“Since the settlement of the prairies in the 19th and early 20th centuries, land use and farming
practices have evolved to match the various climates and soil types on the prairies and adapted to
changing markets, technology and transportation systems. The abandonment of farms in the
Special Areas of Alberta during the early 1920s and southwestern Saskatchewan in the 1930s,
provides evidence of these adjustment processes.
The interior of central Canada is expected to experience greater impacts of climate change than
many areas of Canada and the rest of the world (Field and Mortsch 2007). Impacts of particular
concern to forest managers include increased frequency and intensity of fires (Flannigan et al.
2005), increased outbreaks of forest pests, both insects and disease (Johnston et al. 2006),
increased frequency of drought leading to forest dieback, particularly on the southern fringe of
the boreal forest (Hogg and Bernier 2005), and changes to growth and amount of harvestable
wood volume (Johnston and Williamson 2005).
Climate change will lead to a number of direct and indirect impacts on petroleum industries in
Canada’s prairie. Therefore, a challenging question faced by the industry is how they should adapt to the
changing climatic conditions in order to maintain or improve their economic and environmental
efficiencies. In this study, initial efforts have been made to assess the interrelationships between climate
change and petroleum activities in Canada’s prairies.
The effects of future fire regimes altered by climate change, and fire management in adaptation to climate
change were studied in the boreal forest region of the Prairie provinces. Four National Parks were used as
study areas. Present (1975-90) and future (2080-2100) fire regimes were simulated in Wood Buffalo
National Park, Elk Island National Park, Prince Albert National Park and Riding Mountain National Park
using data from the Canadian (CGCM1) and Hadley (HadCM3) Global Climate Models (GCM) in separate
Prairie rural communities are facing very substantial economic and social issues that tend
to overwhelm any significant involvement by those communities in directly addressing
issues of climate change. This report summarizes information about some of the social
and economic characteristics of prairie rural communities as well as setting some
historical context for that information. Results of surveys about attitudes toward climate
change as an issue are also presented.
The authors would like to acknowledge the funding from the Prairie Adaptation Research
Collaborative and Natural Resources Canada (Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation
Directorate) in support of the Prince Albert Grand Council Elders’ Forum on Climate Change.
Additional funding support came from the Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre.
The Rural Communities Adaptation to Drought (RCAD) project is
grateful for the collaboration of the Canadian Plains Research Center
and the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative of the University
of Regina; the University of Saskatchewan; the University of Waterloo;
the Saskatchewan Research Council; the Agri-Environment Services
Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; and the Saskatchewan
Watershed Authority. The project offers thanks to the Social Sciences
and Humanities Research Council of Canada for its financial support
of this project.
This report documents the results of technical work conducted at the Prairie Adaptation
Research Collaborative (PARC) from April 2011 to March 2012 under the Water Theme
of the Prairies Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC). The Prairies RAC is a threeyear federal-provincial program to advance adaptation to climate change. Water is one of
the three major themes of the Prairie RAC and it is a significant component of the other
two themes: Drought and Excess Moisture, and Terrestrial Ecosystems.
Climate change impacts in Saskatchewan are already evident, and will become increasing
significant over time. This report draws on the expertise of top climate change researchers and a
large body of previous work to create a state-of-knowledge synthesis of key biophysical impacts
and adaptation options specific to Saskatchewan. The focus is Saskatchewan’s ecosystems and
water resources and the sectors of our economy, agriculture and forestry, which are most
dependent on these natural resources.
Comparison of observed continental- and global-scale changes in surface temperature
with results simulated by climate models using natural and anthropogenic forcings. Decadal
averages of observations are shown for the period 1906 to 2005 (black line) plotted against the
centre of the decade and relative to the corresponding average for 1901-1950. Lines are dashed
where spatial coverage is less than 50%.