Assessing the Effects of Climate Change on Wildlife Habitat in Boreal Forest Reclamation

Climate change is becoming a factor to be accounted for in forest planning, especially in reclamation activities where the objective is to create a self-sustaining forest ecosystem in areas degraded by human activities, such as open-pit mining activities in northern Alberta Oil Sands. Oil Sands will produce up to 50% of Canadian oil demand in the following years, but when the mining activity ends, large areas of land are deprived of vegetation. Mining companies have the legal requirement to re-establish a functional forest ecosystem suitable for wildlife habitat.

Increasing the economic value of non-commercial wood species through induced fungal pigmentation systems

This research proposes to investigate spalting (natural wood pigmentation by fungi) as a method for creating value-added wood products.  Specifically, this research will focus on the development of creating naturally colored wood for commercial applications, as well as increasing the value of blue stained pine wood inadvertently produced by the mountain pine beetle.  Industry benefits from this research include an increased value to both low and high value lumber produced by the company, and gaining a foothold into the newly developing market for spalted wood – a market in which very few in

Eco-Friendly coatings and formulations for the wood industry

Ecoatra is applying new developments in nanotechnology to solve the long-standing problem of hazardous substance use in the wood industry- one of our oldest and largest industries. Ecoatra’s formulation uses nanotechnology to enable deeper and more uniform penetration into wood, versatile application,  increased performance and potency at lower material quantities translating to reduced costs, multifunctional properties including water repellence, antimicrobial properties, and protection from UV light

Ontario Forest Resource Inventory Enhancement using ADS40 Aerial Imagery and LiDar data

Ontario is investing $100 Million over 10 years in the process of updating the Provincial Forest Resource Inventory (FRI), which involves the province-wide acquisition of new digital ADS40 aerial imagery to serve as a consistent platform for the photo-interpretation and mapping of forest attributes.

Application of Habitat Suitability Models in Boreal Forest Reclamation

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 reestablish 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, and how changes in forest structure through time will affect boreal wildlife.

Increased Utilization of Forest Biomass for Energy Production: Greenhouse Gas Benefits and Ecosystem Impacts

In February 2009, the Ontario Government announced the Feed-In Tariff (FIT)Program which will play a premium for electricity that comes from renewable sources - wind, solar and biomass - to help curb fossil fuel emissions. The goal of this internship is to assess using unmerchantable wood - that which is not useful for traditional forest products such as paper and lumber - from Great Lakes - St. Lawrence forests to co-generate heat and electrical power in small gasification plants.

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.