Faculty profile headshot photo of Stephen Mitchell

Stephen Mitchell

Associate Professor Emeritus
Founding Director, Master of Sustainable Forest Management Program

Forest Sciences Centre 3041
2424 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

work phone: 604-822-4591

Areas of research include:

  • Silviculture Systems
  • Windthrow Assessment and Management
  • Natural Disturbance Processes
  • Stand Dynamics


Windthrow modelling

ForestGALES_BC hybrid mechanistic model
Empirical windthrow models
Diagnostic frameworks for windthrow assessment
Integration of windthrow risk into TASS/TIPSY
Stand density management diagrams and windfirmness

Drag and mechanical properties of trees, acclimative growth

Instrumentation of trees in wind tunnels
Tree-pulling experiments
Response of trees to shading, shaking and staking
Post-thinning acclimative growth patterns

Wind as a natural disturbance agent in forests

Disturbance and recovery in BC forests
Disturbance and recovery following hurricanes in mangrove forests in Belize
Windthrow and large woody debris inputs into riparian ecosystems

Windthrow management

Edge windfirming treatments
Stanley Park 2006 windstorm, restoration and management plans


Institute of Chartered Foresters – Silviculture Prize 2013
ABCFP – Distinguished Forest Professional 2014

Selected Publications

Padma Sagi, Tim Newson, Craig Miller and Stephen Mitchell (2019). Stem and root system response of a Norway spruce tree (Picea abies L.) under static loading Forestry 00: 1-13
William J. Beese, John Deal, B. Glen Dunsworth, Stephen J. Mitchell and Timothy J. Philpott (2019). Two decades of variable retention in British Columbia: a review of its implementation and effectiveness for biodiversity conservation Ecological Processes 8:1-22
Coutand, C., S.J. Mitchell, S. Puijalon and G. Monshausen eds. (2017). Mechanical signalling in plants: from perception to consequences for growth and morphogenesis (thigmomorphogenesis) and ecological significance. Frontiers Media
Anyomi, K., S.J. Mitchell, A.H. Perera and M.R. Ouellette (2017). Estimating the windthrow vulnerability of boreal forest stands in Ontario using the ForestGALES model. Science and Research Technical Report TR-17. 21 pp. / Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Science and Research Branch
Kenneth A. Anyomi, Stephen J. Mitchell, Ajith H. Perera and Jean-Claude Ruel (2017). Windthrow Dynamics in Boreal Ontario: A Simulation of the Vulnerability of Several Stand Types across a Range of Wind Speeds Forests Forests 2017, 8(7), 233
Albrecht, A., E. Badel, V. Bonnesoeur, Y. Brunet, T. Constant, P Defossez, E. de Langre, S. Dupont, M. Fournier, B. Gardiner, S.J. Mitchell, J.R. Moore, B. Moulia, B.C. Nicoll, K. Niklas, M.-J. Schelhaas, H.-C. Spatz and F.W. Telewski (2016). Comment on "Critical wind speed at which trees break" Physical Review E 94:67001-67002
Agbesi, K, S.J. Mitchell and J.-C. Ruel (2016). Windthrow modeling in old-growth and multi-layered boreal forests Ecological Modelling 327:105-114.
Coutand, C. and S.J. Mitchell (2016). Editorial: Mechanical Signaling in Plants: From Perception to Consequences for Growth and Morphogenesis (Thigmomorphogenesis) and Ecological Significance Frontiers in Plant Science 7:1441
Mitchell, S.J. and J.-C. Ruel (2015). Modeling windthrow at stand and landscape scales Springer in A.H. Perera, B.R. Sturtevant and L.J. Buse eds. Simulation Modeling of Forest Landscape Disturbances. Springer. p 17-43.
Stokes, A., G.B. Douglas, T. Fourcaud, F. Gladrossich, C. Gillies, T. Hubble, J.H. Kim, K.W. Loads, Z. Mao, I.R. McIvor, S.B. Mickovski, S.J. Mitchell, N. Osman, C. Phillips, J. Poesen, D. Polster, F. Preti, P. Raymond, F. Rey, M Scwharz, and L.R. Walker (2014). Ecological mitigation of hillsope instability: ten key issues facing researchers and practitioners Plant Soil 377:1-23.
Stokes, A., P. Raymond, D. Polster and S.J. Mitchell (2013). Engineering the ecological mitigation of hillslope stability research into the scientific literature Ecological Engineering 61:615-620.
Kenneth E. Byrne and Stephen J. Mitchell (2013). Testing of WindFIRM-ForestGALES_BC: A hybrid-mechanistic model for predicting windthrow in partially harvested stands Forestry 86:185-199.
Mitchell, SJ (2013). Wind as a natural disturbance agent in forests – a synthesis Forestry 86:147-157.
Bahuguna, D., S.J. Mitchell and G.R. Nishio (2012). Post-harvest windthrow and recruitment of large woody debris in riparian buffers on Vancouver Island European Journal of Forest Research 131:249-260.
