The Harrop-Procter Community Forest is comprised of primarily 100- to 120-year-old mixed coniferous forests. The region has experienced ~1.6°C increase in average annual temperature since 1913 and increased spring stream flows and decreased summer stream flows over the past 40 years. Additionally, the forest has been experiencing wildfires, including two major events in 2003 and 2017. Climate modelling outputs were obtained from Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) for various future emission scenarios (A2 moderate emissions where emissions eventually increase, A1B moderate emissions where emissions eventually decrease, and B1 low emissions where emissions eventually decrease) for the 2050s and 2080s. Projections reveal that over the next 30-60 years, fall, winter, and spring could be 2-5°C warmer and 10-25% wetter. Summer could be 3-7°C warmer and up to 30% drier. As a result of drier and warmer summers, the forest could experience ~5-15 times more average annual area burned by wildfires. There is also expected to be an increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme events including heavy precipitation.
To prioritize adaptation actions for the next 20-40 years, HPCC conducted a climate change risk assessment. The probability of wildfire and drought was assessed for each stand in the community forest based on terrain, ecosystem classifications, Vegetation Resource Inventory, and LiDAR interpretations. Fire and drought probabilities were then reassessed for 2055 and 2085 using cumulative moisture deficit data from the BC Ministry of Forests. The consequences of potential fire and/or drought to key community values such as homes, water, biodiversity, and timber were independently mapped. Relative risk ratings were assigned by combining probabilities and consequences. The highest risks and priority areas identified were drier areas near the community, headwaters areas with high fire likelihood, old forests on drier sites, and accessible timber stands on drier sites.