A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice

Message: Only variable references should be returned by reference

Filename: core/Common.php

Line Number: 239

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Warning

Message: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/wp_bgg4uc/thegatewayonline.ca/archives/2013/system/codeigniter/system/core/Exceptions.php:170)

Filename: libraries/Functions.php

Line Number: 770

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Warning

Message: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/wp_bgg4uc/thegatewayonline.ca/archives/2013/system/codeigniter/system/core/Exceptions.php:170)

Filename: libraries/Functions.php

Line Number: 770

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Warning

Message: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/wp_bgg4uc/thegatewayonline.ca/archives/2013/system/codeigniter/system/core/Exceptions.php:170)

Filename: libraries/Functions.php

Line Number: 770

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: 8192

Message: Non-static method Pagination::usage() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context

Filename: pagination/pi.pagination.php

Line Number: 12

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: 8192

Message: Non-static method Comment::form() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context

Filename: libraries/Template.php

Line Number: 3006

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Warning

Message: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/wp_bgg4uc/thegatewayonline.ca/archives/2013/system/codeigniter/system/core/Exceptions.php:170)

Filename: core/Common.php

Line Number: 405

Assisted forest migration vital, researcher says | The Gateway The Gateway Archive | The Official Student Newspaper at the University of Alberta since 1910
August 18, 2014
Browse or download the PDF of our latest issue.

Get weekly news in your inbox!


Assisted forest migration vital, researcher says

Matt Hirji
Gateway Staff
Nov 07, 2012

Scientific intervention is needed in order to protect North America’s forests in the face of climate change according to Sally Aitkin, professor and director of the Forest Science Undergraduate Program at the University of British Columbia, who spoke at the Myer Horowtiz Theatre last week.

That intervention, according to Aitkin, should include the method of assisted migration — a controversial process where the natural rate of movement for a tree species is artificially sped up to ensure the trees are well-suited to their climates.

“We’ve got to get on it. We’re losing species. Let’s go,” Aitkin said, delivering her address entitled, “Can genetics help climate-proof our forests?” to an audience of more than 75 people during the 68th Forestry Lecture series hosted by the University of Alberta’s Department of Renewable Resources.

“We could let nature take its course, but we are probably going to end up with pretty unhealthy forests, forests that aren’t producing much in terms of wood and timber supply, forests that aren’t sequestering much carbon, and forests that maybe aren’t the best habitat for a number of things that are out there that we rely on to be there. So, we need to move things around,” she said.

She added with climate change in North America shifting ecosystems by seven to 10 kilometres per year, and since most species of trees can only migrate to more hospitable climates through natural processes at a rate of 100 metres per year, the need to intervene through assisted migration couldn’t be more urgent.

“There are still trees there, but they are in the wrong places. Perhaps we should be making our best guesses as to what kinds of trees will do well in the climates of the future and help that process along so we can have future-adapted forests,” Aitkin said.

The value of assisted migration is not only in protecting and conserving the more than 50 species of trees that exist in British Columbia and Alberta; it could also have benefits for the Canadian logging industry by reducing instances of diebacks, when forests retreat.

“If we can offset just 15 per cent of this decline through assisted migration, that’s worth about $200 million annually,” Aitkin explained.

In an attempt to make more informed decisions about assisted migration in the future, Aitkin also discussed an ongoing tree gene-mapping project called AdapTree that she is working on with a team of researchers.

“We’ve started on a large genomics project that is really focused on how we can use information about adaptation at the DNA level to help inform what the genetic effects will be of assisted migration,” Aitkin said.

“That way, we can we learn from the existing distribution of genetic variation in trees to assist migration in a way that reduces risks and increases the changes of having productive stands in the future.”

Aitkin clarified that AdapTree was not experimenting with genetically modified trees, and said the study has gone to great lengths to ensure the public is not misinformed about the goals of the project.



Comments

Submit a comment

By submitting your comment here, you acknowledge that The Gateway reserves the right to publish your comment both online and in print. The Gateway also reserves the right to edit comments for length and clarity when reprinted in the print edition, and to refuse publication (both online and in print) of any comment it deems racist, sexist, libellous or otherwise hateful in nature.

All comments must be approved by a moderator before they will be visible, and may take up to 48 hours to appear. Comments may be no longer than 5000 characters.


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
daily dose

Liquid Energy: Rockstar Review

08/27/2014

Faculty of Law proposes tuition increase

08/21/2014
latest video

Doin’ You: Quick and easy tie dye

The Gateway shows you how to stylishly channel your summer festival attendance into psychedelic print.

latest podcast

Gateway Presents: Moving On



latest blog post

Liquid Energy: Rockstar Review

08/27/2014

After many years of standing near the top of the market, Rockstar has developed various flavours to complement its original energy drink. In spite of these, it’s time to revisit the classic to determine whether it still stands up against its more eclectic brethren.

most popular