Disturbance monitoring

Forest management and natural disturbances, such as forest fires and severe insect outbreaks, influence the carbon stocks in forest ecosystems. Canada’s National Forest Carbon Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System (NFCMARS) uses the best available statistics on forest management and natural disturbances, obtained from the National Forestry Database, the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System (CWFIS), and provincial and territorial resource management agencies.

Canada’s provinces and territories report forest management activities, including clearcut harvesting and thinning, to the National Forestry Database or directly to the carbon accounting team of the Canadian Forest Service, which incorporates the annual impact of these activities into the NFCMARS.

Provincial and territorial agencies usually monitor burned and insect-infested areas. The National Burned Area Composite (NBAC) integrates burned areas mapped by Natural Resources Canada from satellite remote sensing and agency data that have been used to annually map forest fires in Canada since 2004. NBAC is a component of the Fire Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System (FireMARS), a system that has been created to track and quantify effects of wildland fire. FireMARS serves as a framework that integrates three models for estimating the contribution of forest fires to carbon emissions. The three models include predictions of carbon emissions from the CanFIRE model that are combined with the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) and the CWFIS.

Estimates of the area affected annually by insect outbreaks are obtained primarily from provincial and territorial agencies. Entomologists provide expertise on the impact of different insects on carbon stocks. The carbon dynamics are then simulated with the CBM-CFS3 in the NFCMARS.