Approximately 200 million seedlings are planted in BC each year. When those trees are harvested 60-80 years after they are planted, the climate could be 3-4 degrees warmer than when the seedlings were planted, exposing the trees to maladaptation and health risks. Consequently, Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations researchers have initiated a large, long-term climate change research study - the Assisted Migration Adaptation Trial (AMAT) - to better understand tree species’ climate tolerances.
Seeds from 15 species growing in BC and neighbouring US states were planted between 2009 and 2012 at 48 reforestation sites from northern California to southern Yukon. Their growth and health will be monitored, and related to the climate of the plantations, enabling researchers to identify the seed sources most likely to be best adapted to current and future climates. The information will be used to revise BC’s species and seed source selection guidelines, helping to ensure maximum health and productivity of BC’s planted forests well into the future.
Pedlar, J.H., D.W. McKenney, I. Aubin, T. Beardmore, J. Beaulieu, L. Iverson, G.A. O'Neill, R.S. Winder, and C. Ste-Marie. 2012. Placing Forestry in the Assisted Migration Debate. Bioscience 62(9):835-842 [Link]
Wang, T., E.M. Campbell, G.A. O'Neill, and S.N. Aitken. 2012. Projecting future distributions of ecosystem climate niches: Uncertainties and management applications. For. Ecol. Manage. 279:128-140 [Link]
Kranabetter, J.M., M.U. Stoehr, and G.A. O'Neill. 2012. Divergence in ectomycorrhizal communities with foreign Douglas-fir populations and implications for assisted migration. Ecological Applications 22(2):550-560 [Link]
Leech, S.M., P.L. Almuedo, and G. O'Neill. 2011. Assisted Migration: Adapting forest management to a changing climate. BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management 12(3):18-34. [PDF 303 kb]
Ukrainetz, N.K., G.A. O'Neill, and B. Jaquish. 2011. Comparison of fixed and focal point seed transfer systems for reforestation and assisted migration: a case study for interior spruce in British Columbia. Can. J. For. Res. 41(7):1452-1464. [Link]
Pedlar, J., D. McKenney, J. Beaulieu, S. Colombo, J. McLachlan, and G. O'Neill. 2011. The implementation of assisted migration in Canadian forests. For. Chron. 87(6):766-777 [Link]
O'Neill, G., V. Berger, M. Carlson, and N. Ukrainetz. 2013. Assisted migration Bulletin. B.C. Min. For., Lands and Nat. Resourc. Ops., Tree Improve. Br. [PDF 2055 kb]
O'Neill, G.A., M.R. Carlson, V. Berger, and N.K. Ukrainetz. 2008. Assisted migration adaptation trial: Workplan (updated January 2013). B.C. Min. For. Range, Res. Br. [PDF 140 kb]
Johnston, M., S. Webber, G.A. O'Neill, T. Williamson, and K. Hirsch. 2009. Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for the forest sector in Canada. In 2nd Climate Change Technology Conference, 12-15 May, 2009. Hamilton, ON. Engineering Institute of Canada. [PDF 373 kb]
O'Neill, G.A., M.R. Carlson, V. Berger, and N.K. Ukrainetz. 2013. British Columbia's assisted migration adaptation trial: powerpoint presentation. B.C. Min. For., Lands and Nat. Resourc. Ops., Tree Improve. Br. [PDF 1419 kb]
O'Neill, G.A., N.K. Ukrainetz, M.R. Carlson, C.V. Cartwright, B.C. Jaquish, J.N. King, J. Krakowski, J.H. Russell, M.U. Stoehr, C-Y. Xie, and A.D. Yanchuk. 2008. Assisted migration to address climate change in British Columbia: recommendations for interim seed transfer standards. B.C. Min. For. Range, Res. Br., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 048. [PDF 6286 kb]
O'Neill, G.A., Carlson, M., Berger, V., and Ukrainetz, N.K. 2008. Assisted migration adaptation trial. TICtalk 9: 3-4. [PDF 410 kb]
O'Neill, G.A., Carlson, M.R., Berger, V., and Yanchuk, A.D. 2007. Responding to climate change: assisting seedlot migration to maximize adaptation of future forest plantations. Ticktalk 8: 9-12. [PDF 510 kb]
CBC TV National News documentary (ID=1304320319) (13 minutes)
Marris, E. 2009. Planting the forest of the future. Nature 459:906-908.
O'Neill, G.A. 2009. Meet the AMAT. BC Forest Service News 6(2):8. [PDF 969 kb]