Research

Three students at a microscope

The Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management is one of the leading natural resources research centres in Canada. We are home to more than 40 active researchers and 80 graduate students. Our research partners include federal and provincial governments; the Canadian Space Agency, and the forest products industry.  

We have particular strength in the areas of soils and watershed management, forest biology and genetics, forest management, fish and wildlife ecology, wood science and technology and the natural resource social sciences.

Follow these links to discover the many ways our faculty members and graduate students are creating new knowledge about our environment and how we can sustain it.

Research Groups

Centres and Labs

Research Projects

Project: Forest windthrow under current and future climate regimes: an analysis based on post-tropical storm Arthur and the Christmas Mountain Blowdown Event

Researchers: C.P-A. Bourque, J.I. MacLellan (Univ Toronto), P. Gauchon (UQAM)

Modelling forest windthrow for both current and future climate as determined by historical and limited area-modelling of regional patterns in air temperature and maximum wind speed

 

Project: Desert shrub-ecosystem response to short- and long-term variation in environmental factors

Researchers: C.P-A. Bourque, Zha T.-S., Jia X (Beijing Forestry Univ)

Eddy-covariance-based monitoring of a desert shrub-ecosystem in NW China in the  assessment of system response to local variations in environmental hydrometeorological variables

 

Project: Hardwood mortality in eastern Inner Mongolia, PR China: an issue of recent climate change or some other factor?

Researchers: C.P-A. Bourque, M. Zhou, N. Zeng, (Inner Mongolian Agricultural University)

Examining the cause of mortality in several hardwood species along a desert-forest ecotone in eastern Inner Mongolia by accessing forest inventory data and modelled environmental hydrometeorological variables

 

Project: Desertification in NW China

Researchers: C.P-A. Bourque, N. Shan, Yang (Chinese Academy of Forestry), T.-S. Zha (Beijing Forestry Univ)

Examining the environmental causes of land surface desertification from field- and satellite-based measurements of environmental and ecological factors

 

Project: Eddy-covariance monitoring of an immature softwood stand in south-central New Brunswick

Researchers: C.P-A. Bourque, F.-R. Meng, (UNB), Z. Xing (AAF Canada), D. O’Toole. J. MacMillan (CFS)

Ecosystem monitoring of an immature softwood stand in the Acadian Research Forest with a 31-m ecological tower and the eddy-covariance technique

 

Project: Tree branching patterns in hardwood species

Researchers: C.P-A. Bourque, F.-R. Meng, (UNB), E. Swift (Canadian Wood Fibre Centre), T. McGrath (NS DNR)

Generating a series of predictive equations of branching habits in five hardwood species in pre-commercially thinned stands of variable density

 

Project: Spatial analysis of tree mortality in balsam fir

Researchers: C.P-A. Bourque, F.-R. Meng, C. Akpanya (UNB)

Relating balsam fir mortality in NB to data from the provincial network of permanent sample plots and modelled surfaces of eco-hydrometeorological variables associated with tree growth and mortality

 

Project: An assessment of balsam fir provenances from eastern Canada: trading spatial variation for projection in time

Researchers: C.P-A. Bourque, F.-R. Meng, M.E. Akalusi (UNB)

Extending leaf-level measurements of photosynthesis to entire canopies in an assessment of eco-physiological performance of balsam fir provenances sourced from different locations throughout the species’ natural range

Project: New Brunswick Innovation Research Chair program in advanced wood products

Researcher(s): Dr. Ying Hei Chui (UNB)

Developing high performance engineered wood products that can be used in taller and larger wood structures

 

Project: Determining the mechanism of ‘protective effects’ of hardwoods on spruce budworm defoliation of balsam fir

Researcher: Dr. David MacLean (UNB)

Analyzing how the protective effect of hardwoods varies over the course of a budworm outbreak, and how should it be incorporated into stand growth model and decision support system projections of stand and forest development

 

Project: Use of Sensors in the Wood Industry

Researcher(s): Drs. Brigitte Leblon, Bruce Balcom and Bryce MacMillan (UNB)

