plans incorporate strategic direction to zone forest uses across the landscape. Zoning may involve identifying certain areas where more intensive stand management to provide for continued timber production is permitted along with areas of no-harvest where other values and uses of forested land restrict forestry operations. This is also consistent with what has been suggested as an appropriate adaptation response to conserve biodiversity and maintain productive capacity in northern forested ecosystems in light of climate change (Ogden and Innes 2007a). Neither plan suggests best management practices consistent with the adaptive responses that have been suggested as potential ways to cope with either decreased forest growth or site-species incompatibility. Similarly, neither plan incorporates management practices to maintain the health and vitality of forested ecosystems in the light of climate change (e.g., breeding for pest resistance, planting genotypes that are tolerant of drought, insects and/or disease, reducing disease losses through disease or sanitation cuts that remove infected trees). However, the CATT plan does provide strategic direction to promote forests that are more resilient to disturbances by promoting a mosaic of species. In addition, both place harvest priority on stands that have been disturbed by fire or insect outbreaks or those that are most vulnerable to insect outbreaks. Nearly all of the adaptation options suggested by researchers as ways to conserve and maintain soil and water resources in a changing climate are incorporated into both plans. The CATT SFMP and associated plans incorporates a greater number of best management practices / adaptation options for maintaining and enhancing long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies. More work to assess vulnerabilities to climate change and to increase awareness about proactive actions in regards to landscape-scale fuels assessment and fuel 119

Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon

abatement planning has taken place in the CATT than in the TTTT, largely in response to the spruce bark beetle infestation. Both Strategic Forest Management Plans explicitly incorporate an adaptive management framework, considered to be an essential response to climate change (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003). Adaptive management rigorously combines management, research, monitoring and means of changing practices so that credible information is gained and management activities are modified by experience. Adaptive management is frequently cited as a way of dealing with uncertainty. The dominant approach to adaptive management in both plans is more passive (i.e., “learning by doing”). However active adaptive management studies are being proposed for inclusion in a Timber Harvest Project currently under development in the CATT, more consistent with the science-based approach advocated by Holling (1978), Folke et al. (2004) and others. Both plans also commit to measuring, monitoring and reporting on indicators of sustainable forest management to determine the state of the forest (Spittlehouse 2005) and Initial Status Reports are currently in development for both planning areas. However, neither plan has explicitly committed to establishing thresholds nor does either plan address the management responses that would be required once thresholds are reached. It not necessary or appropriate for a plan to incorporate all of the adaptation options suggested in Tables 4.2 to 4.8 – some contradict one another, and others may be contradictory to plan objectives. The management adaptations established to achieve sustainable forest management objectives may differ from place to place because the impacts of climate change on forested ecosystems differ, or because the management objectives differ. What is important is that a planning process work through a thoughtful assessment of when and where a particular adaptation option may be suitable to include in a strategic plan or in an operational plan (Ogden and Innes 2007a). A structured decision-making approach provides a useful framework for this sort of assessment. Such an approach involves the development of comprehensive objectives, an assessment of current and future vulnerabilities, the consideration of reasonable alternatives, an understanding of consequences based on available information, and the implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of management actions. Additional information on the application of a structured decision-making approach to climate change adaptation in the forest sector can be found in Ohlson et al. (2005) and a Yukon example of application of this approach may be found in Ogden and Innes (2007c). 120

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Using the typology described in Table 4.1, the CATT SFMP is best categorized as a ReactiveIndirect plan, and the TTTT SFMP as a Proactive-Indirect plan. Neither plan explicitly identified climate change vulnerabilities and actions that will be taken to reduce those vulnerabilities and manage risks. Consequently, management tactics were not incorporated into either plan specifically in response to actual or anticipated climate change. Rather, the plans have incorporated some examples of ‘best management practices’ for sustainable forest management that are also consistent with what has been suggested to be an appropriate climate adaptation response. Both plans can therefore be described as dealing with climate change indirectly. The CATT SFMP is a reactive plan as it identifies actions that will be taken in response to change only after that change has taken place. It does not explicitly acknowledge the change driver in developing the management response. Since the TTTT plan was not developed in response to a change in the forested land base, it is classed as a proactive plan. However, it is not truly a proactive in the sense that, while it has identified monitoring and adaptive management as essential management responses to anticipate future changes, it does not explicitly identify what actions will be taken to reduce vulnerabilities and manage risks in anticipation of these changes. In the case of the TTTT plan, there is an opportunity to “learn” from the climate-driven salvage experience in the CATT. In subsequent lower-level plans, it needs to identify potential vulnerabilities to climate change and the actions that can be taken to reduce these vulnerabilities.

4.9

CONCLUSIONS

In the long-term, and in the light of progressive impacts, climate change adaptation will be necessary to achieve sustainable forest management (Ogden and Innes 2007a). However, even in a jurisdiction facing rapid ecological changes driven by climate change, where there is a relatively high level of awareness of climate change and its implications, forestry planning processes have yet to grapple directly with the risks that climate change may pose to the ability of forest managers to achieve the stated goals and objectives of sustainable forest management plans. This is despite improvements in scientific and local understanding of potential effects of climate change. It is possible that either the uncertainties associated with climate change or the lack of knowledge of how to cope with these uncertainties has discouraged the incorporation of climate change considerations into these sustainable forest management plans. However, these plans are indirectly doing a reasonable job of minimizing the risks associated with climate 121

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change largely because of their adherence to the principles and practice of sustainable forest management and the adoption of an adaptive management framework. To reduce vulnerabilities to climate change, strategic forest management planning processes would benefit from assessing alternative adaptation options to determine which are suitable to incorporate into the planning process. This involves explicitly acknowledging climate change as a driver of change, developing the information base and tools required to predict future impacts of climate change on ecosystems, documenting local and traditional knowledge on climate change, conducting research to better understand the implications of climate change on the ability of forested ecosystems in the planning area to maintain the flow of ecosystem goods and services, identifying vulnerabilities and actions that will be taken to reduce those vulnerabilities and manage risks, and developing a rigorous monitoring program to assess the effectiveness of forest management activities in maintaining the desired condition and state of the forest. It is highly unlikely that all management objectives will be reached in all cases. It is probable that climate change will result in certain thresholds being surpassed that, regardless of the intensity of management efforts, will prohibit the ability to achieve certain objectives. In these cases, expectations and objectives of forest management will need to be revisited.

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TABLE 4.1: Proposed typology to characterize how strategic forest management plans address climate change.

A proactive forest management plan identifies actions that will be taken to reduce vulnerabilities and manage risks in anticipation of change

A reactive forest management plan identifies actions that will be taken to in response to a specific change after that change has taken place

Forest management plans directly acknowledge climate change as a driver of change within the planning area

Forest management plans indirectly acknowledge climate change as a driver of change within the planning area

Proactive-Direct: Climate change vulnerabilities are explicitly identified in sustainable forest management plans as are actions that will be taken to reduce those vulnerabilities and manage risks in anticipation of climate impacts.

Proactive-Indirect: Forest management plans incorporate a ‘best management practice’ that is consistent with what has been suggested to be an appropriate climate adaptation response to reduce vulnerabilities and manage climateassociated risks, but this practice was not incorporated with the specific purpose of addressing climate change. Reactive-Indirect: Climate change vulnerabilities are not explicitly identified in a forest management plan, nor are the actions that will be taken to reduce vulnerabilities and manage risks. Forest management plans incorporate a ‘best management practice’ that is consistent with what has been suggested to be an appropriate climate adaptation response. Management practices may not effectively reduce vulnerabilities and manage risks because forest managers may not be aware of vulnerabilities and/or changes taking place on the land base and/or what is driving these changes and/or what the locally appropriate management adaptation might be.

Reactive-Direct: Climate change vulnerabilities are explicitly identified in a forest management plan, but not the actions that will be taken to reduce those vulnerabilities and manage risks. The plan establishes mechanisms to track and monitor climate change impacts (and other drivers of change) and identifies thresholds that, if crossed, warrant management attention. When impacts of climate surpass the threshold, managers are poised to develop responses that more effectively take climate change considerations into account.

