New research from the University of New Brunswick suggests that softwood trees such as balsam fir and black spruce may be at risk due to global warming. The findings, collected by forestry professor Charles Bourque, warns that these species of trees may disappear from the province’s forest within the next 80 years due to climate change.

Bourque created software that can generate predictions about the future of New Brunswick’s forests based on the rate of climate change. If greenhouse gas emissions are controlled by 2040, the median temperature will be raised by roughly 1.6 degrees. If nothing is done to curb greenhouse emissions, the median temperature could rise by as much as 4 degrees. It is this second scenario that is cause for concern.

Softwood trees like balsam fir and black spruce require cooler temperatures to thrive. Even a 4 degree increase in temperature could turn New Brunswick forests into an inhospitable environment for these trees, which are historically native to the area. The balsam fir, for example, has been the provincial symbol since 1987. Balsam fir is also an important part of the lumber, pulp and paper industries, so their decline could spell trouble for local foresters.

What Does This Research Mean For Local Foresters?

The data collected by Bourque suggests that the makeup of New Brunswick’s forests could be radically altered in as little as 80 years due to climate change. The research was commissioned and supported by the New Brunswick Climate Change Secretariat, who has heard the most recent findings but hasn’t proposed on policy to address the situation as yet.

While it remains to be seen how the province will address this issue, forest managers should keep Bourque’s research in mind while developing their forestry management plans. As this research suggests, climate change may have a serious impact on the New Brunswick forestry industry, so it’s important to start strategizing about sustainable practices that could alleviate the effects of climate change. If you need support adapting your forestry practices to a more eco-friendly model, contact us today at HC Haynes and find out how you can manage your woodlot in a way that is both profitable and sustainable.