Ecological Assets and Water

The projected rise in global temperatures is expected to result in intensification of the water cycle, causing more severe dry seasons and wetter rainy seasons, along with the possibility of more frequent extreme weather events.According to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the main climate change consequences related to water resources are increases in temperature, shifts in precipitation patterns and snow cover, and a likely increase in the frequency of flooding and droughts.

Canada has, on average, become wetter during the last half century, with an average precipitation across the country increasing by approximately 13% (Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation, Government of Canada, 2014).

The effect of climate change on forests over different Canadian regions are expected to be multiple and complex, but rising greenhouse gas (GHG) levels, higher temperatures, changes in precipitation, flooding as well as drought duration and frequency will all have impacts on natural areas and how our trees and plants grow. Due to climate impacts, forests ecosystems and other natural areas may lose habitat or species, be more likely to be invaded by in invasive species, pests and disease outbreaks. Natural areas and spaces may also be more susceptible to fire, which could be more intense due to high winds and drought-like conditions.

Considerations: What natural assets are present in the area? How do these assets contribute to our quality of life? How might climate change affect our ecological assets and water? What can be done to protect and enhance these features? How can we enhance/leverage these features to help prepare for climate change?


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