Habitat Function of Urban Trees: Benchmarks for Green-rating Systems

This project targets a major research gap of the recently proposed Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI), which is a North American green rating system for landscapes; scheduled to be released in 2011. Our research will focus on establishing the characteristics of urban trees that affect their ability to provision habitat to urban biodiversity (insects and birds)- which is a major objective of the SSI.

Testing for thresholds and defining targets – using bird habitat relationships to improve forest management on traditional lands of the West Moberly First Nations

Tree species composition – in particular the ratio of coniferous to deciduous trees – is likely a major evolutionary force shaping biodiversity in the boreal ‘mixedwood’ forest. There are concerns that logging practices are resulting in declines in the amount of old mixedwood stands in Canada’s western boreal forest, which may be having a negative impact on species adapted to mixedwood stands.

Quantitative Investigation of Wood-Based Biomass in Support of a CHP Plant for the Ontario East Wood Centre & Eco-Industrial Park

This research will support the development of the Eco-Industrial Park and Ontario East Wood Centre (EOWC), which is under development in the Township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal. The EOWC is an innovative approach to revitalizing the regional economy by adding value to the under-utilized renewable forest resource in the area. A critical gap in information required by potential investors will be addressed. Sources and quantities of available forest-based biomass within a 120 kilometer radius around the EOWC will be assessed.

Inventory of Biomass suitable for conversion to biofuels/chemicals and most promising conversion options

Interest in adopting biomass conversion technologies to produce renewable biofuels and chemicals in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) is strong, fueled by recent closers in the pulp and paper sector, and, stemmed by availability of substantial forest biomass such s lo-quality wood chips in logging and sawmill operations. The NL Department of Natural Resources recognizes that although there is a substantial feedstock and opportunities, the nature of biomass generated in NL (quality, volumes, etc…) and the optimal conversion technologies for application in NL are largely unidentified.

Modeling transpiration deficits after disturbances and evaluating the sensitivity of southwest Yukon forest ecosystems to climate change

Climate models project that summers in the southwest Yukon will become increasingly warmer and drier, leading to more forest fires, a longer fire season and slower tree growth. This raises the question of how to manage forest resources sustainably so that they will continue to provide long-term benefits to local communities.

Development of Tree Ring - C Climate Relationships in Boreal Forests

Mining operations in the Oil Sands area can affect extensive areas of boreal forest. Those forested areas affected by mining are expected to be reclaimed by mining companies to re-establish their natural conditions after the exploitation ends. The long©term success of reclamation plans can be assessed with ecological models that simulate how different environmental factors affect tree growth and development. Climate is possibly the most important factor influencing plant growth.

Development of three-dimensional models for analysing mid-rise wood frame buildings

Starting in April 2009, six storey (mid‐rise) high wood frame buildings will be allowed in certain regions of Canada. This will be a new experience to design engineers in Canada, and research is required to support this new development which will expand the use of wood products beyond the traditional low rise, primarily residential construction market.

Prediction of Power Outage Locations Due to Weather and Tree Impacts on BC Transmission Corporation Transmission Lines

Trees uprooted or broken during severe wind events routinely cause power outages in BC. Some researchers believe that climate change will result in more storms in BC. We will investigate the weather conditions that lead to strong winds. Using BC Transmission Corporation’s power outage database, we will examine patterns of outages in space and time, identify the weather, terrain and vegetation conditions associated with these outages, and produce models that will predict the likelihood of an outage at a given location.

Predicting changes in early growing season water availability contributed as snowmelt following mountain pine beetle attack

This project with the BC Ministry of Forests and Range intends to use almost entirely existing stand spatial data and snow-melt data to model early season water availability in mountain pine beetle (MPB) affected stands. The resultant canopy loss due to the MPB is likely to have an influence on the volume and timing of snow melt and, consequently, on water availability.

Development and evaluation of an integrated modeling approach for a risk analysis of alternative Oil Sands reclamation strategies

Considerable information has been acquired on soil dynamics in areas under oil sands reclamation and a variety of models have been developed that simulate moisture dynamics and ecosystem productivity. However, to date, nutrient and moisture dynamics have been considered largely in isolation; for models to be useful in reclamation, they need to be capable of representing how soil moisture influences nutrient cycling, how available moisture limits vegetation growth and how ecosystem development can change nutrient cycles and moisture dynamics.