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What risks matter? Public views about assisted migration and other climate-adaptive reforestation strategies

Guillaume Peterson St-Laurent (), Shannon Hagerman and Robert Kozak
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Guillaume Peterson St-Laurent: University of British Columbia
Shannon Hagerman: University of British Columbia
Robert Kozak: University of British Columbia

Climatic Change, 2018, vol. 151, issue 3, 573-587

Abstract: Abstract The world’s forests play an important role in regulating climate change through their capacity to sequester carbon. At the same time, they are also increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In the western Canadian province of British Columbia, changes in temperature, precipitation, and disturbance regimes are already impacting forests. In response to these observed and anticipated changes, adapted reforestation practices are being developed and proposed as a means to help forest ecosystems adjust to changing climatic conditions. One such practice under consideration is assisted migration—planting species within or outside of the native historical range into areas that are anticipated to be climatically suitable in the future. We used a survey of British Columbia’s population at large (n = 1923) to quantify levels of support for a range of potential reforestation options (including assisted migration) to adapt to climate change, and to explore what factors can help predict this support. Our findings reveal that the likely location of potential public controversy resides not with the potential implementation of assisted migration strategies per se, but rather with assisted migration strategies that involve movement of tree species beyond their native range.

Date: 2018
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