Forest fires are a natural feature of the Canadian landscape, but they pose a threat to individuals and property. Being able to predict the behaviour of a given forest fire is an important element in successfully managing fire suppression resources. Alberta Department of Sustainable Resource Development is responsible for PROMETHEUS, Canada's foremost fire growth modeling tool. PROMETHEUS is a program which simulates the growth of a fire from a single ignition. Currently, it doesn't allow for any kind of randomness or uncertainty.
Manufactured and coated wood (MCW) is generated by the construction and demolition (C&D) industries. At present, some MCW is ground and utilized as daily landfill cover. However, the Province of Nova Scotia would prefer to see this move away from landfill and be utilized as a value added marketable product. Current estimates suggest that there is 175,000 tons of C&D materials generated annually. Of that, 40% is estimated to be wood material consisting of clean wood, MCW, pressure treated, creosote timbers and laminates.
This project will examine the ecological response of understory vegetation communities to alternative forest management practices, in the Montane spruce forests of the Interior, which have been disturbed by mountain pine beetle, fire and salvage logging. The research is within the Secwepemc Nation traditional territory and will focus on culturally valued plants and include applied burning to bring cultural values into the analysis.
In many actively managed forest ecosystems, the most disturbed locations are the areas where excess woody slash has been piled and burned. Burning slash creates barren patches, which may provide locations for the invasion of exotic plant species. The intern will study the restoration of native species to these sites where slash piles have been recently burned, with the intent of preventing the entry of exotic invasive species into the area or, if invasive species are already present, preventing their further spread.
Forest fire risk modeling is a new and rapidly developing approach to managing the threat of wildfire to British Columbia communities. The demand for forest fire risk assessment technology is growing rapidly in British Columbia due to the increasing number and extent of forest fires as well as the rapid expansion of residential housing in rural areas. The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Fire Risk Assessment Project is developing a model that will identify the areas where fires are most likely to start and most likely to cause damage (both to endangered ecosystems and to human values).
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.
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.
Extensive portions of the productive forests in coastal British Columbia display below-average timber productivity possibly due to excess soil water. In particular, conifers regenerating on some western red cedar/western hemlock sites on northern Vancouver Island show very slow growth and nutrient deficiencies after harvest. The research team hypothesizes that the low nutrient supply is caused by inadequate drainage in these sites which results in anoxic conditions and lower mineralization of carbon and nutrient.
Western Forest Products is an integrated Canadian forest products company and currently the second largest coastal woodland operator in British Columbia. Traditionally, a tree is cut based on a logger’s observation of the tree including any defects, its species as well as its taper. Currently, these factors do not explicitly consider the products which are in demand. Thus, the goal of this internship is to develop a method to assist the logger to produce the optimal ratio of products demanded by the market.
Computer prediction models for forest fires are of great value to wildfire management. The goal of this project is to analyze the mathematical model used by the Wildfire Science Unit in their Prometheus fire prediction software package. In particular, the internship will work on the development of a robust software package which includes 3-D features such as valleys and ridges. Such a software extension will require a detailed analysis of the 3-D equations used in the package which govern fire propagation.