For my third co-op work term I am at the Northern Forestry Centre branch of the Canadian Forest Service in Edmonton, AB, working as a climate change adaptation intern. My job is to prepare a baseline report on the state of forests in the Northwest Territories, which is the first stage in undertaking a climate change vulnerability assessment. The climate is warming 2-4 times faster in Canada’s north than elsewhere in the country and the effects are seen in melting permafrost, increased wildfires, and the expansion of insect pest ranges. The vulnerability assessment looks at the potential impacts of climate change on forests in the NWT and the ability of natural and human systems to respond to those impacts. But in order to know how climate change is affecting the ecosystem, it is necessary to have a baseline knowledge of the ecosystem to compare future conditions to. And creating this summary of baseline knowledge is my job. It means undertaking a scientific literature review, interviewing researchers at the Canadian Forestry Centre about their work, and then summarizing and integrating everything I have learned into the report. I am learning an incredible amount about northern boreal forest ecosystems, including the fire and insect regimes, permafrost thaw, the carbon cycle, caribou habitat, forest productivity, and the different landforms that are found there. The science-policy interface is also something I am interested in and this work term provides me the opportunity to contribute to that in a very independant way. I started work on this report during my previous co-op term last summer and was asked back to continue working on it and to prepare it for publication. I am looking forward to completing the report and to having my first scientific publication!
Yehuda Huberman (Natural Resources Conservation)
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