EES Seminar: Tree Restoration as a Natural Climate Solution: The case for planting on marginal industrially polluted landscapes

Michael D. Preston, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Environment
Ecosystem Science and Management Program
University of Northern British Columbia

ABSTRACT: Forests are carbon-dense ecosystems storing twice as much carbon than is found in the atmosphere. As such, Natural Climate Solutions such as tree restoration has been identified as an effective and affordable capture carbon strategy. Many governments around the world are promoting tree restoration, and specifically the Canadian Government has pledged to plant 2 billion trees as a key strategy for meeting Canada’s climate targets. However, much of the available land for tree planting is required for agricultural use and urban development, which may result in future land-use conflicts reducing the long-term viability of the carbon store. In contrast, tree restoration on industrially degraded landscapes may have long-term viability due to its unsuitability for other human uses, but it is unclear if carbon sequestration rates will be comparable to that observed on non-industrially impacted land. I will discuss results of restoration treatments established over the past 40 years in Sudbury, Ontario, which was one of the world’s most degraded landscapes.

BIO: Michael Preston is a microbial ecologist, ecosystem and soil scientist at UNBC. His primary focus is understanding the microbial response to human-induced environmental change and ecosystem restoration, and the consequences for biogeochemical (nutrient) cycles important for ecosystem health.
 Dr. Preston obtained his PhD from the University of Toronto, where he studied the impact of predicted climate change on peatland microbial communities. Previously, he spent 5 years as an environmental scientist from a professional consulting firm before undertaking his post-doctoral research on landscape carbon sequestration at the Living with Lakes Centre at Laurentian University.



Online via Zoom
(Please contact the department at for the Zoom link.)


Amy Mui