The Northern Forestry Centre is one of five research centres operated by the Canadian Forest Service. It is located in Edmonton, Alberta.
The work underway at the centre supports Natural Resources Canada’s national research priorities, and addresses forestry issues in the three Prairie Provinces and the Northwest Territories.
The centre’s program includes four main areas of research:
Boreal ecosystem ecology
Sound management of Canada’s largest forest ecosystem depends on sound knowledge of the structure, composition, and function of boreal forests and of how they respond to natural and human-made disturbances. Current projects at the centre include studying the response of the boreal to novel pest invasions; assessing and predicting forest ecosystem responses to harvesting and fire; and transferring new knowledge to forest managers to promote better management of resources. The flagship EMEND project is one example of the work underway to develop better forest practices.
Climate change and forests research
In this research area, the focus is on mitigating and adapting the effects of climate change on Canada’s forests. Work includes modelling forests as carbon sinks or sources; tracking and assessing the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems; and developing tools and strategies to facilitate adaptive sustainable forest management. The centre also leads outreach activities related to the CFS Carbon Budget Model, and is an active member of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers’ Climate Change Task Force.
This area is a relatively new initiative within the CFS. Work is underway with a wide range of stakeholders and collaborators to develop innovative approaches to: minimizing resource development impacts on forest land, and accelerating reclamation of forest ecosystems on oilsands mining and in situ sites. Research activities focus on developing baseline conditions and reclamation technologies, establishing indicators of ecosystem recovery, and engaging industry, academia and other sectors in increasing CFS contributions to land reclamation issues.
The centre works with partners across the country to increase knowledge about wildland fires. It also provides national-level information on current and forecasted fire conditions. Its fire research, information systems and decision support tools—among them, Canada’s Wildland Fire Information System—improve the ability of Canada’s fire management agencies to predict and manage the risks and benefits associated with wildland fire. Other research activities include developing new techniques to reduce the impacts of fire on communities, and creating tools to undertake risk analysis, projections and modelling related to wildland fire behaviour, smoke distribution and burn probability.
Edmonton, AB, Canada