The Boniface River research station, constructed in 1985, is situated within the forest tundra less than 10 km from the tree limit and some 30 km from Hudson Bay (57°45’ N, 76°00’ W). The landscape around the station is composed of both wooded hills (30 %) and bare hills dominated by tundra vegetation (70 %). The most protected sites are generally forested except for those areas that have been affected by fire, which has consequently induced an opening in the forest cover.

Presently, the station is comprised of two individual buildings (one with a shower) that serve primarily as laboratories and are powered by solar energy, a kitchen tent, two zodiac-style boats and a “porta-potty”. Access to the different research sites is primarily by helicopter or by the Boniface River, which is navigable for some 20 km. Dormitory tents and sleeping bags for researchers and students are provided by the Centre d’études nordiques. Typically, between five and 20 people can be found at the research station during the summer season. Beginning in the summer of 2001, supplies for the research station have been delivered primarily by “twin otter” airplane thanks to the construction of a 300 m long airstrip situated on the opposite shore of the research station.

Meteorological stations installed within the proximity of the research station have been recording the prevailing conditions at the tree limit, including the thermal contrast (air and soil) between tundra and forest environments, since 1988. In addition, tree growth has been measured with the aid of a dozen electronic dendrometers since the summer of 2005.

 

 
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