Climate Change

ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Bur Oak

Bur Oak grown horticulturally at Grand Oaks on Grand Lake, Halifax Co., Nova Scotia. It occurs naturally in N.B. and elsewhere on the eastern seaboard, why not in N.S? There are a dozen species of oak in Massachussetts. Should we introduce this and other oaks species to anticipate climatic warming?

Modelled Potential Species Distribution for Current and Projected Future Climates for the Acadian Forest Region of Nova Scotia, Canada
By C.P.A Bourque et al. 2010. Report to NSDNR. “…results for current and future climates indicate that boreal species in the Acadian forest of NS (e.g., balsam fir, black spruce) would be restricted to the cooler areas of the landscape, i.e., adjacent to cold water bodies (e.g., Bay of Fundy in the northwest and Atlantic Ocean on the south-to-northeast of the province) and high elevation areas, such as the Cape Breton Highlands and Cobequid Hills. Under similar climatic conditions, temperate hardwood species (e.g., red oak, beech) are projected to benefit from elevated GDD in the second (2011-2040) and third tri-decade (2041-2070), and experience some decline in the fourth tri-decade (2071- 2100). The report does not examine the impact of tree species currently south of NS as they move northward and begin to interact with tree species in the Acadian forest region of NS with climate warming.”

Worry about exotic forest pests and climate warming prompts talk about fertilizing deficient soils, reducing clearcuts and Assisted Range Expansion
Post, Sep 28, 2018. Could we add a dozen or so species to our hardwoods to better adapt to climate warming and increase resilience to pests?

Time to plan ahead: the future of the Acadian Forest in an era of climate warming
Post on this website Oct 29, 2017, highlighting a paper published in Forest Ecology and Management in September, 2017 titled Rapid 21st century climate change projected to shift composition and growth of Canada’s Acadian Forest Region by Anthony R Taylor of the Canadian Forestry Service and collaborators.

Silvicultural Discipline to Maintain Acadian Forest Resilience
Peter Salonius 2007. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 24(2): 91- 97.
ABSTRACT: Clearcut harvesting decreases structural complexity, eliminates old and genetically superior legacy trees, extirpates mature-forest floor vegetation, and creates hot and dry postharvest microclimates. The short-lived, exposure-tolerant, boreal tree species that regenerate in large forest openings are believed to be less able, than the late-successional Acadian species they replace, to adapt to the climate warming expected during the next forest rotation. A strip silviculture design is presented that includes limited canopy opening, “no-traffic” areas, maintenance of “full-cycle” survivors, and programmed return harvest intervals that approximate natural gap disturbance as a means of arresting the further increase of boreal species and restoring Acadian species on the landscape. Within the confines of this silvicultural discipline, two management options are described to accommodate extremes of future energy availability.

Exploring adaptation to climate change in the forests of central Nova Scotia, Canada
James W.N. Steenberg et al. 2011 Forest Ecology and Management Volume 262, Issue 12, 15 December 2011, Pages 2316–2327.

Climate‐change vulnerability assessment for selected species in three national parks in eastern Canada
Takafumi Osawa, MES thesis, Dalhousie University 2015 “Canadian protected areas have been established with a premise of static distributionsof different ecosystems, an assumption invalidated by climate change. In the Maritimes, there are few local case studies on how to consider and manage protected areas with potentially vulnerable ecosystems. Assuming two climate-change scenarios in the 2080s, we conducted climate-change vulnerability assessments (CCVAs) for a range of species in three national parks as case studies in the face of climate change. Specifically, we had two main goals: (1) to conduct CCVAs, including NatureServe’s climate change vulnerability index, for terrestrial species in these areas, and (2) to explore adaptation opportunities. Our study then identified some of the most vulnerable species (e.g., American marten and brook trout) but also species that are adaptable to climate change. Identification of species’ vulnerability to a changing climate is the first step in trying to identify potential adaptation opportunities for these species.

NB Naturalist 44#3 (2017): Nature, Biodiversity and Climate Change
An edition NatureNB’s journal devoted climate change. Includes
Climate Change Impacts on Birds, P. W. Thomas, B. Whittam, G. Campbell; Invasive Species and Climate Change, D. Mazerolle; Shifting Trees, C. P.-A. Bourque; Storing Carbon, D. Prest and more referenced articles.

Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada
Lindsey Rustad et al. 2011 U.S. Northern Research Station General Technical Report NRS-99
ABSTRACT Decades of study on climatic change and its direct and indirect effects on forest ecosystems provide important insights for forest science, management, and policy… Projections indicate significant declines in suitable habitat for spruce-fir forests and expansion of suitable habitat for oak-dominated forests. Productivity gains that might result from extended growing seasons and carbon dioxide and nitrogen fertilization may be offset by productivity losses associated with the disruption of species assemblages and concurrent stresses associated with potential increases in atmospheric deposition of pollutants, forest fragmentation, and nuisance species. Investigations of links to water and nutrient cycling suggest that changes in evapotranspiration, soil respiration, and mineralization rates could result in significant alterations of key ecosystem processes. Climate change affects the distribution and abundance of many wildlife species in the region through changes in habitat, food availability, thermal tolerances, species interactions such as competition, and susceptibility to parasites and disease. Birds are the most studied northeastern taxa. Twenty-seven of the 38 bird species for which we have adequate long-term records have expanded their ranges predominantly in a northward direction. There is some evidence to suggest that novel species, including pests and pathogens, may be more adept at adjusting to changing climatic conditions, enhancing their competitive ability relative to native species. With the accumulating evidence of climate change and its potential effects, forest stewardship efforts would benefit from integrating climate mitigation and adaptation options in conservation and management plans.

REDUCING GHG EMISSIONS//INCREASING CARBON SQUESTRATION

Looking deeper: An investigation of soil carbon losses following harvesting from a managed northeastern red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) forest chronosequence
A. Diochon et al., 2009. Forest Ecology and Management 257:v413-420.
research conducted in Nova Scotia.”Storage of carbon reached a minimum 32 years post-harvest, at which time stores were approximately 50% of the intact forest. However, storage approached the range of the intact forest approximately 100 years post-harvest. ”

Are Protected Areas an Effective Way to Help Mitigate Climate Change? A Comparative Carbon Sequestration Model for Protected Areas and Forestry Management in Nova Scotia, Canada
By Robert Cameron and Peter Bush, 2016. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies 11: 2329-1621. ABSTRACT Abstract: Protected areas have been proposed as a tool for mitigating climate change through carbon storage and sequestration. A C forest model was developed using carbon yield curves from the US Forest Service. The model was run on existing protected areas comprising 514,000 ha and 245,000 ha of proposed protected areas in Nova Scotia, Canada under three scenarios: 1. complete protected status; 2. forestry management which maximized timber yield; and 3. forestry management with environmental considerations. The model suggested 112 million tonnes of C is stored in existing and proposed protected areas and if protected these forests would sequester C over the next 130 years. If the proposed and existing protected areas were managed for forestry they would become a C source for the next 130 years for both maximum yield and forestry management with environmental considerations scenarios. There was a decrease of about 2 percent and 11 percent in total amount of C stored for forestry management with environmental considerations and maximum yield scenarios respectively. Frequent disturbance from clear-cut harvesting likely increases decomposition of organic matter in the forest which exceeds C sequestration by regrowth. The greatest advantage of protected areas is the greater certainty in land use and in maintaining the current and future C store.

“We cannot log and burn our way out of climate change”
Post on this website Mar 22, 2017. So says Dr. Bill Moomaw, Professor of International Environmental Policy at Tufts University and an author of The Great American Stand: US Forests & The Climate Emergency. “Logging forests and burning trees to generate electricity in place of coal while not counting the emissions may help governments meet their emission goals, but the atmosphere and climate is where the real accounting takes place.” View The Great American Stand: US Forests & The Climate Emergency by Bill Moomaw and Danna Smith, Dogwood Alliance Media Release, Mar 21, 2017.

Natural Resources Canada GHG Calculator confirms Nova Scotia forest bioenergy schemes are worse than coal
Post on this website, Jan 3, 2017. The common assumption that forest bioenergy schemes involving harvest of living trees are carbon neutral was seriously challenged in 2009 when a group of U.S. Scientists published a paper in the prestigious journal Science titled Fixing a Critical Climate Accounting Error. There has been a plethora of evidence produced both before and since that paper challenging the carbon-neutral assumption.

