Pining for Home: Assisted Migration as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Location: Via Zoom

About the Presentation

This presentation makes a case for “boldly going where no forester has gone before”: deconstructing the 100-year-old paradigm of reforesting with local seed sources. Numerous reports have already linked large-scale forest disturbance with 20th and 21st-century climate change. As the rate of Anthropocenic climate change continues to outpace the ability of natural systems to respond through natural selection and migration, tree populations are becoming increasingly distanced from their climatic optimum, maladapted, and susceptible to pests and disease. In forested ecosystems, where trees are often foundation species, the stability of ecosystems and the diversity of life that they support are jeopardized. Assisted migration – reforesting or afforesting with tree seed sources from climates that are slightly warmer than the planting site – is intended to mitigate forest maladaptation associated with evolutionary lag due to Anthropocenic climate change and climate change expected during the life of the planted forest. Greg will discuss the rationale and risks of assisted migration in forestry, and BC’s new Climate Based Seed Transfer system, through which assisted migration is being implemented across the province.

About the presenter

Greg O’Neill studies the nature and distribution of adaptation traits of North American tree species and applies this understanding to develop resilient reforestation practices in a changing climate. Greg is a professional forester with degrees in biology, forest ecology, and forest genetics. He has worked for the last 20 years with the British Columbia government.