Terrestrial Monitoring Plot Network – Linking Ecology, Hydrology and Biogeochemistry


PROJECT LEAD: Jennifer Baltzer (Laurier)
PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS: Oliver Sonnentag (Université de Montréal)

Gordon McNickle (Purdue University)

Katie Marshall (Oklahoma State University)

Tom Lakusta (ENR, Forestry Division, GNWT)

Lisa Smith (ENR, Forestry Division, GNWT)

Stuart Davies (Smithsonian Institute)

William Quinton (Laurier)

Philip Marsh (Laurier)

Aaron Berg (University of Guelph)

PROJECT LOCATION: Taiga Plains Ecozone extending from Scotty Creek near Fort Simpson to Trail Valley Creek near Inuvik.

In Northern ecosystems, permafrost plays a central role in ecosystem processes and function. Climate warming is progressing rapidly in the NWT and one of the most immediate manifestations of warming is permafrost degradation. The Taiga Plains Ecoregion spans the entire gradient of permafrost from sporadic to continuous and this region is already experiencing ramifications of climate warming-related permafrost thaw.

In order to facilitate predictive capacity and planning within the region, there is a need for a more comprehensive understanding the linkages and feedbacks among ecology, hydrology and biogeochemistry across these bands of permafrost and how degradation of permafrost will impact the resulting ecosystem processes and function. To this end, we are working to establish methodologically comparable terrestrial monitoring sites from Scotty Creek, NWT (discontinuous PF) to Havikpak Creek (continuous PF) to facilitate region-wide examination of specific mechanisms underlying climate warming related changes.

We have incorporated and enhanced measurement within an existing network of small terrestrial permanent sample plots to facilitate more spatially intensive analyses and region-wide change detection. This effort also allows us to put boreal forest changes into the context of responses of forests globally to climate change through our involvement with the Smithsonian ForestGEO program.


·      Periodic meetings with the Łíídlįį Kųę First Nation.

·      Participation in the CIMP Dehcho Regional Results Workshop.

·      Participation in Marian Lake Watershed Monitoring On-the-Land camp (2017) to discuss to community concerns about land cover changes and discuss and demonstrate some measurement approaches that could be incorporated into their place-based research program.