Robyn Elizabeth Scott; Mark J Hovenden; Mark G Neyland; Stephen J Mitchell; Paul R Adams; Matthew J Wood (2012). Short-term effects of firebreaks on seedling growth, nutrient concentrations and soil strength in southern Australian wet eucalypt forests Forest Ecology and Management 278:110-117.
Boizard, S. , S.J. Mitchell (2011). Resistance of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle L.) seedlings to deflection and extraction Trees - Structure and Function 25: 371-381.
Bahuguna, D., S.J. Mitchell and Y. Miquelajauregui (2010). Windthrow and recruitment of large woody debris in riparian stands. Forest Ecology and Management. 259:2048–2055
Guthrie, R.H. , S.J. Mitchell, N. Lanquaye-Opoku, and S.G. Evans (2010). Landslides and Extreme Weather: Impacts of rain, wind and temperature on landslide initiation in Coastal Mountain watersheds. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology 43:417-428
S.J. Mitchell (2008). Riparian buffers: Do they protect small streams in coastal British Columbia forests? Discovery 37:16-19.
Mitchell, S.J., N. Lanquaye-Opoku, H. Modzelewski, Y. Shen, R. Stull, P. Jackson, B. Murphy, J.-C. Ruel (2008). Comparison of wind speeds obtained using numerical weather prediction models and topographic exposure indices for predicting windthrow in mountainous terrain. Forest Ecology and Management 254:193-204.
Gardiner, B. K.E. Byrne, S. Hale, K. Kamimura, S.J. Mitchell, H. Peltola, J.-C. Ruel. (2008). A review of mechanistic modeling of wind damage risk to forests. Forestry 81:447-463.
Bergeron, C. , J. -C. Ruel, J. -G. Élie and S. J. Mitchell (2008). Root anchorage and stem strength of black spruce (Picea mariana) trees in regular and irregular stands. Forestry 82:29-41.
S. J. Mitchell (2007). The 15 December 2006 windstorm: What happened, and will Stanley Park recover? Discovery 36:15-18.
Byrne, K.E. and S.J. Mitchell (2007). Overturning resistance of western redcedar and western hemlock in mixed species stands in coastal British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37:931-939.
Mitchell, S.J. (2007). Wind as a large-scale natural disturbance agent: a brief review of concepts with examples from research in Coastal British Columbia. Miškininkyste
Clark, T.L. and S.J. Mitchell (2007). Three-dimensional simulations of air flow and momentum transfer in partially harvested forests. Boundary-Layer Meteorology 125:505-524.
Delong, D.L., Simard, S.W., Comeau, P.G., Dykstra, P.R., and Mitchell, S.J. (2005). Survival and growth responses of planted seedlings in root disease infected partial cuts in the Interior Cedar Hemlock zone of southeastern British Columbia. Forest Ecology and Management, 206: 365-379.
Temesgen, H., V. LeMay, and S. Mitchell (2005). Tree crown ratio models for multi-species and multi-layered stands. Forestry Chronicle 81:133-141
Vollsinger, S., S.J. Mitchell, K. Byrne, M. Rudnicki and M. D. Novak (2005). Wind tunnel measurements of crown streamlining and drag relationships for several hardwood species. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35:1238-1249.
Temesgen, H., S.J. Mitchell (2005). An individual-tree mortality model for complex stands of southeastern British Columbia. Western Journal of Applied Forestry 20:101-109.
Lanquaye-Opoku, N. and S.J. Mitchell (2005). Portability of stand-level empirical windthrow risk models. Forest Ecology and Management 216:134-148.
Scott, R.E. and S.J. Mitchell (2005). Empirical modelling of windthrow risk in partially harvested stands using tree, neighbourhood and stand attributes. Forest Ecology and Management 218:193-209.
Cerda, J.P. and S.J. Mitchell (2004). Using geographic information systems to investigate uncertainty in forest planning. Forestry Chronicle 80:262-270.
Rudnicki, M., S.J. Mitchell and M.Novak (2004). Windtunnel measurements of crown streamlining and drag relationships for three conifer species. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 34:666-676.
Mitchell,S.J. (2003). Effects of mechanical stimulus, shade, and nitrogen fertilization on morphology and bending resistance in Douglas-fir seedings. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 33:1602-1609
Turner, J. and S.J. Mitchell (2003). The effect of short day treatments on containerized Douglas-fir morphology, physiology and phenology. New Forests 26:279-295
Moore, J.R., S.J. Mitchell, D.A. Maguire and C.P. Quine. (2003). Wind damage in alternative silvicultural systems: review and synthesis of previous studies. In B. Ruck, C.Kottmeier, C.Mattheck, C.Quine and G.Wilhelm (eds.) Wind effects on trees. Proceedings of the International Conference. University of Karlsruhe Press. Karlsruhe, Germany. p.191-198.