Granite Geek: Burning wood for power makes sense – or so I thought
Concord Monitor Sep 26, 2017 “It’s no fun to realize that you’ve been wrong, so this isn’t a fun column. For years I’ve supported the idea that whenever possible, Northern New England should swap fossil-fuel power and heat for wood-fired power, taking advantage of our tree-laden status as the “Saudi Arabia of biomass” to boost the logging industry while also doing environmental good. It’s a pretty obvious position. But over the years I’ve come to realize that surprisingly often, this isn’t a good idea from the environmental point of view. Quite the opposite.”

Greenhouse gas emissions of local wood pellet heat from northeastern US forests
Thomas Buchholz, John S. Gunn, David S. Saah. , Energy (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.energy.2017.09.062. View Accepted manuscript pdf
ABSTRACT: We explored greenhouse gas (GHG) implications of locally-sourced and produced wood pellets to heat homes in the US Northern Forest region… An industry-average pellet feedstock mix (50% sawmill residues, 50% pulpwood) appeared to generate heat that was at least at parity with fossil-fuel heating alternatives when harvest levels remain unchanged due to pellet production. If harvest levels increase due to pellet production, using pellet heat increased GHG emissions. If baseline harvest levels drop (e.g., following the loss of low-grade markets), GHG emissions from pellet heat would at least remain stable relative to fossil alternatives.

Timber is Oregon’s biggest carbon polluter
Carl Segerstrom HIGH COUNTRY NEWS May 16, 2018. ” the study Law and her colleagues put together earlier this year found that wildfire is not the biggest source of climate-warming carbon dioxide in Oregon forests — logging and wood products are.”

Medway Community Forest Co-op: A Summary of the Crown and Carbon Report
Mary Jane Rodger, June 5, 2018 “This past winter the Medway Community Forest commissioned a report done by several Master’s students from the Dalhousie Management Without Borders class to determine an effective policy model for the sale and management of carbon credits from MCFC lands.”

Earth’s intact forests vanishing at accelerating pace: Scientists
On www.straitstimes.com, Jun 21, 2018:”…Many forest-products carry the FSC label, designed to reassure eco-conscious consumers.
But approximately half of all intact forest landscapes inside FSC-certified concessions were lost from 2000 to 2016 in Gabon and the Republic of Congo, the new data showed…National and regional parks have helped to slow the rate of decline. The chances of forest loss was found to be three times higher outside protected areas than inside them, the researchers reported.”

Where humanity first caused lasting environmental change: new study
Melanie Green for www.thestar.com, Jun 13, 2018. Ancient agricultural activity more than 2,000 years ago is the tipping point where humanity first began to cause environmental change, according to a new study. The findings — discovered by a team of international researchers led by the University of British Columbia — point to increased intensity of deforestation and farming practices during the Bronze Age in Ireland. This affected the world’s nitrogen cycle, which is a process that keeps the essential element circulating between the atmosphere, land and oceans.

VIBERT: Yup, a price on carbon costs money
Jim Vibert in the Chronicle Herald, July 4, 2018 “What part of the phrase “a price on carbon” don’t people understand?
From the time anyone bothered to pay him any heed, Justin Trudeau has said there will be a price — or because it is government-imposed, a tax — on producing carbon emissions in Canada. That price by 2022 is supposed to be equivalent to $50 per tonne. A University of Calgary economics professor has done a bunch of calculations and come up with a scary bill of $1,120 a year for an average Nova Scotian family. Ouch. But it’s also a tad frightening that a typical Nova Scotian household accounts for more than 22 tonnes of the crud annually. The provincial government likes to say Nova Scotia has already done its part in reducing carbon emissions, which is true, sort of. Nova Scotia has been an early leader in cutting carbon emissions but also had a longer way to go than most other provinces…”

NEK forestland conserved as Vermont goes into the carbon storage business
By Elizabeth Gribkoff on vtdigger.org/, July 12, 2018 “Burnt Mountain, a 2,800-foot-high point on a forested ridge in the Northeast Kingdom, will be conserved as a wild area by The Nature Conservancy. It will be the state’s first carbon storage project to enroll in California’s cap and trade program, the conservancy announced Thursday.”

Scientists champion forests as ‘unsung hero’ of climate action
by Megan Rowling for Thomson Reuters Foundation News, Oct 5, 2018. Cites the statement Five Reasons the Earth’s Climate Depends on Forests.

