The Canadian bison industry is currently facing the issue of increasing production to meet increasing demand for bison products in a sustainable manner that improves the competitiveness and profitability of the industry. Bison retailers are currently being shorted product orders in excess of 25% on a regular basis, and demand for bison meat will only grow with the implementation of CETA and removal of the existing 20% tariff.
Pulp and paper producers would profit enormously from an advanced knowledge of the physical and mechanical properties of a fibre product based upon a measure of the pulp while it is still in process. This project aims to develop such a tool. Using a laser backscattering technique called Raman spectroscopy, will calibrate the molecular bar code it reads from an in-process pulp to accurately predict the properties of a paper or other fibre products that can be made from that particular pulp.
In nature, plants have evolved sophisticated defense mechanisms against insects, fungi, and other pests. When isolated, many of these chemicals have tremendous potential as natural pesticides, as they pose little threat to the environment, are non-toxic to the user, and are readily biodegradable. Recent research has determined a correlation between a novel compound found at significant concentration in a tree species abundant on the west coast of Canada, and increased resistance to leaf eating pests.
Steep slope harvesting with machines is a recent element of the forest industry, still experimenting with winch-assist machines and the different harvesting approaches that each comprises. The aim of this research topic will compare the productivity of six different winch-assist forest harvesting operations; three in New Zealand and three in Canada. The primary goal will be to establish the productivity for each operation, and relate the different stand and terrain factors at each harvest operation.
To responsibly manage forest resources in southwestern Alberta, it is important to understand the disturbance regimes they have experienced in the past, are experiencing now, and are likely to experience in the future. The Mountain Legacy Project has several thousand repeat photographs which show areas of the mountains and foothills of the Rockies a century ago and today. This project will develop methods to georectify those photographs (i.e. flatten the pictures onto a map) in order to analyze them in a spatially relevant way.
Forest tent caterpillars causes serious damage to hardwood forests across Canada, and outbreaks are currently on the rise in several provinces.
Recent research by our team and others suggests that while parasites and disease play a key role in ending outbreaks, predators attacking young caterpillars could be important in preventing the start of outbreaks.
This project measures predation on young caterpillars in outbreaking and non-outbreaking forests and identifies the predators responsible.
City trees and forests provide numerous ecosystem services (e.g. cleaner air, cooler environment, recreation) to human society but they are increasingly threatened by the changing climate, urban sprawl, invasive pests and diseases. This is particularly the case for Eastern Canadian cities that see the need to replace a large proportion of their trees killed by the Emerald ash borer (an invasive exotic insect). Current species choice is mostly based on aesthetics, economics and tradition.
For many reasons, forest management in Canada will be constrained by ecological and social forest management objectives. Along with meeting the diverse needs of society, forest managers will need to consider increased demands for renewable resources, such as wood. Wood, as opposed to concrete and steel, has a positive impact on the global carbon cycle but is also strong enough to build large buildings. Therefore, there will be an increased demand for stronger wood in the future.
In forestry, the two major costs of delivering wood to the mill are the costs of forest road construction and transportation of harvested wood. Given the magnitude of the costs involved, and the complexity of the planning problem, computer optimization models are used. In this research project, we have outlined a research plan by which current, state-of-the-art algorithms can be used to improve how we model and solve this important problem.
An emerging strategy for managing natural resources such as Canada's forests more sustainably and responsibly is to use knowledge of how Mother Nature has done it to help guide our hand. This so-called ecosystem-based approach has gained favour with provincial and federal governments, as well as national and international certification agencies.