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TABLE 4.2: Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for conserving biological diversity in northern forest ecosystems in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon. Management objective: conserve biological diversity of northern forest ecosystems Climate change impact Alteration of plant and animal distribution

Adaptation option* Minimize fragmentation of habitat and maintain connectivity Maintain representative forest types across environmental gradients in reserves Protect primary forests (in the boreal forest, these are defined as a forest largely undisturbed by human activities) Protect climate refugia at multiple scales Identify and protect functional groups and keystone species Provide buffer zones for adjustment of reserve boundaries Protect most highly threatened species ex situ Develop a gene management program to maintain diverse gene pools Create artificial reserves or arboreta to preserve rare species Practice low intensity forestry and prevent conversion to plantations

Increased frequency and severity of forest disturbance

Assist changes in the distribution of species by introducing them to new areas Maintain natural fire regimes Allow forests to regenerate naturally following disturbance; prefer natural regeneration wherever appropriate

Habitat invasions by non native species

Establish program to monitor invasive species and secure resources to control their establishment

CATT SFMP Goal A Objective 4; ILP Section 3.5; THPOG Section 3 ILP Section 3.5 X

TTTT SFMP Section 7.2.4; THPOG Section 3 SFMP Goal A Objective 1.1 X

X

X

SFMP Goal A Objective 3; ILP Section 3.5; THPOG Section 3 X

SFMP Goal A Objective 1.2; THPOG Section 3 X

X

X

X

SFMP Goal A Objective 1.3 X

X

SFMP Goal B SFMP Objective 3; ILP Section 7.2.3 Section 2.7.1 Yukon Bison X Management Plan Territory-wide fire suppression zonation policy ILP THPOG Section 3.2; Section 3 THPOG Section 3 Territory-wide invasive species committee

*Source: Ogden and Innes, 2007a

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TABLE 4.3: Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for maintaining the productive capacity of northern forest ecosystems in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon. Management objective: maintain productive capacity of northern forest ecosystems Climate change impact Increased frequency and severity of forest disturbance

Adaptation option* Practice high intensity forestry in areas managed for timber production where an increase in disturbance is anticipated and where the forested land base is allocated using a TRIAD approach to landscape zonation Assist in tree regeneration

CATT SFMP Goal B Objective 3; ILP Section 2.7.1

TTTT SFMP Section 7.2.3

ILP Section 3.2; THPOG Section 3 ILP Section 3.2; THPOG Section 3 X

THPOG Section 3 SFMP Section 7.2.1; THPOG Section 3 X

Include climate variables in growth and yield models in order to have more specific predictions on future development of forests

X

X

Practice high intensity forestry in areas managed for timber production to promote growth of commercial tree species and where the forested land base is allocated using a TRIAD approach to landscape zonation Include climate variables in growth and yield models in order to have more specific predictions on the future development of forests Enhance forest growth through forest fertilization

SFMP Goal B Objective 3; ILP Section 2.7.1

SFMP Section 7.2.3

X

X

X

X

Employ vegetation control techniques to offset drought

X

X

Pre-commercial thinning or selectively remove suppressed, damaged or poor quality individuals to increase resource availability to the remaining trees Plant genetically modified species and identify more suitable genotypes Underplant with other species or genotypes where the current advanced regeneration is unacceptable as a source for the future forest Design and establish a long-term multi-species / seedlot trial to test improved genotypes across a diverse array of climatic and latitudinal environments Reduce the rotation age followed by planting to speed the establishment of better adapted forest types Relax rules governing the movement of seed stocks from one area to another; examine options for modifying seed transfer limits and systems Control those undesirable plant species that will become more competitive in a changed climate

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Apply silvicultural techniques that maintain a diversity of age stands and mix of species Actively manage forest pests Decreased forest growth

Species are no longer suited to site conditions

Invasions by non native species

*Source: Ogden and Innes, 2007a

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TABLE 4.4: Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for maintaining the health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon. Management objective: maintain health and vitality of northern forest ecosystems Climate change impact Increased frequency and severity of insect and disease disturbance

Decreased health and vitality of forest ecosystems due to cumulative impacts of multiple stressors

Adaptation option* Adjust harvest schedules to harvest stands most vulnerable to insect outbreaks

Plant genotypes that are tolerant of drought, insects and/ or disease Reduce disease losses through sanitation cuts that remove infected trees Breed for pest resistance and for a wider tolerance to a range of climate stresses and extremes in specific genotypes Used prescribed burning to reduce fire risk and reduce forest vulnerability to insect outbreaks Employ silvicultural techniques to promote forest productivity and increase stand vigour (i.e. partial cutting or thinning) to lower the susceptibility to insect attack Shorten the rotation length to decrease the period of stand vulnerability to damaging insects and diseases and to facilitate change to more suitable species Reduce non-climatic stresses to enhance ability of ecosystems to respond to climate change by managing tourism, recreation and grazing impacts Reduce non-climatic stresses to enhance ability of ecosystems to respond to climate change by regulating atmospheric pollutants Reduce non-climatic stresses to enhance ability of ecosystems to respond to climate change by restoring degraded areas to maintain genetic diversity and promote ecosystem health

CATT SFMP Section 6.1.1; ILP Section 3.1; THPOG Section 3 X

TTTT THPOG Section 3

X

X

X

X

X

X

ILP Section 3.4.2

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

*Source: Ogden and Innes, 2007a

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TABLE 4.5: Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for conserving and maintaining the soil and water resources in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon. Management objective: conserve and maintain soil and water resources in northern forest ecosystems Climate change impact Increased soil erosion due to increased precipitation and melting of permafrost

Adaptation option* Maintain, decommission and rehabilitate roads to minimize sediment runoff due to increased precipitation and melting of permafrost Minimize soil disturbance through low impact harvesting activities

Minimize density of permanent road network to maximize productive forest area Limit harvesting operations to the winter to minimize road construction and soil disturbance Increased terrain instability due to extreme precipitation events or melting of permafrost More/earlier snow melt resulting in changes in the timing of peak flow and volume in streams

Avoid constructing roads in landslide prone terrain where increased precipitation and melting of permafrost may increase hazard of slope failure. Examining the suitability of current road construction standards and stream crossings to ensure they adequately mitigate the potential impacts on infrastructure, fish, and potable water of changes in timing and volume of peak flows

CATT SFMP Section 6.2; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Goal A Objective 6; ILP Section 3.1; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Section 6.2; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Section 6.2; ILP Section 3.1; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Section 6.2; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 X

TTTT SFMP Section 7.9; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Goal C Objective 3.1; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Section 7.9; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Goal C Objective 3.1; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Goal C Objective 3.1; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 X

*Source: Ogden and Innes, 2007a

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TABLE 4.6: Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for maintaining northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon. Management objective: maintain northern forest contributions to global carbon cycles Climate change impact Decrease in forest sinks and increased CO2 emissions from northern forested ecosystems due to declining forest growth and productivity

Adaptation option* Enhance forest growth and carbon sequestration through forest fertilization Modify thinning practices (timing, intensity) and rotation length to increase growth and turnover of carbon Decommission and rehabilitate roads to maximize forest sinks Minimize density of permanent road network to maximize productive forest area

Decrease in forest sinks and increased CO2 emissions from northern forested ecosystems due to increased frequency and severity of forest disturbance

Modify rotation length to increase the turnover of carbon Mitigate climate change through forest carbon management Increase forested area through afforestation Reduce forest degradation and avoid deforestation Decrease impact of natural disturbances on carbon stocks by managing fire and forest pests Minimize soil disturbance through low impact harvesting activities Enhance forest recovery after disturbance Increase the use of forests for biomass energy Practice low intensity forestry and prevent conversion to plantations

CATT X

TTTT X

X

X

SFMP Section 6.2; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Section 6.2; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 X

SFMP Section 7.9; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 SFMP Section 7.9; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 X

X

X

X

X

SFMP Goal A Objective 6 X

SFMP Goal B Objective 2.1 X

SFMP Goal A Objective 6; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 X

SFMP Goal C Objective 3.1; THPOG Sections 3 and 4 X

X

X

SFMP Goal B Objective 3; ILP Section 2.7.1

SFMP Section 7.2.3

*Source: Ogden and Innes, 2007a

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TABLE 4.7: Incorporation of climate change adaptation options for maintaining and enhancing long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon. Management objective: maintain and enhance long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies Climate change impact Decreased socioeconomic resilience

Adaptation option* Anticipate variability and change and conduct vulnerability assessments at a regional scale Enhance capacity to undertake integrated assessments of system vulnerabilities at various scales Foster learning and innovation and conduct research to determine when and where to implement adaptive responses Diversify forest economy (e.g. explore dead wood product markets, value added products)

Diversify regional economy (non forest based)

Increased frequency and severity of forest disturbance

Review forest policies, forest planning, forest management approaches and institutions to assess our ability to achieve social objectives under climate change; encourage societal adaptation (e.g. forest policies to encourages adaptation, revision of conservation objectives, changes in expectations) Develop technology to use altered wood quality and tree species composition, modify wood processing technology Make choice about the preferred tree species composition for the future; establish objectives for the future forest under climate change Enhance dialogue amongst stakeholder groups to establish priorities for action on climate adaptation in the forest sector Include risk management in management rules and forest plans and develop an enhanced capacity for risk management Conduct an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions produced by internal operations Increase awareness about the potential impact of climate change on the fire regime and encourage proactive actions in regard to fuels management and community protection Protect higher value areas from fire through firesmart techniques Increase amount of timber from salvage logging of fire or insect disturbed stands

