World’s First Whole-Forest Warming Experiment, Open House


In the summer of 2002, Department of Energy (DOE) initiated construction of the first whole-forest warming (soil and air) experimental facility in a field setting. The project is being conducted by University of Wisconsin scientists, along with outside collaborators from the United States and Canada. The purpose is to study effects of (potential) global warming on the structure and functioning of a boreal black spruce forest in northern Manitoba, Canada. The experimental facility (involving large chambers and sophisticated underground temperature control) is now fully functional, with ecological responses to the warming (5 degrees Celsius above ambient) already apparent, including what appears to be significantly increased production of spruce cones (i.e., tree reproductive potential) in the warmed plots. To commemorate the successful operation of the experimental facility, which is expected to continue for several years, the project held an open house September 11, 2004, at the facility. The open house was attended by several dozen interested persons, including Manitoba Hydro’s Environmental Education Specialist, Manitoba’s Minister of Conservation, and Assistant Deputy Ministers of the Manitoba government.