Developing sensors to analyze the properties of wood in real-time

 

Project: Use of polarimetric SAR images for fuel moisture monitoring over grasslands and boreal forests

Researcher: Dr. Brigitte Leblon (UNB)

Developing a streamlined method that Radarsat-2 data for fuel moisture monitoring over grassland and boreal forests

 

Project: Experimental manipulation of habitat structures in intensively managed spruce plantations to increase conservation value

Researcher(s): Dr. David MacLean (UNB)

Determine how alternative commercial thinning of spruce plantations affected responses of taxa that have a clear connection to deadwood and thinning response

 

Project: EIS-SBW: Early intervention strategies to suppress a spruce budworm outbreak

Researchers: Drs. David MacLean, Van Lantz, Chris Hennigar (UNB), and 28 others.

This ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund $18 million project to Forest Protection Limited and the research team is developing and testing a new strategy to suppress an emerging spruce budworm outbreak by early population manipulation techniques

 

Project: Habitat associations of Bicknell's Thrush in north-central New Brunswick

Researcher:  Dr. A.W. Diamond (UNB)

Determining habitat requirements of the threatened Bicknell's Thrush in industrial forest of north-central New Brunswick

 

Project: Wet areas and flow-channel mapping in forested watersheds  

Researchers: Drs. Paul Arp, Jae Ogilve (UNB), B. White (Gov of Alberta) and C. Bater (Gov of Alberta)

Digital elevation research, modelling and mapping of flow connectivity, soil drainage and vegetation distribution by soil moisture regime across the forested watersheds of Alberta - leading to innovations in policy and land management formulations, and detailed day-to-day operations planning 

 

Project: Relating tree growth metrics to changing soil conditions from ridge top to valleys

Researchers: P. A. Arp (UNB)

Modelling and mapping tree height growth change according to the ridge-to-valley soil continuum, by landform

 

Project: Integrating multisource data for improved forest inventory

Researcher(s): Dr. John Kershaw (UNB)

Examining ways to incorporate digital technology in traditional forest measurements and airborne LiDAR to improve estimates of forest inventories

 

Project: Regeneration in New Brunswick tolerant hardwood stands following different methods of harvesting

Researcher(s): Drs. Marek Krasowski, John Kershaw (UNB), M. Lavigne (CFS)

Evaluates the composition, abundance, and dominance of desirable and competing tree species following harvests of various intensities, and identifying harvesting methods most effective in promoting desirable composition of regenerating stands.  

 

Project: Advancing the knowledge on the effectiveness of tree selection and improvement in enhancing growth without compromising quality of commercially important conifers

Researchers: Drs. Marek Krasowski (UNB), Yuhui Weng (NB DNR)

Assessing the success of existing selection and breeding programs for assorted coniferous species in New Brunswick and elsewhere

 

Project: Genetic effects of anthropogenic and natural disturbances, and minimum viable population size in forest trees

Researcher: Dr. Om P. Rajora (UNB)

Understanding genetic diversity and population structure genetic and evolutionary effects of forest management practices, fragmentation, forest fires, air pollution, climate change and range marginalization; genetic basis of local adaptation; and minimum viable population size in forest trees

 

Environmental & natural resource-focused:

 

Project: Responses of breeding seabirds to environmental (climate) change

Researchers:  Drs. A.W. Diamond (UNB), H. Major (UNB-SJ, Biology)

Detecting changes in a rapidly-warming marine ecosystem (Gulf of Maine) through responses of breeding seabirds

 

Project: Assimilation of optical and radar data into permafrost/soil temperature modelling in relationship to carbon and water cycles in northern ecosystems
Researcher(s): Dr. Brigitte Leblon, Dr. Armand LaRocque (UNB) and Dr. Chunping Ou

Developing a streamlined method that uses space Earth Observation (EO) data for mapping permafrost thawing extent in the Arctic and sub-arctic regions.

