In light of the current crisis in our forests, there has been a general push towards ecosystem management, in which forests are managed for ecological as well as social and economic values. One way to accomplish this may be for management to emulate natural disturbance patterns, thus creating a forest similar to the natural forest. Unfortunately, industrial exploitation has been so extensive that it is often impossible to tell what the natural forest should look like without extensive research on natural disturbance patterns and historical forest composition.
Fair Trade Carbon Limited (FTC) and its subsidiary Fair Trade Carbon Uganda are companies founded by UBC graduate students, Canadian tree planters and Ugandan educators in an effort to develop forest carbon markets in both countries based on a for-profit, community direct investment model. FTC Uganda currently manages eight tree plantations and with water scarcity in some areas, the company desires to know the effect of tree plantations on local water resources.
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.