Lorsque les arbres ne cachent plus la forêt

Vous êtes-vous déjà demandé d'où pouvaient bien provenir les renseignements sur lesquels repose la gestion forestière au Nouveau-Brunswick? Les décisions se fondent sur les recherches qu'entreprennent avec soin les étudiants diplômés et leurs superviseurs pour répondre aux questions que les planificateurs de l'exploitation forestière peuvent avoir demandées. L'auteure Jeanne Moore décrit les détails de trois de ces projets présentement en cours à l'University of New Brunswick :

-On entreprend des essais de résistance génétique pour déterminer pourquoi, dans un même peuplement, la maladie corticale du hêtre s'attaque à certains arbres et pas à d'autres.

-Le projet des placeaux en réserve examine les effets de la récolte de diverses espèces de plantes.

-D'autres chercheurs développent des cartes détaillées des sols et de leur emplacement selon la topographie et l'hydrographie d'une région afin d'arriver à situer avec plus de précisions les endroits qui possèdent des conditions particulières de drainage et de croissance.

 

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Jeanne Moore
Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management
University of New Brunswick
May 2008

o you ever wonder where the information comes from that guides forest management in New Brunswick? Decisions regarding wildlife, recreation, industrial forestry planning, and policy, as well as private woodlot management, are informed by research that graduate students and their supervisors diligently undertake to provide answers to questions that forest land use planners may have.

At the faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, approximately 80 projects are underway at various stages of completion that guide forest management decisions in New Brunswick. In the fields of forest resource management and forest engineering research, subject areas include insects, birds, and small mammals, remote sensing technology, socio-economic and policy research, forest stand dynamics, soil and hydrology, genetic diversity, carbon sequestration, forest zoning, harvest operations and wood quality, among others. Students conducting this research come from countries around the world; they are working in an effort to bring an understanding of the science behind what we see in the forest, and what might occur should that be changed.

Three examples of projects, selected from the diversity of those available, are highlighted here.

Genetic expression of resistance in Beech bark disease (Beata Chledowski, Dr. Judy Loo, Supervisor)


(Photo: Jeanne Moore)

With genetic resistance testing, research is being done to determine why some beech trees in our Acadian Forest are clear of beech bark disease while others (even in the same stand) are infected. This project has progressed over a number of years from looking at the location and conditions of clear beech versus diseased beech, to attempts to grow clear beech under various laboratory conditions (exposure to disease). Currently, investigation into the molecular and genetic differences that might indicate resistance to the disease is being carried out. The outcome of this work is to provide a source of genetically resistant clear beech trees to repopulate forest stands with this once disease-free species.

Edge effects and vascular plants of leave patches
(Megan de Graaf, Dr. Mark Roberts, Supervisor)


(Photo: Jeanne Moore)

The leave patches project investigates the effects of forest harvesting on various plant species. By leaving areas of forest intact within a cut, these areas act as "life boats" or "refuges" for plants that will be able to reproduce and grow again in the cut. This project looks at whether plants are negatively affected by harvesting, and the dimensions and characteristics the patches should have in order to be most effective in safe-guarding the source of new plants. One of the main outcomes of this project is direction to forest managers about harvest block layout and maintenance of site conditions to retain the original forest composition.

Refining detail of forest site classification for the Fundy Model Forest in New Brunswick
(Jeanne Moore, Dr. Paul Arp, Supervisor)


(Photo: Jeanne Moore)

Forest site classification relies on detailed mapping of soils and their placement according to topography and water in the landscape, in order to most accurately map sites of particular drainage and growing conditions. Since the interaction of soil and water determines forest growth and associated forest habitat, knowing the precise location of these conditions will mean more careful management of them. The information that more detailed site maps will provide can be used for forest productivity planning, as well as maintenance of forest ecosystems.

Although at different scales, these projects all deal with trees at some level - genetic, forest stand, or forest landscape. Careful examination of detail at any level provides information about the associated forest conditions and habitat, and makes for better, or at least, more informed, forest management. UNB has a long history of forestry research and the tradition continues. A listing of current projects can be found at http://www.unbf.ca/forestry/gradstudentdirectory.php.