Forestry and Agrifoods
The Agency is involved in numerous silviculture research activities and takes a proactive stand in ecosystem health, ranging from nursery research to hardwood regeneration.
In the pursuit of applied ecosystem management, innovation is expanding the more traditional activities of silviculture into newer areas of ecosystem health and associated functions. Examples of specific investigations to produce quantifiable results are:
The types of silvicultural research activities carried out by the Agency fall within four broad categories:
These research activities revolve around tree seedling planting and involve such issues as planting technique, site preparation, vegetation control and early seedling growth enhancement. As an example, the Agency has trials in place to evaluate the benefits of seedling fertilization at the time of planting.
Research in this area typically revolves around the response of juvenile forests to various improvement activities such as density control, fertilization and intermediate harvesting (i.e., commercial thinning). As an example, the Agency has in place a series of trials to look at the response of various forest stand types to commercial thinning.
The Agency has in place a program to improve the genetic quality of the seedlings that we grow for reforestation. In this way, we hope to enhance the yield from our forest plantations. In support of this effort, research trials are established to test the genetically enhanced seedlings, thereby providing us with the information required to select those trees which are truly superior. Additionally, tree improvement research includes testing to determine what tree species grow best under various circumstances. For example, the Agency maintains a series of conifer species in which the performance of native tree species is compared to that of several exotic species.
Nursery oriented silvicultural research primarily involves the effort to produce the best quality seedling at the most reasonable cost. An example of this type of research would be trials now in place to assess the performance of seedlings grown in a variety of container types.
The information generated through the Agency's silvicultural research program is used to guide and modify operational procedures and standards. Results are disseminated throughout the provincial forestry community through workshops, field trips and via a report series entitled Silviculture Notebook.
In addition to true research, Silviculture and Research Section also devotes considerable resources to the development of silvicultural applications for new and existing technologies. For example, the Reforestation Forester, another staff member of the Section, has been doing extensive developmental work with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in an effort to enhance the quality of our silviculture treatment mapping.