(YELLOWKNIFE) June 6, 2018 – Wildfire is essential to the maintenance of boreal forest ecosystems. However, climate warming is intensifying wildfire disturbance and increasing the frequency, the extent, the severity and the duration of the fire season.
In the Northwest Territories, 2014 was an unprecedented fire year with an estimated 3.4 million hectares of forested lands having burned. In response to this wildfire event, Dr. Jennifer Baltzer and her colleagues, in collaboration with the Government of the Northwest Territories, developed an extensive network of study sites throughout the Taiga Plains and Taiga Shield ecozones to explore the severity of the burns (above and belowground combustion) and any alterations to the forest structure or composition including the types of trees and wildlife species inhabiting the recovery zone.
Dr. Baltzer will be discussing the results from this study including comparisons to similarly large fire events in other parts of Northwestern North America during Understanding the Impacts of the 2014 Wildfires on the NWT Forests, at Ledge Talks: The Knowledge Series on Thursday, June 14, 2018, at 7:00 PM in the Great Hall of the Legislative Assembly building.
Dr. Baltzer is a forest ecologist at Wilfrid Laurier University whose work focuses on the changes in the distribution and function of high latitude boreal forests resulting from permafrost thaw, wildfire, and biome shifts. She has worked in a range of environments from the tropics to the tundra, and leads an extensive boreal forest field research program throughout the Northwest Territories with a focus on climate warming induced land cover changes. Dr. Baltzer works closely with the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) through a 10-year Partnership Agreement between the GNWT and Wilfrid Laurier University, and is involved in several key collaborations through NASA and the Smithsonian institute.
There will be time for questions and discussion following the presentation. Media and the public are welcome. The proceedings will be webcast via the Legislative Assembly website: www.assembly.gov.nt.ca
Ledge Talks: The Knowledge Series is a forum for a wide variety of speakers to present current ideas, science, traditional knowledge, and issues relevant to the Northwest Territories and beyond. Ledge Talks will also showcase research done by the many GNWT employees who are making substantial contributions to the world’s understanding of the North.
For more information, please contact: