The federal government is granting more than $440,000 to a Lakehead University researcher to study the impact of climate change on the boreal forest.

According to a report in Northern Ontario Business, Chen, a professor in natural resources management at the Thunder Bay school, will spend the next three years working with researchers from Lakehead, the University of Alberta and the University of Winnipeg to examine how climate change has affected western-central boreal forests in Canada over the last 60 years.

The research funding comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

The team will train PhD students who will help explore strategies to mitigate climate change stresses and assess the consequences of climate change on future wood supply.

“The boreal forest is vital to the livelihoods of millions of Canadians. Climate change is warming the boreal region at twice the rate of the global average and also altering precipitation patterns,” Chen said in an Aug. 10 news release.

Concentrations of rising atmospheric greenhouse gases are recognized as among the greatest threats to the future of forests and the forest-related economy in Canada.

But it is unclear to what degree climate change has affected wood supply in the past and looking into the future.

The research project will devise strategies for coping with these concerns.

See full report here.