GNWT and Canada strengthen commitment to monitor northern forests in a changing climate

Yellowknife — May 29, 2019
News Releases

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is pleased to have received continued federal support for an ongoing collaboration with Natural Resources Canada - Canadian Forest Service that helps to monitor the state of NWT forests and better understand the impacts of climate change.

The GNWT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) for the measurement of National Forest Inventory (NFI) ground plots in the NWT. The NFI is a collaborative initiative involving federal, provincial and territorial government agencies that provides information on the state of Canada’s forests and a continuous record of forest change.

Ground plot data in the NWT are highly valued because they are among the northern-most forest sample plots in the country. Data from the NFI are used to report nationally and internationally on the state of Canada’s forests and to inform decisions about forestry and climate change adaptation.

The GNWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) maintains 136 ground plots as part of the National Forest Inventory (NFI). With the MOU, NRCan has committed to providing up to $951,700 over three years to complete the measurement of 62 ground plots in the NWT.

The plots, which are all remote and require helicopter to access, have only been visited once so far. New measurements will enable analysis of forest changes.


“Working together with Canada and our other partners on initiatives like the National Forest Inventory is essential to helping us achieve the goals of the 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework. The GNWT is proud to partner with Canadian Forest Services on monitoring activities that improve our understanding of forest health and ability to respond to the impacts of climate change on the northern environment.”

 Hon. Robert C. McLeod, NWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources                    


 “Collaboration is key to understanding how Canada’s forests are impacted by climate change. Today, I am pleased to formalize our strong working relationship with the Government of the Northwest Territories through the National Forest Inventory. This is another great example of Canada’s global leadership in sustainable forest management.”
Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

Quick facts:

  • The NWT ground plots were randomly situated in forested stands on a 20-km sampling grid throughout the Taiga Plains ecozone.
  • The intention is to measure the plots every 10 years, in perpetuity, to provide data on how forests are changing over time.
  • The approximate cost to re-measure each plot is $15,350.
  • The plots are located on public land, First Nations private lands, in National Parks and protected areas. All plots were established with permission.
  • The NFI monitors a network of 1,114 ground plots across Canada and a network of 13,158 photo plots. Photo plots are monitored using very high resolution imagery that is analyzed by experienced photo interpreters.
  • NFI data are made available to government departments, universities, forest sector companies, non-government organizations and the public for a wide variety of uses.


Media contact:

Meagan Wohlberg

Manager, Public Affairs and Communications

Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories