Climate Change in Action

Looking back, the summer of 2021 was a season of extremes here in the Pacific Region. The heat dome experienced in British Columbia in late June saw record-breaking temperatures across the province, with some communities experiencing as high as 20oC above the seasonal average. This heat dome was punctuated by the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada in Lytton, B.C.. For three days in a row, Lytton reached a final record temperature of 49.6oC, which is dramatically higher than the previous record of 45.0oC, set in 1937. Tragically, the day after these record-breaking temperatures, the Village of Lytton experienced a wildfire that almost entirely destroyed the community.

The June heat dome exacerbated already dry conditions across the province that continued through July and into early August. This past summer, B.C. saw more than half a million hectares of forest lost to wildfires, a mark that has been surpassed in three of the last five years. Prior to 2017, this extent of wildfires was only recorded once in the province.

Professionals working in urban forestry are uniquely positioned to help deliver programs and services that can reduce the pace of climate change and mitigate the impacts. Knowledge sharing and collaborating on strategies focused on climate adaptation should be central activities for urban forestry professionals. It is clear that the urban forests of today will look different in the decades to come. In order to achieve the best outcomes for our communities, we need to be proactive, plan ahead and take action rather than waiting and reacting to the outfall of a rapidly changing climate.

Change in Pacific Region Representation

After having the honour of representing the Pacific Region on the Canadian Urban Forest Network for seven years, I have decided it’s time to step back and provide someone else this opportunity and bring with them, a new perspective.

It has been a great experience working with my counterparts across the country as well as with my colleagues here in the Pacific Region, particularly our Pacific Region Steering Committee. It has been rewarding to be involved with a number of Canadian Urban Forest Conferences (CUFC), as well as working with others in the Pacific Region to deliver workshops in the off years of the CUFC to provide people with the opportunity to share knowledge and make connections.

I am pleased to say that the new Pacific Region representative is Nadia Chan. Nadia has worked in urban forestry for 20 years in municipal, consulting, and non-profit settings. She is a Manager, Trees and Landscape with the City of Surrey’s Planning and Development Department. Nadia is currently on the executive of the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia and BCIT’s Forest and Natural Areas Management Program Advisory Committee. She is also a past Director with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. Nadia will be an incredible addition to the Canadian Urban Forest Network Steering Committee and I look forward to continuing to work with her here in the Pacific Region.