2022 Weston Family Awards in Northern Research recipient
Northern peatlands are one of the most valuable ecosystems in our fight against climate change. These wetlands are carbon powerhouses; a square metre contains five times the amount of carbon as a square metre of the Amazon’s tropical forest. A dominant feature of Canada’s boreal forests, peatlands are forecast to experience substantial climate-related changes.
Fluctuations in temperature and precipitation impact the ecosystem’s productivity, hydrological status and vegetation composition, all of which can make it vulnerable to threats such as drought-driven
wildfires. Despite the importance of these issues, the distribution and extent of peatlands in Canada are not fully understood. That’s where Nicholas’ research comes in.
A master’s student in geography specializing in data science at Carleton University, Nicholas is using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to produce maps of the extent, distribution and characteristics of peatlands in the Canadian boreal forest by connecting field observations to satellite imagery.