Christian Bégin

Research Scientist


Current research and/or projects


Since my first years at university, I have always been fascinated by the close links between geography and history. When I found out that we could study past environments and climatic conditions using natural indicators such as the growth rings in trees, it was like a bolt of lightning. Since that time, and throughout my career as a researcher, I have used the physical and geochemical characteristics of tree rings to reconstruct past climate conditions, study the dynamics of terrestrial processes, document the changes over time of anthropogenic contamination and study its impacts on the environment.

Research and/or project statements

Current Research Projects:

  • Development of biogeochemical indicators to follow the spatial-temporal evolution of forest ecosystems in the Northern Alberta oil sands region.
  • Impact of oil sands development on the nutrient regime and growth of forests in Northern Alberta.
  • Dendroisotopic reconstruction of hydroclimatic conditions of the last centuries in the boreal region of Canada.

Professional activities / interests


  • ESS, NRCan (Martine M. Savard, Joëlle Marion, Jason Ahad, Paul Gammon)
  • INRS- ETE (Pierre Francus, Yves Bégin)
  • CFS, NRCan (Brad Pinno, Jérôme Laganière, David Paré)
  • Laval University, Dept. of Wood and Forest Sicences (Évelyne Thiffault)

Education and awards

  • PhD in geography, Laval University, 1991.
  • Master's degree in geography, Laval University, 1985.

Key publications

  1. Bégin, C., Gingras, M., Savard, M.M., Marion, J., Nicault, A., Bégin, Y., 2015: Assessing tree-ring carbon and oxygen stable isotopes for climate reconstruction in the Canadian northeastern boreal forest. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 423: 91–101

  2. Naulier, M., Savard, M.M., Bégin, C., Genneratti, F., Arseneault, D., Marion, J., Nicault , A., & Bégin, Y., 2015: A millennial summer temperature reconstruction for north eastern Canada using isotopes in subfossil trees. Clim. Past Discuss., 11, 521–553

  3. Savard, M.M., Bégin, C. and Marion J., 2014: Modeling carbon isotopes in spruce trees reproduces air quality changes due to oil sands operations. Ecological Indicators, 45: 1-8.

  4. Nicault, A., Boucher, E., Bégin, C., Guiot, J., Marion, J., Perreault, L., Roy, R., Savard, M.M., Bégin, Y., 2014: Hydrological reconstruction from tree-ring multi-proxies over the last two centuries at the Caniapiscau Reservoir, northern Québec, Canada. Journal of Hydrology, 513: 435-445.

  5. Bégin, C., Savard, M.M., Marion, J., Parent, M., 2010: Dendrogéochimie : étude des changements environnementaux reliés à la pollution. Pages 619-646 in S. Payette et L. Filion (éd.). La dendroécologie : principes, méthodes et applications. Presses de l’Université Laval, Québec, Québec.