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Ont. gov providing funding to two universities to support forestry research

May 27, 2021  By  Ellen Cools

The government of Ontario has entered into collaborative research agreements with McMaster University and the University of Toronto to help support forest management research.

The project with McMaster will focus on the effects of climate change on forest growth, while the University of Toronto will research the impact of the eastern spruce budworm in Ontario’s forests.

The provincial government is investing $45,000 over three years in the project with McMaster University, which will use machine learning to create a model to better understand climate change’s impact on Ontario’s forest growth and yield. The agreement is intended to help Ontario refine its sustainable forest management practices and give the industry updated growth and yield information for future forest management planning and wood supply analysis.

“There is a growing interest in considering climate change effects in forest management activities. Through this partnership, we are leveraging 70+ years of Ontario growth and yield program data on forest site conditions, soil properties and stand structure across the province,” said Alemu Gonsamo, assistant professor at McMaster University’s School of Earth, Environment and Society, in a press release.


Meanwhile, the University of Toronto will receive $56,000 over three years to assess the effects of the eastern spruce budworm in Ontario’s forests, in an effort to mitigate timber losses. This research will involve applying remote sensing satellite technology to analyze and model tree mortality caused by the pest in Ontario’s forests to support forest management planning.

“This work will improve our ability to accurately map where and when budworm outbreaks are occurring, which will be key to addressing other research questions related to forest health, wildfire risk, and forest management,” said Patrick James, associate professor at the Institute of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Toronto, in a press release.

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