Daniel Thompson holds a fire scarred tree. Fire scars form when fire kills a portion of the tree, but the live portion continues to grow around it. Researchers are studying how more frequent and intense forest fires will change what grows in N.W.T. forests. (Rachel Zelniker/CBC)
A group of forest fire scientists are studying areas of forest in the Northwest Territories that have re-burned in the past 15 years to try and understand what the future boreal forest might look like.
"We're seeing more and more big fire years in the past decade or so," said Daniel Thompson, a forest fire scientist with the federal government.
"That means we're expecting to have more fires in younger forest stands," he said, which could result in a very different kind of forest in the N.W.T.
"Trees have evolved to be burning every 70 to 120 years," explained Thompson.
"But if they're now burning at 16 to 18 years, we're wondering whether the seeds are going to propagate in the same way, are the plant communities going to react in the same way?"