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1.01.01 - Boreal forest silviculture and management


Patricia Raymond, Canada

About Unit

Our unit seeks to provide a direction for future management and silviculture of boreal forests and to identify knowledge gaps between research and practical prospects. As knowledge transfer facilitators, we offer activities accessible to scientists and practitioners. In partnership with research groups, institutes, companies, private forest owners and government, we promote international cooperation in boreal forestry research. Our main research areas include innovative silvicultural practices, boreal mixedwood management, forest growth and yield and disturbance-based management.

State of Knowledge

Climate change is expected to modify the patterns and extent of natural disturbance regimes caused by wildfire, wind, insects and diseases in boreal forests throughout the world. These global changes can affect forest health and ecosystem services and compound the effects of anthropogenic disturbances such as logging. In some cases, large-scale application of even-aged systems may alter a forest’s structure, and consequently, its resilience to stress and biodiversity. Diversifying management practices and silvicultural systems at various scales through disturbance-based management or continuous-cover forestry could be part of the solution. Adopting mixed-species silviculture in boreal forests could also help to improve boreal forest resistance and resilience to stressors. Nevertheless, many questions remain regarding boreal forest management in the context of global change, particularly regarding ways to conciliate different—and sometimes contradictory—objectives such as wood production, wildlife habitat management and carbon sequestration. To face this uncertainty, forest owners and managers need more guidance and tools to support their decisions.