Effects of Temperature on Forrest Distribution
Climate change has the potential to greatly influence the future health of Canada’s forest ecosystems by changing, not only forest fire, insect, and disease disturbance regimes, but also the overall distribution of forest types, and the productivity of forest resources. These changes will have important implications for the many social, cultural, and economic values Indigenous peoples associate with forests. Under a changing climate, warmer and drier conditions are expected to increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of forest fire outbreaks in many parts of Canada, especially in the continental interior (Flannigan et al, 2002). Increased incidences of forest fires would reduce the time it takes for certain species to grow back in some forested regions, resulting in a shift towards younger forests and a decrease in the number of trees and other plant species in the region (C-CIARN, 2006). In certain regions, defoliation by pests represents the most important factor controlling tree growth. The response of insects to climate change is expected to be rapid, such that even small climatic changes can have a significant impact on the distribution and abundance of certain species. Insects have short life cycles, high mobility, and high reproductive potentials, all of which allow them to quickly exploit new conditions and take advantage of new opportunities. For example, insect pests that are not currently a problem in much of Canada may migrate northward in a warmer climate.