CATT

TTTT

Initiated (Ogden et al. 2007c and d) X

X

SFMP Goal A Objectives 7, 8, 9 Encouraged in request for proposal for forest industry development SFMP Goal B Objectives 7, 8, 9, 10 Initiated (Ogden et al. 2007c and d)

X SFMP Section 8.4 SFMP Goal D Objective 4.1

SFMP Goal D Objective 4.2 X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

SFMP Section 6.1.2; ILP Section 3.4 SFMP Section 6.1.2; ILP Section 3.4; Yukon FireSmart Program SFMP Section 6.1.1; ILP Section 3.1; THPOG Section 3

X Yukon FireSmart Program THPOG Section 3

*Source: Ogden and Innes, 2007a

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TABLE 4.8: Incorporation of climate change adaptation options that may be considered to ensure the appropriate legal, institutional and economic framework is in place for forest conservation and sustainable management in the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territories, Yukon. Management objective: ensure the appropriate legal, institutional and economic framework is in place for forest conservation and sustainable management Climate change impact Forest management plans and policies lack the flexibility that is required to develop, discuss and implement adaptive responses

Forest management plans and policies enhance the vulnerability of forests and forest dependent communities to climate change

Forest management policies do not provide incentives to develop responses to climate change

Adaptation option*

CATT

TTTT

Development of flexible forest management plans and policies that are capable of responding to climate change. Provide long-term tenures to encourage long-term considerations within short term decisions Relax rules governing the movement of seed stocks from one area to another Measure, monitor and report on indicators of climate change and sustainable forest management to determine the state of the forest and identify when critical thresholds are reached Evaluate the adequacy of existing environmental and biological monitoring networks for tracking the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems, identify inadequacies and gaps in these networks and identify options to address them Practice adaptive management. Adaptive management rigorously combines management, research, monitoring, and means of changing practices so that credible information is gained and management activities are modified by experience Support research on climate change, climate impacts, and climate adaptations and increase resources for basic climate change impacts and adaptation science Support knowledge exchange, technology transfer, capacity building and information sharing on climate change; maintain or improve capacity for communications and networking

SFMP Goal A Objective 9 X

SFMP Section 8.4 X

X

X

SFMP Sections 5, 9

SFMP Sections 5, 8

X

X

SFMP Goal A Objective 9

SFMP Section 8.4

e.g. Ogden 2006; Ogden et al. 2007c and d SFMP Goal D; Projects e.g. Ogden 2006, Ogden et al. 2007c and d, McKinnon 2006 X

X

Incorporate new knowledge about the future climate and forest vulnerability into forest management plans and policies Involve the public in an assessment of forest management adaptation options Remove barriers and develop incentives to adapt to climate change. Provide incentives and remove barriers to enhancing carbon sinks and reducing greenhouse gas emissions Provide opportunities for forest management activities to be included in carbon trading systems (as outlined in Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol)

SFMP Goal E

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

*Source: Ogden and Innes, 2007a

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4.10

REFERENCES

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). 2004. Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Overview Report. Cambridge University Press, New York. Alsek Renewable Resource Council (ARRC). 2004. Strategic Forest Management Plan for the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory: Community Directions for a Sustainable Forest. Government of Yukon, Whitehorse. Bott, R., Murphy, P., and Udel, R. 2003. Learning from the forest. Fifth House, Calgary. Davidson, D.J., Williamson, T. and Parkins, J.R. 2003. Understanding climate change risk and vulnerability in northern forest-based communities. Can J For Res 33: 2252–2261. Easterling, W.E., Hurd, W.H., and Smith, J.B. 2004. Coping with global climate change: the role of adaptation in the United States. Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, Arlington. Folke, C., Colding, J., and Berkes, F. (2002) Synthesis: building resilience and adaptive capacity in social-ecological systems. In: Berkes, F., Colding, J., and Folke, C. (eds) Navigating Socialecological systems: Building resilience of complexity and change. Cambridge University Press, New York. Ford, J., Pearce, T., Smit, B., Wande,l J., Allurut, M., Shappa, K., Ittusujurat, H., and Qrunnut, K. (2006) Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in the Arctic: The Case of Nunavut, Canada. Arctic 60(2): 150–166. Garbutt, R.W. 1998. Yukon Forest Health Report (1998). Natural Resources Canada and Government of Yukon, Whitehorse. Garbutt, R.W. 2006. Yukon Forest Health Report (2005). Natural Resources Canada and Government of Yukon, Whitehorse. Garbutt, R.W., Hawkes, B.C., and Allen, E.A. 2007. Spruce beetle and the forests of the southwest Yukon. Natural Resources Canada, Victoria. Gitay, H., Suarez, A., Dokken, D.J. and Watson, R.T. (eds). 2002. Climate Change and Biodiversity. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva. Government of Yukon. 2007a. YukonWildfire Statistics from 1950 to 2006. See http://www.community.gov.yk.ca/firemanagement/sts46.html. Cited July 2007 Government of Yukon. 2007b. Forest Planning – Strategic. See http://www.emr.gov.yk.ca/forestry/. Cited July 2007 Holling, C.S. (ed.). 1978. Adaptive Environmental Assessment and Management. Wiley, New York.

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Juday, G.P.V., Barber, P., Duffy, H., Linderhorm, S., Rupp, S., Sparrow, E., Vaganov and Yarie, J. 2005, Forests, Land Management and Agriculture. In: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ed.) Arctic Climate Impact Assessment: Scientific Report. Cambridge University Press, New York. Liu, G.L., Nelson, J.D. and Wardman, C.W. 2000. A target-oriented approach to forest ecosystem design: changing the rules of forest planning. Ecological Modelling 127 (2/3): 269281. McKinnon, A. 2006. Climate Change In Our Backyard: Proceedings from Workshop in Haines Junction, Yukon, March 31-April 2, 2006. Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Alsek Renewable Resource Council, Whitehorse. Montréal Process Working Group. 1999. The Montréal Process - Explanatory brochure of the Montréal Process. http://www.mpci.org/rep-pub/1995/santiago_e.html. Cited July 2007. Morgan, M.G., Pitelka, L.F. and Shevliakova, E. 2004. Elicitation of expert judgments of climate change impacts on forest ecosystems. Climatic Change 49(3):279-307. Natural Resources Canada. 2005. The State of Canada’s Forests 2004–2005: The Boreal Forest. Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa. Ogden, A.E. 2006. Forest Management in a Changing Climate: Building the Environmental Information Base for the Southwest Yukon, Overview Report. Northern Climate ExChange, Whitehorse. Ogden, A.E. and Innes J.L. 2007a. Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations into forest management and planning in the boreal forest. International Forestry Review 9(3):713733. Ogden, A.E. and Innes J.L. 2007b. Perspectives of forest practitioners on climate change adaptation in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada. Forestry Chronicle 83(4):557569. Ogden, A.E. and Innes, J.L. 2007c. Application of a structured decision-making approach to the identification and evaluation of climate change adaptation options for forest management in the southwest Yukon, Canada. Manuscript in review. Ogden, A.E. and Innes, J.L. 2007d. Forest renewal strategies for a boreal forest impacted by climate change: an evaluation of alternative management strategies. Manuscript in prep. Ohlson, D.W., McKinnon, G.A. and Hirsch, K.G. 2005. A structured decision-making approach to climate change adaptation in the forest sector. Forestry Chronicle 81(1): 97–103. Parmesean, C. and Yohe, G. 2003. A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421: 37–42. Price, D.T. and Apps, M.J. 1996. Boreal forest responses to climate-change scenarios along an ecoclimatic transect in central Canada. Climatic Change 34(2):179-190. 132

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Schmitz, O.J., Post, T.E., Burns, C.E. and Johnston, K.M. 2003. Ecosystem Responses to Global Climate Change: Moving Beyond Color Mapping. BioScience 53(12):1199-1205. Scholze, M., Knorr, W., Arnell, N.W., and Prentice, I.C. 2006. A climate change risk analysis for world ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103(35): 12116–13120. Spittlehouse, D.L. and Stewart, R.B. 2003. Adaptation to climate change in forest management. BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management 4(1): 1–11. Spittlehouse, D.L. 2005. Integrating climate change adaptation into forest management. Forestry Chronicle 81 (5):691-695. Teslin Renewable Resource Council (TRRC). 2007 Strategic Forest Management Plan for the Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territory: Strategic Direction for Sustainable Forest Resource Development. Government of Yukon, Whitehorse.

