UNBC Receives Funding to Research Best Uses for Pine Beetle-Infested Wood

A research project at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) will be receiving $100,000 to study the best uses for stands of timber killed by the mountain pine beetle. The project, led by UNBC Ecosystem Science and Management professor Art Fredeen, involves researchers from UNBC, UBC, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The research aims to assist policy-makers and forest-users in achieving the best balance when utilizing BC's forest resource. Specifically, it attempts to increase understanding of when and where it makes sense to harvest beetle-attacked forests.

The award--to be split over two years--is part of $450,000 in new research funding announced by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). The goal is to aid studies on the impact of climate change on the province's forests and find more sustainable management practices.

"Many parties, including the BC government, independent power producers, and the forestry industry, have advocated for the production of energy from wood, driven largely by the mountain pine beetle outbreak and the fate of an estimated 675 million cubic metres of pine in the province," says Dr. Fredeen. "However, new research indicates that these attacked pine stands are far from lifeless, and in many cases are already carbon sinks, in addition to their providing quality lumber and bioenergy fuel."