CREATE Program in Forests and Climate Change

New funding boosts UVic forest and climate research

UVic's Centre for Forest Biology will receive more than $1.6 million over the next six years to conduct research on the interaction of forests and climate change and train the next generation of forest scientists, managers and policymakers.

The federal government announced today that the Program in Forests and Climate Change at UVic is one of 20 projects across the country being funded under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's CREATE program.

"This is a tremendous boost for climate-related research in our centre," says Dr. Peter Constabel, a UVic biologist and director of the Centre for Forest Biology. "Beyond the science, it will give the next generation of forest scientists and managers enhanced training and a broader understanding of the real-world implications of forest and climate interactions."


Forests have a vitally important interaction with global climate by taking up carbon dioxide and storing it as biomass. Canada contains 10 per cent of the world’s forests, making it a key player in national and global strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Canadian forests are at risk from pest outbreaks, fire, overharvesting and climate change itself. Understanding forest-climate interactions is essential for developing management policies that will allow Canada’s forests to adapt to climate change and continue to store large amounts of carbon.

The NSERC CREATE Program in Forests and Climate Change brings more than $1.6 million to the University of Victoria over six years to conduct training and research on the interaction of forests and climate change and to develop science-based strategies to counteract the effects of climate change on Canada’s forests.

The program is hosted by UVic’s Centre for Forest Biology. It has three research themes:

  • interactions of tree genetics, nutrition and health with forest management and climate change
  • conversion and storage of carbon compounds within forest trees and their ecological functions
  • plant-soil-environment interactions and their impact on emissions and uptake of greenhouse gases from forest soils.


Under the program, 40 students and post-doctoral fellows associated with the Centre for Forest Biology will receive high-level, interdisciplinary scientific training through collaborative research projects, intensive workshops, internships, seminars and courses.

Established in 1990, the Centre for Forest Biology conducts basic and applied research and trains graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in forest biology. The overall research theme of the centre is the adaptation of trees and their interactions with the environment—from trees to soil microbes, from the gene to the ecosystem.

The centre represents one of the highest concentrations of plant biologists dedicated to tree research in Canada. Their expertise includes tree physiology and molecular biology, genomics and proteomics, plant development and reproduction, and microbial molecular biology and genetics.

Centre researchers work closely with scientists from the BC Ministry of Forests and Range, Forestry Canada at the Pacific Forestry Centre, forest industry laboratories, and national and international colleagues.

For more information on the Centre for Forest Biology, visit

For Government of Canada news release and backgrounder, visit


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Media contacts

>Dr. Peter Constabel (Centre for Forest Biology) at 250-250-472-5140 or

Valerie Shore (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7641 or

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Keywords: create, progr, forests, climate, change

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