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5.0

Forest Management in a Changing Climate: Building the Environmental Information Base for Southwest Yukon13

5.1

SUMMARY

This research note provides an overview of a project that synthesized available information on climate change for the southwest Yukon. This was done as a first step in a longer-term process of evaluating climate impacts, assessing risks to ecosystem and community values, and developing scenarios for adaptation. The overall intent of the work was to support informed forest management decision-making for the Champagne-Aishihik Traditional Territory (CATT) in the light of climate change. The objectives of this stage of the project were to: compile and improve access to existing baseline information needed to support informed management decisions in the face of climate change; to make this information available using several communication tools for various target audiences; and to create an opportunity for scientists, government; and local residents to share observations and concerns on climate change as related to the management of forest resources within the study region.

5.2

INTRODUCTION

Evidence of the high sensitivity of northern forested ecosystems to climate change is everincreasing. In recent decades, relatively minor climate changes (in comparison to what is projected to take place over the next century) have triggered significant ecological responses (Parmesean and Yohe 2003; Juday et al. 2005; Scholze et al. 2006). Climate-associated impacts such as drought, wildfire, and outbreaks of insects and diseases are projected to become more frequent and severe across the boreal forest, affecting forest productivity, ecosystem functioning, and habitat values (Juday et al. 2005; Bhatti et al. 2003). Northern forest-dependent communities are expected to be significantly impacted by these ecological changes because of their strong connections to forested ecosystems (Davidson et al. 2003). Healthy, resilient forests are the foundation of the Strategic Forest Management Plan for the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Traditional Territory (CATT) of southwestern Yukon. It is therefore important to assess current and future implications of climate change to forests and 13

This chapter has been published. Ogden, A.E. 2007. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for southwest Yukon. Forestry Chronicle 83(6):806-809.

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Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for southwest Yukon

forest-dependent communities in the CATT. Developing responses to climate change in Canada’s North will require access to the best available science-based and local information, an understanding of local values and knowledge, and methods for integrating these different forms of information so that they can be effectively used by management bodies to support decisionmaking. Between 2004 and 2006, a project was administered through the Northern Climate Exchange to synthesize available information on climate change for the southwest Yukon. This project is the first step in a longer-term process of evaluating climate impacts, assessing risks to ecosystem and community values, and developing scenarios for adaptation, with the overall intent of supporting informed forest management decision-making for the CATT in light of climate change. The objectives of this stage of the project were to compile and improve access to existing baseline information needed to support informed management decisions in the face of climate change, to make this information available using variety of communication tools for various target audiences, and to create an opportunity for scientists, government; and local residents to share observations and concerns on climate change as related to the management of forest resources within the study region. This research note provides an overview of the project.

5.3

BACKGROUND

The CATT has several characteristics that make it especially suitable to building a knowledge base to support land and resource management decision-making in light of climate change. Firstly, current observations suggest that this region is vulnerable to climate change impacts related to insect outbreaks and forest drought stress, impacts that may be exacerbated because of the low forest biodiversity (Garbutt et al. 2007). A severe spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) infestation is affecting the forests in the region. The infestation was first recorded in 1993 when it was 30,000 ha in size, and likely began in the late 1980s or early 1990s. By 2005 the infestation had grown to 380,000 ha. Fire hazard in the area has increased because of the increased quantity, flammability and extent of forest fuels, increasing the risk of catastrophic loss of property (Garbutt et al. 2007). The elevated fire hazard will remain for many years because of the slow progress of decay in the dry, cold climate of this region (Garbutt et al. 2007). The widespread mortality of white spruce trees has also increased economic opportunities associated with salvage harvesting, decreased the range and variety of timber forest products that may be produced, affected the visual quality of landscapes, reduced the value of the forest for recreation 135

Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for southwest Yukon

and tourism and has resulted in significant changes to the regional ecology (ARRC 2004). Secondly, First Nation and Territorial governments and the community-based Alsek Renewable Resource Council have approved a Strategic Forest Management Plan for the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory that is focused on maintaining ecosystem and community health and stability over the long term (ARRC 2004). Climate change impacts are likely to have an influence on the ability of forest managers to achieve these forest management goals. The strategic plan also identifies goals associated with cooperative forest management and planning and building local capacity. These provide the vehicle and forum to make management decisions that are adaptive and effective in the face of climate change. Thirdly, building capacity in the Southwest Yukon to respond to climate change is particularly critical as these ecosystems provide a wide range of services to the local and regional community, including use for recreation, subsistence, and forest harvest.

5.4

BUILDING THE ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION BASE

The project website (NCE 2006) describes and presents materials developed through this project to support the incorporation of climate change into forest management decision-making in the CATT. The website contains a description of the goals and objectives of the project, a list of project team members, a description of the study area, an overview of information sources, a compendium of information sources, climate change scenarios for the southern Yukon, five technical background reports, an overview report, nine climate change indicators, and links to related websites. An overview of this project-related information is also provided below. An interagency project team was assembled to guide the project. The project team helped to identify information sources and a network of experts and scientists who were contacted to provide information, data, ideas, guidance or advice and comment on the accuracy and completeness of the reports generated by the project. The project team reviewed the various products that were generated by this project, and some team members wrote or gave input into the technical reports and the overview report. The project team also assisted in identifying both contributing authors for the background reports and workshop presenters and a variety of tools to communicate the results of the project to the residents of the southwest Yukon. As the combined perspectives of science, local knowledge and traditional knowledge can lead to a broader understanding of environmental change than any knowledge system can accomplish 136

Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for southwest Yukon

alone (Krupnik and Jolly 2002), information gathering for this project encompassed the many systems of knowledge about climate and environmental change in southwest Yukon. However, this was limited to summarizing existing, documented and publicly accessible sources of scientific and local knowledge, data and information on climate change and forest resources in the region. Information was gathered through literature reviews and networking with relevant researchers, community contacts, and practitioners. In addition the Alsek Renewable Resource Council (ARRC) coordinated efforts to gather existing sources of information that contain local knowledge and perspectives on climate change and forest management. The information sources were compiled into a database that included bibliographic descriptions of all relevant information sources. Over 500 records, including journal articles, books, university theses, data collections, conference and workshop papers or proceedings, and government reports were reviewed and an on-line, searchable database was constructed (NCE 2006). Once the compendium was developed, the next step was to summarize information relevant to climate change and forest management in the southwest Yukon. In total, 15 authors contributed to the development of five technical background reports: •

Climate, climate variability and climate change in the southwest Yukon (Ogden 2006a)



The changing physical environment of the southwest Yukon (Johnson et al. 2006)



Climate change and major forest disturbance in southwest Yukon (Ogden 2006b)



Climate change and ecosystem dynamics in southwest Yukon (Johnstone et al. 2006)



Climate change and social/cultural values in the southwest Yukon: A resilience-building perspective (Clark 2006)

Each technical background report reviewed the current state of knowledge on current and future impacts and implications of climate change, forest management considerations, knowledge gaps and research needs and was made available through the project website (NCE 2006) Local indicators of climate change relevant to forest management were also developed with assistance from the local interagency Research and Monitoring Technical Working Group (RMTWG). The RMTWG was established to develop a long-term monitoring program to support the implementation of the SFMP for the southwest Yukon. The intent of the monitoring program is to record observations on the status and trends of key environmental, social and 137

Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for southwest Yukon

economic variables to inform forest management decision-making in the region, and to track the performance of various forest management activities in achieving desired management outcomes. The monitoring program will assist with efforts to adaptively manage the forests in this region. This project contributed the following nine indicators to this monitoring program: temperature, precipitation, drought index, frost free days, lightning, beetle infestation, forest fire occurrence, fire weather index, and potential fire behaviour. For each indicator, questions asked what is happening, why is it happening, why is it important, forest management considerations, and knowledge gaps. Again, this information was made available through the project website (NCE 2006). The project and the key findings of the technical reports were summarized into a plain-language overview report (Ogden 2006c; Appendix C). The project team and other experts and scientists reviewed the overview report for accuracy and completeness, and a plain-language editor was hired to ensure the report was accessible to a wide audience. The overview report was distributed at the community workshop. A poster was also developed that summarized the results of the project; this was provided local resource management agencies and others. A climate change workshop, hosted by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation and the Alsek Renewable Resource Council, was held in Haines Junction in March 2006. One day was devoted to discussions on the topic of “Our Changing Boreal Forest”. During this session, the results of the project were presented. The workshop was attended by over 130 people, including representatives of governments, managers, scientists, and local people with an interest in climate change. The workshop included a number of presentations from scientists, local residents, government employees and elders. Participants were given the opportunity to discuss their observations and provide information on knowledge gaps and research needs through a series of roundtable discussions. The questions discussed during the roundtable discussions were: •

Community fire planning: What resources do you have and need in your community to help protect it in the event of a fire? What are you willing to do to protect yourself and property? What are your interests and concerns about fuel abatement activities, including logging, around your community? What fuel reduction options do you feel are best suited for the hazardous areas outside of your community?

