Application of Niche-based Models

Niche-based modelling was applied to the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest (MKRF) pilot site in British Columbia, Canada to project the shift in climate and climate niches for ecosystems and species. This was done using climate change scenarios from the IPCC AR4. These projected changes in bioclimatic envelopes for ecosystems will help generate better forest management strategies to maintain healthy and productive forests in the future.


Figure 1: Projected shift in climatic niches of BEC variants in BC at high-spatial resolution from the reference period (1961-1990) to 2011-2040  based on one climate change scenario. The high-resolution climate date used for the projections was generated using ClimateBC and climatic niche model was from Wang et al. 2012.

The application of these models to the pilot sites has provided accurate projections of changes in climate and habitat suitability for the species of interest. Better long-term management planning, and more appropriate species selection for plantations and reforestation efforts can be employed based on the observed changes in the suitable climate niche of the species. This is a valuable tool for forest managers and policy developers to generate long-term strategies that will ensure forests continue to provide ecosystem services and socio-economic benefits.


Wang, T., A. Hamann, D.L. Spittlehouse and T.Q. Murdock. (2012). ClimateWNA – High-Resolution Spatial Climate Data for Western North AmericaJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 51(1): 16 – 29.