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Title: “Planning for sustainable forest ecosystems in Waterloo, Ontario: a future radial radial-growth forecast of four significant tree species”

Researcher: Nigel Selig, M.Sc. Candidate

Supervisor: Dr. Roger Suffling, School of Planning, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo


Trees produce annual rings in their wood.  Valuable information can be extracted from these tree-rings: 1. the number of tree-rings is equal to a tree’s age, and 2. the width of any one tree-ring is determined by the local climate in the year that it was growing.  Therefore, the tree-ring records within trees can be used to reconstruct past climate.

Nigel Selig wants to find out if the reverse is also true.  For example, can tree-rings records be reconstructed from climate and therefore can we predict how some tree species will respond to forecasted climate change? Nigel will use the long tree-ring records available on rare property (from sugar maple, white pine and eastern hemlock) and the local historical climate data (collected at meteorological stations) to determine the relationship between tree-ring width and climate (i.e. are the tree-rings wider during hot years; or are they wider during wet years etc.?). He will then use this relationship and current climate forecasts to reconstruct how tree growth in the Waterloo Region will respond to climate change over the next 100 years.  These results will be valuable for those planning the effects of climate change in the region.