Silva21: New forestry research program funded by NSERC

Silva21 is a new NSERC Alliance Grants Research Program led by Dr. Alexis Achim, professor of forestry, geographic, and geometrics in the department of Wood and Forestry Sciences at Université de Laval. Dr. Achim is also the Director of the university’s Renewable Materials Research Centre.

Silva21 aims to provide data, tools, and practical solutions to improve the resilience of Canadian forests to various disturbances and sources of stress, thereby contributing to the health of these ecosystems and the well-being of the communities that depend on them. The program will include 38 research projects across five universities with 50 collaborators. The program will receive $ 5.5M in funding from 2021 to 2026.

Research themes for the program include observation, anticipation, and adaptation. They seek to collect data using innovative tools to assess the growth and vigor of trees and thus allow more flexible and adaptive management strategies in the face of climatic stresses and disturbances. Additionally, they aim to improve growth models and prediction methods to account for climate reality and synthesize the multiple risks of forest disturbance. Finally, the goal is to test innovative silvicultural treatments and forest management strategies adapted to the new socio-environmental reality, thus ensuring the sustainability of Canada’s fiber supply.

The twelve research sites across North America provide a series of areas of regional interest from which several projects can investigate similar questions but using different data sets, locations, species, and variables.

Dr. Achim and Dr. Nicholas Coops assure the scientific direction of the program. Dr. Coops is the Canada Research Chair in Remote Sensing and the Head of the Department of Forest Resources Management in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia.

Twelve principal researchers and approximately 50 collaborators from across the country will contribute to this unprecedented research effort in forestry. The project brings together five universities, five private forestry companies, a First Nations community, five provincial government agencies, the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC), and FPInnovations as national research organizations.

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