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Observations of change: What changes have you noticed with our fish? What changes have you noticed with our wildlife? What changes have you noticed with our forest? What changes have you noticed with our weather and environment? What changes have you noticed with our landscapes and glaciers? What changes have you noticed with our people?



Climate change and fish and wildlife management: Which fish and wildlife species are likely to be sensitive to climate change? What can we do to maintain fish and wildlife in a changing climate? How should we adapt to climate-induced changes in fish and wildlife? How should we monitor these changes and how can local people be involved?



Climate change and fire management: How would fire affect different traditional uses of forests in the Traditional Territory? How should we consider changing fire regimes in how we manage forests and forest fires?



Climate change and forest renewal: How might climate change affect the growth of plants and trees? How should we consider climate change in reforestation programs?

A detailed description of the results of the workshop is available in a workshop report (McKinnon 2006).

5.5

CONCLUSIONS

The challenges posed by climate change in the southwest Yukon are representative of the issues that many northern communities will face in the future. This project, a first step in a longer term process of assessing climate change impacts and developing knowledge-based adaptation and management response within a multi-stakeholder environment, provides an example that can be used to inform management processes in other northern communities. To further reduce vulnerabilities to climate change, a logical next step is to assess alternative adaptation options to determine which are suitable to implement in this region given the nature of climate impacts and forest management objectives. This may involve explicitly acknowledging climate change as a driver of change, taking additional steps to document local and traditional knowledge on climate change, conducting research to better understand the implications of climate change to the desired flow of ecosystem goods and services from forested ecosystems in the region, identifying vulnerabilities and actions that will be taken to reduce those vulnerabilities and manage risks, and implementing a rigorous monitoring program to better understand the role that climate 139

Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for southwest Yukon

change may play as a driver of change and to assess the effectiveness of forest management activities in maintaining the desired condition and state of the forest.

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5.6

REFERENCES

Alsek Renewable Resource Council (ARRC). 2004. Strategic forest management plan for the Champagne and Aishihik Traditional Territory: community directions for a sustainable forest. Government of Yukon, Whitehorse. Bhatti, J.S., van Kooten, G.C., Apps, M.J., Laird, L.D., Campbell, I.D., Campbell, C., Turetsky, M.R.,Yu, Z. and Banfield, E. 2003. Carbon balance and climate change in boreal forests. In: Burton, P.J., Messier, C., Smith, D.W. and Adamowicz, W.L. (eds.) Towards sustainable management of the boreal forest. National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. pp. 799-855. Clark, D. 2006. Climate change and social/cultural values in the southwest Yukon: A resiliencebuilding perspective. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for the southwest Yukon. Background report. Northern Climate ExChange, Whitehorse, Yukon. Available at http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/backgrounders.cfm Davidson, D.J., T. Williamson and J.R. Parkins. 2003. Understanding climate change risk and vulnerability in northern forest-based communities. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 33:2252-2261. Garbutt R.W., Hawkes B.C., and Allen E.A. 2007. Spruce beetle and the forests of the southwest Yukon. Natural Resources Canada, Victoria. Johnson, P., Lipovsky, P., Zdanowicz, C., McKenna, K., Janowicz, R. Smith, S., Clague, J., and Ogden, A.E. 2006. The changing physical environment of the southwest Yukon. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for the southwest Yukon. Background report. Northern Climate ExChange, Whitehorse, YT. Available at http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/backgrounders.cfm Johnstone, J. Leung, M., Nixon, W., Ogden, A.E., O'Donoghue, M., Boutin, S., and Maraj, R. 2006. Climate change and ecosystem dynamics in southwest Yukon. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for the southwest Yukon. Background report. Northern Climate ExChange, Whitehorse, YT Available at http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/backgrounders.cfm Juday, G.P., Barber, V., Duffy, P., Linderhorm, H., Rupp, S., Sparrow, S. Vaganov E., and Yarie, J. 2005. Forests, land management and agriculture. In: Arctic climate impact assessment: scientific report. Cambridge University Press, UK. pp. 781–862. Krupnik, I and Jolly, D., eds. 2002. The earth is faster now: indigenous observations of Arctic environmental change. Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, Fairbanks, Alaska. 384pp. McKinnon, A. 2006. Climate change in our backyard. Proceedings from Workshop in Haines Junction, Yukon, March 31-April 2, 2006. Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Alsek Renewable Resource Council, Haines Junction, YT.

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Northern Climate ExChange (NCE). 2006. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for the southwest Yukon. Project website. http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/index.cfm. Accessed 1 August 2007. Ogden, A.E. 2006a. Climate, climate variability and climate change in the southwest Yukon. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for the southwest Yukon. Background report. Northern Climate ExChange, Whitehorse, YT. Available at http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/backgrounders.cfm Ogden, A.E. 2006b. Climate change and major forest disturbance in southwest Yukon. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for the southwest Yukon. Background report. Northern Climate ExChange, Whitehorse, YT. Available at http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/backgrounders.cfm Ogden, A.E. 2006c. Forest management in a changing climate: building the environmental information base for the southwest Yukon. Overview report. Northern Climate ExChange, Whitehorse, YT. Available at http://yukon.taiga.net/swyukon/report.cfm Parmesean, C., and Yohe, G. 2003. A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421: 37–42. Scholze, M., Knorr, W., Arnell, N.W., and Prentice, I.C. 2006. A climate change risk analysis for world ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103(35): 12116–13120.

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6.0

Application of a structured decision-making approach to an assessment of climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options for forest management in the southwest Yukon, Canada14

6.1

SUMMARY

A logical starting point for climate change adaptation in the forest sector is to proactively identify management practices and policies that have a higher likelihood of achieving management objectives across a wide range of potential climate futures, followed by implementing and monitoring the success of these options in achieving management objectives within an adaptive management context. This research implements an approach to identifying locally-appropriate adaptation options by tapping into the experiential knowledge base of local forest practitioners while at the same time, building capacity within this community to implement the results. We engaged 30 forest practitioners who are involved with the implementation of a regional forest management plan in a series of sessions and applied a structured decision-making approach to the identification of climate change vulnerabilities and an evaluation of alternative adaptation options. Practitioners identified 24 adaptation options that are considered to be important to implement to achieve the regional goals and objectives of sustainable forest management in light of climate change.

6.2

INTRODUCTION

To date, discussions around when, where and how to adapt forest management plans to incorporate climate change considerations have been limited in the boreal forest. Adaptation seeks to reduce or moderate risks associated with climate change and may involve addressing increased uncertainty and/or anticipated climate change impacts (Ohlson et al. 2005). Adaptation planning in the forest sector is important for three main reasons: 1) climate change is already occurring in some regions where forest-based communities and forest ecosystems are vulnerable; 2) even with aggressive measures to control greenhouse gas emissions, current concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere commit the earth to continued climate change; and 3)

14

This manuscript has been accepted with revisions for publication by the journal Ecology and Society and is currently under revision. Ogden, A.E and J.L. Innes. Application of a structured decision-making approach to an ssessment of climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options for forest management in the southwest Yukon, Canada. Please note: title may change.

