UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Opinions on strategies for forest adaptation to future climate conditions in Western Canada : Surveys of the general public and leaders of forest-dependent communities Hajjar, Reem Fouad; McGuigan, Erin Kathleen; Moshofsky, Molly Miriam; Kozak, Robert A.

Abstract

Two province-wide surveys of residents in Alberta and British Columbia were conducted to assess the acceptability of a range of reforestation strategies — many of which revolve around biotechnology — that could be used to aid Western Canada’s forests in adapting to future climate change. The opinions of leaders of forestdependent communities were also sought to evaluate how well they align with those of the public-at-large. Results show that the general publics’ and community leaders’ views correspond. There is a low acceptance for a ‘do nothing’ strategy that allows climate change to run its course without any human intervention, high acceptance of replanting with local seeds, a decreasing acceptance of strategies that involve more manipulation such as breeding, using non-local seeds, and moving seeds outside of a species’ natural range, and a low acceptance of genetically-engineered solutions. However, a high proportion of respondents changed their answers when told that a particular strategy would lead to either favourable or unfavourable outcomes related to socio-economics of forest-dependent communities, forest aesthetics, and pest, disease, and fire outbreaks. We conclude that a meaningful and participatory dialogue on forest adaptation strategies in the face of climate change can only emerge if residents and other interested stakeholders have an adequate understanding of current forest management practices, proposed reforestation strategies, the role of technological interventions, and the values and services for which Western Canada’s forests are to be managed.

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