My area of interest is forest management with a focus on productive natural forests and plantations. My overall research objective is to determine economically as well as ecologically sound forest resources management strategies focusing on the use of native tree species, as well as close to nature forest management, including effects of biotic and abiotic disturbances, risk or uncertainties.
Understanding and using tools from financial analysis is an important component to successfully manage our forests sustainably. Net present values, annuities or internal rates of return can be strong arguments for specific management choices, keeping in mind that most decisions in the area of forest management are economically driven.
Computer based decision support systems (DSS) help with understanding outcomes of possible management approaches and allow modelling future development of indicators, such as area of old growth forest, habitat or timber production. The research I do today includes the design and development of DSS better manage cumulative effects of multiple activities on a land base to understand trade-offs and balance social, ecological, and economic objectives.
Achieving sustainable use of forested lands by means of an optimal allocation of land resources to competing purposes is a major global challenge for the 21st century. The overall aim of this program therefore is to develop, apply and validate a new suite of innovative approaches for a spatially explicit optimization of sustainable forest management under uncertainty.
We follow a number of critical lines of inquiry: Undertake detailed analyses of existing model types for spatially explicit resource allocation, economic optimization and reduction of production risk. We are developing a new suite of innovative approaches using open interfaces allowing a wide use and application, and finally we explore ways and deliver solutions for a constant enhancement of the database available for decision making.
Our tools are developed using algebraic modeling languages (such as AMPL AIMMS or GAMS) in combination with external modeling languages allowing a wide variety of applications.
We utilize algebraic modelling languages as their syntaxes have a high similarity to the mathematical notation of optimization problems. This allows for a very concise and readable definition of problems in the domain of optimization.
Newly developed science driven decision support systems will help to find sustainable forest management strategies for Canada’s forest resource, capable of fulfilling multiple objectives and facilitating constant resource supply. The decision support systems we develop will help to achieve the goal of developing both a sustainable forest resource and sustainable enterprises that are less susceptible towards risks, ensuring long-term economic sustainability and a sustainable conservation of forest values by allowing managers to make informed decisions and enabling them to consider a range of forest uses within explicit risk regimes, such as non-timber bio-resources.
The open source characteristics of the suite of innovative approaches that will be developed, as well as the strong focus on open interfaces will allow for a constant and ongoing advancement and adaption of the output the proposed work will deliver. (NSERC Discovery)
Western redcedar (WRC) (Thuja plicata), is a highly desirable species in British Columbia’s Coastal Western Hemlock zone, both from a management and a conservation perspective. But it is also highly palatable for ungulates. Numerous countermeasures such as the use of protective seedling cones or even fences have been explored to reduce damages in young WRC stands. These countermeasures are often quite costly and what’s even worse: they don’t always work reliably. Lately it was possible to link browsing preferences with needle monoterpene content. A finding that has led to the establishment of a breeding program for deer-resistant WRC for BC’s coast overseen by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) which is showing highly promising results.
Based on these developments this research aims to find an ideal mixture of WRC seedlings with various levels of needle monoterpene content that will reduce browsing risk in the long-term. Additionally, as planting pure stands of resistant WRC may force ungulates to change their foraging behavior, we will assess possible silvicultural alternatives that include the mixture of WRC with other suitable tree species, such as Douglas fir (DF) (Pseudotsuga menziesii). – This project is funded from various sources. We have established first trials using improved seedlings at Malcolm Knapp Research Forest and – in collaboration with our partners from industry and government – are working on data collection and analyses from them.
Forests are a crucial part of Canada’s cultural, social and economic fabric. Their fibre powers the forest industry, generating jobs and wealth. They play a key environmental role, cleaning our air and water, storing carbon and providing habitat to wildlife. Invasive alien species and diseases, though, such as the Asian longhorned beetle, Dutch elm disease, sudden oak death and Asian gypsy moth, threaten our forests. They cause potentially irreversible damage to both the natural and urban environments and cost an estimated $800 million a year.
Most of these threats are not native to Canada, but arrive through the imported goods pathway. The best way to fight them is to detect them as early as possible through biosurveillance, so they can be eliminated before they establish themselves.
In the GE3LS research component of the project we are developing a model-based decision-support tool that incorporates socio-economic data on human-mediated spread of invasive pests and epidemiological and genomic data to help reduce the uncertainty with regard to invasive outbreak outcomes. (GenomeCanada and others)
While indigenous people have historically been highly dependent on forested lands and their ecosystem services, modern harvest and resource management techniques have both strained the resilience of those ecosystems and negatively affected indigenous people on their traditional territories.
With Canada’s government and courts affirming the need to respect Aboriginal land titles First Nations will be empowered to take more control over their socio-economic affairs. One critical part of this is for First Nations groups to manage their forest resources in a self-determined way.
First Nations management goals show a particular relevance of native heritage values. The production of non-timber forest products as well as utilization of traditional ecological resources may offer economic opportunities beyond timber production.
However, the transition towards a self-determined management remains a huge challenge for the affected communities, even though well tested ways to combine ecological goals with timber production do exist. Therefore the purpose of this applied research project is to provide new data, knowledge and tools to assist First Nations communities with their new challenges.
In close collaboration with First Nations communities this research will cross natural with social sciences to allow a focused integration of First Nation’s perspectives into the production of sustainable forest management plans. (Hampton and other funding sources)
Current Graduate Students
Post Doctoral Fellows and Research Assistants
Previous Students, Post Doctoral Fellows and Research Assistants
Dr. Cosmin Man (2015/16) – Postdoctoral research fellow
MSc Krause, Marlen (2015) – The importance of sustainable forest management to counteract land degradation in Ethiopia: an economic valuation of ecosystem services and a review of the federal forest policy.
MSc Birchler, Michael (2014) – Managing for oak regeneration: The effects of 6 common treatments in southern Illinois.
MSc Wöllhaf, Simon (2014) – Planning a forest plantation in the Dominican Republic. Economically optimal choice of species and rotation times.
MSc Hofmann, Markus (2014) – Economic consequences of climate change induced changes in growth performance of spruce and beech.
MSc Berkmann, Ulrich (2014) – Optimizing the tree species portfolio in a Slovenian mountain forest considering ecosystem services.
MSc Havardi, Nirit (2012) – Financial evaluation of the Taungya system as compared to a forest plantation: A case study in Panama.
MSc Bayer, Dominik (2010) – Biotic risks and their meaning for Central Europe’s main tree species.
BSc Friess, Anton (2009) – The impact of abiotic and biotic risks on Germany’s main tree species.
BSc Kopp, Gabriele (2009) – The impact of natural hazards on Germany’s main tree species.
FRST424 Sustainable Forest Management Sections
Integration of biophysical and socio-economic components of forest management.
One fine body…
FRST558 Landscape-Level Forest Land Management Sections
Preparation of landscape-level sustainable forest management plans that integrate ecological, social, and economic components.
One fine body…