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proactive approaches to adaptation are more likely to avoid or reduce negative impacts of climate change than reactive responses (Easterling et al. 2004; Ford et al. 2006; Hare and Meinshausen 2006). An effective policy for adaptation to climate change must be responsive to multiple objectives (Burton et al. 2002) particularly in the forest sector where socio-economic and environmental systems are intricately linked. For forests to be managed sustainably as the climate continues to change, an appropriate balance of fundamental economic, social, cultural and environmental management objectives must be sought (Ogden and Innes 2007b). Research suggests that climate change may alter how trade-offs amongst these often-competing dimensions of forest management are considered and negotiated (Ogden and Innes 2007b; Ohlson et al. 2005). Integrating climate change adaptation considerations into existing decision-making processes is called ‘mainstreaming’ and can lead to “win-win” policies – those that reduce vulnerability to climatic change while simultaneously addressing other priorities (Ford et al. 2006). Policies targeting climate change adaptation alone may not be practical and they may not be successfully incorporated into decision-making processes (Burton and Lim, 2005; O’Brien and Leichenko, 2000; Dowlatabadi, 2002; Dowlatabadi 2007; Lim et al. 2005; Patwardhan, 2006). It is also important for key local actors and institutions to be involved in mainstreaming since they play a significant role in knowledge transfer and policy development (Huq et al. 2005; Ford et al. 2006; Newton et al. 2005). Interventions will be more successful if they are identified and developed by local actors, as they (the interventions) are more likely to be consistent with local priorities, goals, norms and institutions (Newton et al. 2005; Chapin et al. 2006). Conversely, a recommendation that fails to involve consultation with local communities and/or government institutions is far less likely to be adopted (Newton et al. 2005). Forest managers need to gain experience in developing and evaluating alternative adaptation options (Ohlson et al. 2005). While generic options exist in the literature (e.g. Ogden and Innes 2007b; Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003), little research is being done to evaluate these options in a regional or applied context. Structured decision-making provides a useful framework to assess when and where a particular adaptation option may be suitable (Ogden and Innes 2007b; Ohlson et al. 2005). In relation to adaptation to climate change, structured decision-making (SDM) involves: 1) establishing management objectives for the future forest; 2) determining the vulnerability of forest ecosystems, forest communities, local economies and human populations; 144

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3) developing alternative adaptation options; 4) evaluating alternative options against management objectives; 5) implementation of desired adaptation policies and measures; 6) monitoring the effectiveness of climate change adaptation efforts in achieving management objectives; and 7) modify management practices when adaptation efforts are not successful in meeting management objectives (e.g. adaptive management) (Ohlson et al. 2005; Ogden and Innes 2007b). The uncertainties associated with projections of climate change and associated impacts emphasize the need to identify robust management options – those that are likely to achieve the objectives of sustainable forest management and are likely to perform well across a wide range of potential future climate conditions (Ogden and Innes 2007b; Lempert et al. 2003). Forestry practitioners in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada were recently involved in a study to document their perspectives on the likely impacts of climate change on forest sector sustainability and adaptation options to climate change (Ogden and Innes 2007a). The majority of practitioners in this study considered the goals of adaptation to be synonymous with the criteria of sustainable forest management, as has been suggested by current research (Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Ogden and Innes 2007b), indicating the Montréal Process criteria provide a suitable structure for the assessment of adaptation options (aka Step 4 of the above-described structured decision-making process). Since the choice of adaptation options may vary according to factors such as the magnitude, rate and location of climate change, management objectives, social acceptability and economic feasibility and all of these vary from place to place, practitioners in this study expressed difficulties in assessing options without a specific geographical context, such as a planning unit with defined management objectives and identified values. This study recommended that additional work to assess adaptation options should therefore consider being confined to a particular planning area where regionally-defined objectives for forest management have been identified and a regional assessment of current and future vulnerabilities to climate change has been completed (Ogden and Innes 2007a). The goal of the project reported here was to apply three steps in the structured decision-making process (assess vulnerability, develop alternative adaptation options, evaluate options against management objectives) to a regional forest management planning context. For the assessment of adaptation options, we applied the format developed by Ogden and Innes (2007b). The intent is to explore practitioner perspectives on adaptation in a specific geographical context that is being studied because it is of special interest, and is not intended to create generalizations (Stake 145

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1995). To assess vulnerabilities and options for adaptation, the following research questions were explored through a series of sessions held with local forest practitioners: •

Assessment of vulnerabilities - Is the existing knowledge held by forest practitioners on climate change, its impacts and ways to adapt to climate change a barrier to the implementation of adaptive responses? Have forest practitioners observed changes in various attributes of environmental, social and economic systems over the past 20 years that they attribute to recent climate warming? What factors do forest practitioners consider to be contributing to the adaptive capacity of the forest sector and forest-based communities to climate change? To what degree do forest practitioners consider the forest sector and forest-dependent communities as being vulnerable to the impacts of climate change?



Assessment of adaptation options - What is the considered importance of alternative adaptation options to achieving objectives of sustainable forest management under low and high scenarios of climate change? Are any of these adaptation options currently being practiced? What management options are considered to be likely to perform well across a range of potential future climate change scenarios? Is the framework suggested by Ogden and Innes (2007b) useful to an evaluation of adaptation options in a regional forest management context?

This paper examines how participants responded to these questions.

6.3

STUDY AREA – CHAMPAGNE AND AISHIHIK TRADITIONAL TERRITORY, SOUTHWEST YUKON

The study area encompassed the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Traditional Territory (CATT) in southwest Yukon, Canada. Accumulating evidence suggests that this region is already experiencing the impacts of climate change: warmer winters and warmer and drier summers over the past 15 years have contributed to a severe spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) outbreak, affecting almost 400,000 ha of white spruce (Picea glauca) forest (of an estimated 600,000 ha) in the traditional territory (Ogden 2007d; Garbutt 2005; ACIA 2004). This is the largest and most intense outbreak of spruce beetle ever to affect Canadian trees (ACIA 2004). After almost 20 years, the infestation has recently begun to show signs of tapering off (Garbutt 2005). While 146

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climate has played a critical role in increasing the population of beetles to epidemic levels and weakening the defenses of the spruce trees, the infestation has been exacerbated by large tracts of mature white spruce that characterize the forests in this region. This outbreak has: contributed to increased potential fire hazards for communities; increased risk of catastrophic loss of property; affected visual landscapes; reduced the value of the forest for timber, recreation and tourism; and impacted ecosystems (ARRC 2004). Since the mid-1990s, the spruce beetle outbreak has been driving forest management and planning efforts in the affected region. In December 2004, the Strategic Forest Management Plan (SFMP) for the CATT was jointly approved by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Government, and the Government of Yukon; it outlines the goals and objectives for forest management in the traditional territory. The plan was developed by the locally-based Alsek Renewable Resource Council as mandated under Chapter 17 of the Champagne Aishihik Final Agreement. The plan identifies reduction of fire hazard, forest renewal, economic benefits and preservation of wildlife habitat as priorities. In April 2006, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and the Government of Yukon jointly set a harvest level of up to one million cubic meters of beetle-affected timber over ten years. The SFMP explicitly incorporates a commitment to an adaptive management framework that includes monitoring the effects of forest management activities and modifying practices as necessary to ensure that the objectives are being met. Recently, an Integrated Landscape Plan (ILP) was released that established areas where forest development planning may take place which is called the Forest Resource Management Zone (Government of Yukon and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations 2007). The focal area for this project was this zone which is approximately 93,700 ha (38% of the forest area, 4.8% of the traditional territory). The southwest Yukon provides an ideal case study for research into adaptation policies. The impacts of climate change on the forests are forcing changes to the social and economic sectors of local communities that are dependent on the goods and services provided by these forests. Climate change impacts are likely to affect whether or not the goals of the community-directed SFMP, which include having functioning forest ecosystems and providing community sustainability and benefits, can be achieved (Ogden 2007d). The spruce bark beetle infestation has heightened awareness of the often-abstract issue of climate change among local communities and management agencies, providing a rallying point to explore adaptation planning. The 147

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strategic plan also identifies goals of cooperative forest management and planning and building local capacity which, along a commitment to follow an adaptive management framework, provide the vehicle and forum to make management decisions that incorporate climate change considerations. Local agencies responsible for SFMP implementation – the Government of Yukon, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and the Alsek Renewable Resource Council – have expressed an interest in research that can inform plan implementation as evident by their establishment of a technical working group devoted to research and monitoring. Few examples of community-directed and co-managed approaches to forest management exist in the boreal forest, and therefore this project provides opportunities for learning in a broader context. Lastly, an interdisciplinary and collaborative synthesis of existing knowledge on the impacts of climate change on forest resources has been completed for the region that helps set the stage for adaptation policy research (Ogden 2007d).