Mitchell, S.J. (2003). Acclimative growth in Douglas-fir. In B. Ruck, C. Kottmeier, C. Mattheck, C. Quine and G. Wilhelm (eds.) Wind effects on trees. Proceedings of the International Conference. University of Karlsruhe Press. Karlsruhe, Germany. p. 247-250.
Rowan, C.A., S.J. Mitchell and T. Hailemariam (2002). Effectiveness of clearcut edge windfirming treatments in coastal British Columbia: short term results. Forestry 76:55-65
Mitchell, S.J. and W.J. Beese (2002). The retention system: reconciling variable retention with the principles of silvicultural systems. Forestry Chronicle 78: 397-403
Ruel, J.C., S.J. Mitchell and M. Fornier (2002). Mapping wind exposure for windthrow hazard rating. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 19:183-187
Mitchell, S.J. T.Hailemariam, Y. Kulis (2001). Empirical modeling of cutblock edge windthrow risk on Vancouver Island,Canada, using stand level information. Forest Ecology and Management 154:117-130
Cerda, J.P. and S.J. Mitchell. (2001). Quantifying sources of uncertainty in forest development planning using GIS. Proc. of GIS 2001 Conf., Vancouver, B.C. CD-ROM, GeoTech Media, Boulder, Colorado.
Mitchell, S.J. and J. Rodney (compilers). (2001). Windthrow Assessment and Management in British Columbia. Proc. Windthrow Researchers Workshop, Richmond, B.C. BC Forestry Continuing Studies Network. 229 pp.
Mitchell, S.J., Y. Kulis and T. Hailemariam. (2001). Mapping and modeling cutblock edge windthrow risk using GIS. Pp. 122-138 in S.J. Mitchell and J. Rodney (compilers), Windthrow Assessment and Management in British Columbia. Proc. Windthrow Researchers Workshop, Richmond, B.C. BC Forestry Continuing Studies Network.
Rowan, C., S.J. Mitchell and T. Hailemariam. (2001). Edge windfirming treatments in coastal British Columbia. Pp. 205-222 in S.J. Mitchell and J. Rodney (compilers), Windthrow Assessment and Management in British Columbia. Proc. Windthrow Researchers Workshop, Richmond, B.C. BC Forestry Continuing Studies Network.
Mitchell, S.J. (2000). Stand density management diagram. Forest health: Preliminary interpretations for wind damage. BC Min. For. Forest Practices Branch Info. Booklet, Victoria, B.C. 29 pp.
Mitchell, S.J. (2000). Stem growth responses in Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce following thinning: implications for assessing windfirmness. Forest Ecology and Management 135:105-114
Mitchell, S.J. and K. Zielke. (2000). Windthrow workshop. Facilitators Guide/Participants Workbook. B.C. Ministry of Forests Silviculture Practices Branch. Victoria, BC. (converted by the BCMOF to a web-based course)
Mitchell, S.J. (1999). Windthrow research. UBC Faculty of Forestry, Branch Lines 10(2):3.
Mitchell, S.J. (1998). Windthrow risk assessment and management in riparian management areas in coastal British Columbia. in M.K. Brewin and D.M.A.Monita, tech. coords. Forest-fish conference :land management practices affecting aquatic ecosystems. Proc. Forest-Fish Conf., May 1-4,1996, Calgary Alberta. Nat. Resour. Can., Can. For. Serv., North. For. Cent., Edmonton, Alberta Inf. Rep. NOR-X-356. pp. 259-262.
Murtha, P.A. and S.J. Mitchell (1998). Riparian leave strip monitoring with Multi-Temporal Fine 2 Mode Radarsat data. In Proceedings of ASPRS Annual Meeting. Bethesda Maryland, April 1-3, 1998. American Society of Photography and Remote Sensing.
Mitchell, S.J. (1998). A diagnostic framework for windthrow risk estimation. For. Chron. 74:100-105 .
Mitchell, S.J. and K. Zielke (1997). Windthrow prescription workshop. Facilitators Guide. B.C. Min. For. Forest Practices Branch. Victoria, BC.
Mitchell, S.J. (1997). Operational strategies for reducing windthrow. In Proceedings of the IUFRO International Mountain Logging and Pacific Northwest Skyline Symposium, Campbell River, BC, May 13-16, 1996. Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada, Vancouver, BC.
Mitchell, S.J. and K. Zielke (1996). Windthrow management workshop. Facilitators Guide. B.C. Min. For. Silviculture Practices Branch. Victoria, BC.
Mitchell, S. J. (1995). The windthrow triangle: a relative windthrow hazard assessment procedure for forest managers. Forestry Chronicle 71: 446-450.
Mitchell, S.J. (1995). A synopsis of windthrow in British Columbia: occurrence, implications, assessment and management. Cambridge University Press. In M. Coutts and J. Grace eds. Wind and Trees. Chapter 25. p448-459.
Stathers, R.J., T.P. Rollerson and S.J. Mitchell (1994). Windthrow handbook for British Columbia forests. BC Ministry of Forests. Research Branch Working Paper 9401. Victoria, BC.