CLIMATE CHANGE DYNAMICS

A Cold Case Turns Hot
The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research 2017. Pamphlet provides a historical overview of scientific thinking about climate change.

Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn
The Guardian, Apr 13, 2018. “How close the world is to a catastrophic collapse of giant ocean currents is unknown, making halting global warming more critical than ever, scientists say”

Tipping Elements – the Achilles Heels of the Earth System
“Tipping elements are components of the Earth system of supra-regional scale which – in terms of background climate – are characterized by a threshold behavior. Once operating near a threshold, these components can be tipped into a qualitatively different state by small external perturbations. To compare them with the human body, tipping elements could be described as organs which drastically alter or stop their usual function if certain requirements, such as oxygen supply, are not sufficiently fulfilled.
The threshold behavior is often based on self-reinforcing processes which, once tipped, can continue without further forcing. It is thus possible that the new state of a tipping element persists, even if the background climate falls back behind the threshold. The transition resulting from the exceedance of a system-specific tipping point can be either abrupt or gradual. Its large-scale environmental impacts could endanger the livelihood of millions of people.”

Map of the most important tipping elements in the Earth System overlain on the Köppen climate classification. There are three groups of tipping elements: melting ice bodies, changing circulations of the ocean and atmosphere, and threatened large-scale ecosystems. Question marks indicate systems whose status as tipping elements is particularly uncertain. SOURCE: www.pik-potsdam.de

Related: The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us
George Monbiot, Opinion in The Guardian Nov 14, 2018
How much wood should a wood-cutter cut?
By Nelson Bennett | November 8, 2018 Declares Werner Kurz, senior research scientist at Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service:

“Conservationists argue that old mature forests should not be logged because they store such huge amounts of carbon. Others argue that, as long as the carbon remains sequestered in products like lumber, and as long as the trees are replanted, a younger working forest takes up more CO2 than a mature intact forest”

“One of the things that is absolutely clear is that an old forest with big trees contains, at the moment, more carbon than a young forest,” Kurz said. “But the young forest is more actively growing and removes more carbon from the atmosphere than the old forest.

“This is the part where there’s some debate. But the science clearly indicates that old forests are much weaker carbon sinks than young forests. And old forests tend to be more susceptible to insects, to drought, to fires, etcetera.

“That doesn’t mean we need to convert all forests into young forests. There are many reasons why we want to preserve old forests – as carbon stores, for biodiversity, for ecosystem resilience. But the argument that we preserve old forests to maintain a carbon sink is not a valid one.”

I find it hard to understand how removing a huge carbon store in OG forest and replacing it with a newly growing trees, while putting some of the wood into products with an average life expectancy of ? 50 years ? could reduce CO2 emissions over a meaningful time-frame… I will try to get a response from Kurz about it. – dp Nov 12, 2018.

Contrary to common belief, some forests get more fire-resistant with age
On theconversation.com, Apr 4, 2018

Natural climate solutions for the United States
Joseph E. Fargione et al., Science Advances, 14 Nov 2018: Vol. 4, no. 11, eaat1869 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat1869 “Limiting climate warming to <2°C requires increased mitigation efforts, including land stewardship, whose potential in the United States is poorly understood. We quantified the potential of natural climate solutions (NCS)—21 conservation, restoration, and improved land management interventions on natural and agricultural lands—to increase carbon storage and avoid greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. We found a maximum potential of 1.2 (0.9 to 1.6) Pg CO2e year−1, the equivalent of 21% of current net annual emissions of the United States. At current carbon market prices (USD 10 per Mg CO2e), 299 Tg CO2e year−1 could be achieved. NCS would also provide air and water filtration, flood control, soil health, wildlife habitat, and climate resilience benefits.”

How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet
Bill McKibben in the New Yorker, Nov 26, 2018. With wildfires, heat waves, and rising sea levels, large tracts of the earth are at risk of becoming uninhabitable. But the fossil-fuel industry continues its assault on the facts.

CARBON FO0TPRINT

Calculate and offset your CO2 emissions!
It really is surprising how much CO2 emissions we produce in everyday life. For instance, CO2 and other emissions are caused when driving a car, heating a house, cooking, working, celebrating or flying. These CO2 emissions can easily be calculated with the myclimate carbon footprint calculators and then offset in myclimate carbon offset projects.