Research Highlights

Lab Tours: The Forests and Communities in Transition lab
The Forest and Communities in Transition (FACT) lab, housed in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC, is an interdisciplinary research group dedicated to the development of more resilient and liveable forest-dependent communities through research, dialogue, and knowledge exchange. At the foundation of our initiative is the recognition that the natural environment is not boundless, and that it plays an integral role in the economic and social fabric of communities and the health of community members. Thus, the wellbeing of forest-dependent communities begins with the responsible and sustainable management of forest resources.

Lab Tours: The Integrated Remote Sensing Studio
The Integrated Remote Sensing Studio (IRSS) is housed in the Forest Resources Management Department in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. IRSS lab members conduct research using remote sensing and geospatial information to study forest related issues and conservation.

Students reproduce traditional wood finishes by B.C.’s First Nations
With help from the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC, Lee and Lube, graduate students in chemical engineering and wood science, collected a number of natural pigments that First Nations people along the coast of the Pacific Northwest would have used to paint totem poles or other decorative wooden objects.

Deer: Beautiful, destructive and driving evolutionary change
For many individuals, seeing deer in the wild provides joy and a sense of connection to nature. However, deer also cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to gardeners, farmers and insurance companies and dramatically change forest and prairie ecosystems through trampling, browsing and grazing.

Faculty of Forestry scientists uncover cause of tree-killing fungus
Forest scientists at the University of British Columbia believe they’ve discovered the root cause of a deadly tree fungus: extra genes. The fungus, Mycosphaerella populorum, uses extra genes to produce a toxin that can cause fatal lesions on the leaves, stems and branches of poplar trees. The extra genes were found through genome sequencing, the mapping of an organism’s DNA.

Seagull populations halved since 1980s
The number of seagulls in the Strait of Georgia is down by 50 per cent from the 1980s. Dr Peter Arcesse say the decline reflects changes in the availability of food. Arcesse and other researchers collected 100 years of data on population numbers of Glaucous-winged Gulls, the most common seagull species found in the Lower Mainland, Victoria, Nanaimo and elsewhere in the region.

Biotechnologist of the Year
Congratulations to Shawn Mansfield who has been named 2014 Forest Biotechnologist of the Year. Learn more

Listening in on salmon migration
A particularly important and sensitive period for salmon is the smolt life stage – when, after time spent in freshwater nursery areas, they transform themselves for life in saltwater and make the long migration to the sea. Very little is known about this life stage, and past research has mostly been limited to laboratory studies or snapshots of smolt distributions at sea. Advances in technology have allowed researchers to begin to better understand the factors that affect the migration of salmon smolts.

Reexamining the Forest
In forest ecology fieldwork, our research comes to life around us. In the forests where we work, this happens to be in the form of skyscraper-tall trees draped in moss and fern over layers of green shrubby plants. As part of his MSc thesis, Ira Sutherland investigates the post-logging recovery of multiple ecosystem services (ie, the benefits that people derive from nature).

Protecting Canada’s Forests using Next Generation Biosurveillance
A new $2.43 million research project, funded in part by Genome BC, has been approved to develop state of the art DNA biosurveillance detection tools for operational deployment. Preventing the introduction and establishment of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) such as the Asian gypsy moth and other forest pests, will protect forests and trees and also maintain Canada’s pest-free status to ensure market access for Canadian forest exports.