6.4

METHODS

6.4.1

Project planning team

Several lessons have emerged from experiences with research and resource co-management in the southwest Yukon that are essential when designing any policy research project. They include the necessity of understanding other actors’ standpoints and perspectives, the limited prospects for ideas about ecosystem-based management imported from elsewhere, the need for place-based social learning, and the need to strengthen trust between community and government partners (Wortley 2003; Clarke and Slocombe 2004). Given this experience, participatory research approaches were considered appropriate for this study. Participatory research has the potential to enhance willingness, capacity and understanding among participants which are all essential to successful decision-making in resource management (Gunderson and Holling 2001). A project planning team – consisting of researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and representatives of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Lands and Resources Department and the Government of Yukon, Forest Management Branch – was struck to guide the planning and implementation of the research. The project team reviewed, revised and approved the project proposal, identified participants, helped to secure funding, participated in the pilot session and developed a plan for the dissemination of results. The project team consulted members of the local Research and Monitoring Technical Working Group for feedback on the project proposal, participant list and steps that should be taken to follow-up on project results. 148

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6.4.2

The forest practitioner target group

The project involved documenting the perspectives of local forest practitioners or individuals who are involved with the planning and management of forest-based resources. Taking into account the northern context of the project, this definition was purposefully broad so as to encompass those with social, cultural, economic and/or environmental expertise, and holders of local, traditional and/or scientific knowledge of forest-based resources (Ogden and Innes 2007a). Practitioners are be well-informed, highly-knowledgeable individuals whose employment or livelihood is tied to the forest sector and who tend to be employed by key decision-making agencies; alternatively, they may be stakeholders who are instrumental in driving forestry decision-making (Williamson et al 2005). Documenting the perspectives of practitioners could therefore provide useful insights into the state of knowledge and practice on climate adaptation and the readiness of practitioners to engage in adaptive strategies (Williamson et al 2005). The applied knowledge held by forest practitioners can also provide useful insights for decisionmakers while research to produce more definitive results is ongoing, particularly in situations characterized by complexity and deep uncertainty (Morgan et al. 2001). The forest practitioners targeted in this study were all involved in some way with the implementation of the SFMP for the CATT. The SFMP outlines community directions for forest management and planning, and practitioners play an important role in developing, implementing and/or reviewing operational forest management plans to ensure the goals and objectives of forest management are achieved. Engaging practitioners in this study provided an opportunity to build collective understanding of the measures that might be taken to adapt to climate change. In addition, we felt that exposing practitioners to adaptation-related considerations might help to build a foundation for incorporating them into longer-term forest management and planningrelated decisions. A list of 59 local forest practitioners was compiled by the project team in consultation with the representatives of the local forestry-based Research and Monitoring Technical Working Group. Participants were selected using non-probability, purposive or judgmental sampling since the small size of the forest practitioner population did not permit probability-based sampling techniques (Babbie and Benaquisto 2002). Identified practitioners included individuals employed by First Nation, territorial and federal governments, comanagement organizations, industry, academic and non-governmental organizations. A letter of invitation was sent to each of the practitioners to participate in a one-day session. For those who 149

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confirmed interest in participating, a package was sent in advance of the session containing: a mail-back form to indicate availability for a series of alternative dates; a letter of consent to indicate that the participant was aware of the purpose of the session and how the information would be used; the agenda; a copy of the workbook that was used during the session; and a list of background information (including ARRC 2004; Ogden and Innes 2007a; Ogden and Innes 2007b; Ogden 2007d; McKinnon 2006; Juday et al. 2004) that was made available to participants upon request.

6.4.3

Data collection

Practitioners were led through a series of questions in a workbook that was completed by each participant during a one-day session. The sessions resembled focus groups in that a number of small group sessions were held that were attended by a small group of like-minded participants, but differed from traditional focus groups in that the participants worked through a very structured series of questions in a workbook. The purpose of the session was to ensure there was a common understanding among participants of the questions being asked in the workbook. Since we were interested in gaining an understanding of the range of opinions among practitioners, no attempt was made to reach consensus on any of the questions. A pilot-test for the sessions was undertaken. This identified a number of modifications that were needed to the workbook (e.g. wording of questions, reducing the number of questions). Following modification to the workbook based on feedback obtained from the pilot test, five sessions were held, each consisting of six to eight people. Efforts were made to create a comfortable, non-judgmental, permissive environment and to place individuals within groups where participants were likely to share common ideas. The sessions were moderated by a neutral, skilled facilitator who was familiar with the subject matter. The facilitator was neither in position of power or influence over participants, nor affiliated with a governing body or a controversial issue in the community so as to not jeopardize the quality of the results (Kruger and Casey 2000). At the start of the session, the facilitator introduced the goals and objectives of the research project and explained how the information that was gathered was going to be used. Throughout the day, the facilitator introduced the various sections of the workbook and encouraged discussion on the nature and intent of the questions to ensure they were commonly understood. After each section of the workbook was introduced, the practitioners were given time to complete that section of the workbook such that the entire workbook was completed over the course of the day-long session. 150

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Discussions on individual responses to the questions in the workbook were limited so as to not influence the responses being provided by the participants.

6.4.4

Participant workbook

A workbook was used to document the views of individual forest practitioners. A copy of the workbook may be viewed in Appendix D.The sequence of questions followed the structured decision-making approach described above. Although participants completed the workbook during the session, the workbook was designed to be self-administered – an introduction to the workbook and each section within the workbook was provided and all terminology was clearly defined. In addition, consistent rating scales were used throughout the workbook. The workbook was 65 pages in length, was provided to participants in advance of their session for review, and consisted of the following sections: •

Introductory sections including agenda, consent form, and background information



Participant information



Establishment of goals/objectives



Assessment of climate change vulnerabilities



Identification and evaluation of alternative management options



Identification of alternative forest renewal adaptation strategies



Evaluation of alternative strategies by forest management objectives in the CATT



Application of alternative strategies to CATT landscape zones



Identification of key uncertainties and research needs



Feedback from participants



Appendices including definitions, acronyms and map showing forest management zones

This paper concentrates on the analysis of the responses concerning the assessment of vulnerabilities and the evaluation of alternative management options. A description of the results of the identification and evaluation of alternative forest renewal adaptation strategies and their application to landscape zones in the study area is provided in a separate paper (Ogden and Innes 2007c).

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6.4.4.1 Climate scenarios Participants were provided with climate normals and scenarios of climate change for the region obtained from Environment Canada’s Weather Office and the Climate Change Scenarios Network. Climate normal data from the nearest weather station to the study area with a complete record, Burwash Landing, were referenced. Between the periods 1951-1988 and 1971-2000, climate normals show an increase in annual mean temperature and a decrease in total annual precipitation (Table 6.1). There are 32 climate scenarios available for the southern Yukon. To represent the range of possible future conditions, the 32 scenarios were ranked from lowest to highest according to the change in annual temperature and precipitation. The lower and upper estimates of future change that were used were the 4th and 29th ranking respectively following Burn et al. (2004). The final two columns of Table 6.1 present the projected change to 2050 from the baseline (1961-1990). These “low” and “high” scenarios of future change were used throughout the workbook as described further below. Climate scenarios agree that the Yukon will become warmer over the next 50 years, and more precipitation is projected (Table 6.1). Participants were alerted to the uncertainty associated with the climate scenarios (e.g. as discussed by Bonsal et al. 2003).

6.4.4.2 Assessment of vulnerabilities We then explored practitioner perspectives on vulnerabilities of the forest sector and forestdependent communities to climate change in the study area. The IPCC definitions of vulnerability, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were used to structure the questioning in this section (IPCC 2001). We provided practitioners with a list of observed climate change impacts on northern forested ecosystems, and associated socio-economic systems, that we compiled from relevant literature (ACIA 2004; IPCC 2001; Lemmen and Warren 2004) including two local projects (Ogden 2007d; McKinnon 2006). We asked practitioners to provide their perspective on the extent to which changes in these systems had been observed in the region over the past 20 years in response to recent climatic warming as an indication of sensitivity. We then asked practitioners to provide an indication of the adaptive capacity of the region by indicating the extent to which they consider various factors that influence adaptive capacity to be present in the region. The list of factors influencing adaptive capacity were compiled from relevant literature (IPCC, 2001; Folke et al., 2002; Yohe and Tol, 2002; Berkes and Jolly, 2002; Smit and Pilifosova, 2001). Practitioners then provided their perspective on the degree to which the forest sector and forest-dependent communities in the CATT are vulnerable to climate change impacts. 152

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Practitioners were asked to assess current vulnerability based on changes observed to date in the region. Then, practitioners were asked to evaluate vulnerability for low and high scenarios of future climate change (Table 6.1). Participants were given the opportunity to revise and add to the list of climate change impacts and factors influencing adaptive capacity during the session.   6.4.4.3 Identification and evaluation of alternative management options Practitioners evaluated an extensive list of 84 adaptation options. The adaptation options were structured using a format developed by Ogden and Innes (2007b) who conducted a literature review of climate change adaptation options for forest management (e.g. Spittlehouse and Stewart 2003; Noss 2001; Biringer 2003; Chapin et al. 2004; Gitay et al. 2001; IPCC 2000; Lemmen and Warren 2004; Kellomaki et al. 2005; BCMOF 2006; Johnston et al. 2006) and organized the options according to the criteria of the Montréal Process15 which are complementary to the goals and objectives of the SFMP. The use of this structure enabled comparisons to be made between this project and a recent survey of practitioners in the Yukon and Northwest Territories that also applied this structure to an evaluation of adaptation options (Ogden and Innes 2007a). As a starting point, we asked practitioners to indicate which of the adaptation options are currently being practiced in the Yukon since an understanding of current management practices that may contribute to reducing vulnerability to climate change may help to bring into focus the incremental costs and benefits of additional adaptation measures (Ohlson et al. 2005). Practitioners were also invited to suggest additional adaptation options than those presented. Then we sought their opinion on the importance of implementing these options under current climate conditions and under low and high scenarios of projected climate change. In evaluating the options, practitioners were asked to consider their importance to implement in areas that are subject, or will be subject to, forest development planning in the region; specifically, the 93,700 ha Forest Resource Management Zone identified in the regional Integrated Landscape Plan. Because the uncertainties regarding climate itself are profound, there is a strong need to seek robust management policies and practices that are likely to do reasonably well over a wide range of conditions. We defined these ‘no regrets’ options as those that are considered by the group of practitioners as a whole to be important to implement to achieve 15

Montréal Process criteria are: 1 – conservation of biological diversity; 2 – maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems; 3 – maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality; 4 – conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources; 5 – maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles; 6 – maintenance and enhancement of long-term socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies; and 7 – legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management (Montréal Process Working Group 2006)

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forest management objectives across a wide range of possible future climate conditions (Ogden and Innes 2007b). Similarly, management options that were not considered to be important to implement under any scenario, which we term ‘no go’ options, were identified.

