Parks Canada

Nahanni National Park Ecosystem Assessment

Understanding the responses of geomorphological processes to climate change as a basis for predicting implications for ecology and recreation

Through its Climate Adaptation Project initiative, Parks Canada is studying the potential effects of climate change on the biophysical environment in its national parks. In the summer of 2012, Parks Canada assembled a small team of experts in subarctic terrain and soils, vegetation communities and wildlife to conduct field reconnaissance within Nahanni National Park aimed at documenting and characterizing distinct terrestrial ecosystems throughout the 30,000 km2 park.

Palmer Environmental Consulting Group Inc. (PECG) was invited to join Parks Canada’s multi-disciplinary field team, in recognition of its expertise on terrain and soils in areas of discontinuous permafrost. PECG examined diverse geomorphology throughout the southern half of the park and prepared a report documenting the responses of geomorphological processes to climate change, in many cases related to thawing permafrost, and predicting the implications of these changes for ecological integrity and recreational opportunities.