6.5

RESULTS

A detailed report on the results may be viewed in Appendix E. A summary of the key results that pertain to the research questions is presented below.

6.5.1

Participant information

A total of 30 practitioners completed their workbooks. Twenty-nine participants attended sessions and three self-administered the workbook outside of the session following an introduction and review of the workbook with a member of the research team. Two individuals who attended the sessions did not complete their workbooks. The majority of participants (53%) were employed by territorial government agencies, 20% by the federal government, 13% by the First Nations Government, and 10% by a NGO. When asked which of the pillars of sustainable forest management -- environmental, economic, social and cultural -- their work was most concerned with, 53% of practitioners indicated all of the above, and 47% indicated environmental. Most participants were highly experienced; 53% indicated they have been a forest practitioner for more than 16 years, 17% indicated they have 11-15 years of experience, and 20% indicated they have 6-10 years of experience. In addition, many (54%) participants indicated they have lived/worked in the Yukon for 11 years or more. Since the sample size was too small to enable an exploration of differences in perspectives from practitioners with different backgrounds, the data were merged into a single dataset for analysis. For the most part, practitioners considered the general state of knowledge about various aspects of climate change in the study area as being fair to poor. The state of knowledge of 20th century climate change was ranked highest (86% fair to good); whereas knowledge of impacts received lower ranks (73% poor to fair). Knowledge of how to adapt to the impacts of climate change also received low ranks, with 73% indicating that the state of knowledge in this area was only poor to fair. No participants felt that there is excellent knowledge of either 20th climate change or its impacts. Participants were also asked to perform a self-assessment of their knowledge of various 154

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aspects of climate change as they pertain to the CATT. For the most part, practitioners ranked their own knowledge as being fair to poor. Their knowledge of 20th century climate change climate change was greatest (83% fair to good), whereas knowledge of impacts received lower ranks (73% – 80% poor to fair, depending on the area of impact). Knowledge of how to adapt to the impacts of climate change also received low ranks, with 77% indicating that their knowledge in this area was poor. Only one participant indicated having an excellent knowledge of either climate change or its impacts. Through some introductory questions, we tried to get a sense if practitioners consider climate change to be an important issue (Table 6.2). If they do not, they may be less motivated to look for ways to incorporate climate change considerations into forest management decisions. All participants agreed or strongly agreed that climate change was real, 90% agreed or strongly agreed that human activities are very likely the cause, and all agreed that it was important to include climate change considerations in land and resource management decisions. Interestingly, far fewer (63%) agreed or strongly agreed that “because of climate change, this region will be very different in the next 50 years”, and 43% were unsure whether or not to agree with the statement “there are many other factors that will cause changes in the region in the next 50 years that will be more important than climate change”.

6.5.2

Assessment of vulnerabilities

Participants were asked to provide their perspective on the extent to which 15 climate change impacts have been observed in the CATT over the past 20 years in response to recent changes in regional climate conditions (Table 6.3). All suggested impacts were noted by at least some of the practitioners as having been observed. The most notable impact was a change in the intensity, severity or magnitude of forest insect outbreaks; specifically, the spruce beetle infestation. Moderate changes were also considered as having occurred in extreme weather events (e.g. heavy winds, lightning, winter storms, drought), length of the winter road season, land values and land use options, phenology, forest growth and productivity, abundance and ranges of invasive species, and wildlife species abundance, movement and ranges. Participants also noted that over the past 20 years, changes had been observed in timber quality, water levels (e.g., lakes, rivers, wetlands), keystone species and the species they interact with (e.g., woodpeckers), understory species including trees below the canopy, soil microbial activity and the distribution of permafrost. 155

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Participants indicated the extent to which a number of factors that contribute to enhancing the adaptive capacity of the forest sector and forest-based communities to climate change are present in the CATT (Table 6.4). The availability of scientific knowledge on climate change, the current level of awareness and understanding of climate change impacts, the current level of dialogue amongst various decision-making agencies and stakeholders on adaptation, the existence of local and traditional knowledge on climate change and the current level of flexibility in forest management policies and practices were ranked, on average, the highest among the factors considered, although their presence was not considered to be high for any of the factors. The availability of financial resources to adapt to climate change and the current level of investment in training, education, capacity building, knowledge exchange and technology transfer were ranked, on average, lowest. In addition to the factors listed in the workbook, family-level resistance to lifestyle change, poor access to local and traditional knowledge (there is a rich supply but is not easily accessed), and the lack of identified markets for local forest products were identified as potentially reducing adaptive capacity in the region. Practitioner perspectives on the degree to which forest sector and forest-dependent communities in the CATT are vulnerable to various impacts of climate change were recorded in the context of the three scenarios of climate change (Table 6.5). Currently, they consider the region to be highly vulnerable to changes in the intensity, severity or magnitude of insect outbreaks and forest fires and moderately vulnerable to changes in extreme weather events, timber supply and wildlife abundance, movement and ranges. Practitioners did not perceive the region to be currently vulnerable to changes in treelines or livelihoods induced by climate change. Vulnerability was considered to increase with increasing warming for all of the potential impacts. Under a high scenario of climate change, the region was considered to be highly vulnerable to two-thirds of the impacts considered. Vulnerability to changing forest fire regimes appeared to be of considerable concern, generating more comment than any other impact. Many noted that while at present a change in the fire regime (e.g., number of fires, area burned) has not been observed in the region, the hazard is seen by most to have increased greatly as a result of the spruce beetle outbreak and the drier conditions, both of which are linked to climate change. One respondent noted that fire risk and potential fire behaviour needs to be more objectively researched in the area.

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6.5.3

Identification and evaluation of alternative management options

An evaluation was made of the importance of implementing 84 alternative forest management adaptation options in the context of three scenarios of climate change (Table 6.1). In evaluating the options, practitioners were asked to consider only those areas within the CATT that are subject, or will be subject to, forest development planning. As mentioned above, adaptation options were identified and structured according to Ogden and Innes (2007b). The responses are summarized in Tables 6.6 to 6.12. Here the results of the rankings are presented along with a summary of the qualitative responses which provide further explanation as to why the options were considered by different practitioners to rank low or high in this forest management context.

6.5.3.1 Overview of results We first asked practitioners to identify which of the adaptation options were currently being practiced in the Yukon. Surprisingly, we found very little agreement. Next we asked practitioners to rank the importance of implementing each individual option. Overall, 29% of the 84 options were seen as being important (average ranking ≥7/10) to implement under current climate conditions, 43% of options under a low scenario of warming and 57% of options under a high scenario. The importance of implementing the vast majority (98%) of the adaptation options increased with increasing warming. Practitioners identified 24 no-regrets options which are highlighted in Tables 6.6-6.12 using bold typeface. These options were considered by the group of practitioners as a whole to be appropriate to implement in both current climate conditions and under low and high scenarios of climate change based on an average ranking of importance of ≥7/10 for all three scenarios. The no-regrets options that were identified include diversify the regional economy, minimize fragmentation of habitat and maintain connectivity, deactivate and rehabilitate roads to maximize productive forest area and forest sinks, increase awareness about the potential impact of climate change on the fire regime and encourage proactive actions in regard to fuels management and community protection, involve the public in the assessment of adaptation options etc. Only one adaptation option was considered unimportant (average ranking ≤3/10) under all climates: the use of fertilization to enhance forest growth. Practitioners identified 12 options that were not considered important (average ranking

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