 

Project: Towards climate change adaptation: flood risk modelling and mapping

Researchers: P. A. Arp (UNB)

Digital elevation research: high-resolution modelling and mapping of inland and coastal flood risks across New Brunswick, from rural to built-up areas

 

Project: Examining soil-hydrological consequences of climate change on mechanical soil properties

Researchers: P. A. Arp (UNB)

Researching, modelling and mapping hydrological effects of climate and daily weather change on susceptibility of soils to on- and off-road traffic, at 1 m resolution

 

Project: Assessing the effect of climate change on permafrost (NRCAN)

Researcher: P. A. Arp (UNB)

Increased warming and associated decreasing extent of permafrost in wet areas leads to a progressive spreading of collapse scars across the boreal to subarctic transition zone in Canada. We determined through daily hydrology modelling and geospatial interpretations that this spread is directed towards the interior of permafrost-supporting peat plateaus, and that this spreading is consistent with the warming trend as captured by way of 60-year long daily weather records 

 

Project: Climate change impacts on nutrient loading in freshwater ecosystems. 

Researchers:  Drs. F.R. Meng (UNB), R. Jamieson (Dalhousie University); G. Gagnon (Dalhousie University); S. Li (AAFC)

Assessing the potential impacts of climate change on nutrient loading from forest and agriculture landscapes into freshwater ecosystems.

 

Project: Carbon dynamics of fine roots in eastern forest ecosystems dominated by balsam fir

Researcher(s): Drs. Marek Krasowski, John Kershaw (UNB), and M. Lavigne (CFS)

Assessing the extent of intraspecific variation in the turnover of fine roots in balsam-fir-dominated forest stands in eastern Canada, and associated implications of C cycling in terrestrial ecosystems.

 

Project: Economic impacts, costs, and adaptation options of climate-induced sea-level rise in Canadian coastal Provinces

Researcher(s): Drs. Van Lantz (UNB), Patrick Withey (StFX)

Assessing the extent to which human structures, forests, and agriculture sectors will be impacted by climate-induced sea-level rise in Canadian coastal provinces.

 

Project:  Structural & functional spruce genomics related to growth and adaptation to climate change

Researchers: Dr. Om P. Rajora (UNB), Mr. John E. Major (CFS)

Developing genomic and transcriptomic resources in black and red spruce by conduction genome & transcriptome sequencing, discovering & functionally annotating expressed genes, developing genetic  markers & genome mapping; understanding the genic & genomic basis of responses & adaption of spruce to climate change conditions; and genome & QTL mapping of traits related to growth & adaptation to climate change 

 

Project: Broad ecosystem implications of anthropogenic food subsidies in an avian generalist: Herring Gull colonies in Atlantic Canada

Researcher(s): Drs. A.W. Diamond (UNB), R.A. Ronconi (Environment Canada/Bird Studies Canada), G.Robertson (Environment Canada)

Quantifying the reliance of a key ecosystem indicator species on anthropogenic food sources, at the three largest colonies for this species in Atlantic Canada

 

Project: Risk and "hotspot" identification for colonial seabirds in Atlantic Canada: using science to direct effective conservation strategies

Researchers: Drs. A.W. Diamond (UNB), L. McFarlane Tranquilla and R.A. Ronconi (Bird Studies Canada)

Tracking feeding movements of colonial seabirds in Bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine to identify candidate Marine Protected Areas and areas sensitive to impacts of oil spills

 

Project: Role of Carnivores in Reducing Moose Density

Researchers; Dr. Graham Forbes (UNB), James Bridgland (Parks Canada)

Determining how to reduce the impact of hyperabundant herbivores in Cape Breton National Park, Nova Scotia

 

Project: Threats to Bald Eagle related to Status Assessment

Researchers: Dr. Graham Forbes (UNB), Mary Sabine (NB Dept Natural Resources)

Information requirements for status assessment of Bald Eagle in New Brunswick

 

Project: Raccoon and skunk populations in New Brunswick

Researchers: Dr. Graham Forbes (UNB), Mike Allan (NB Dept Agriculture)

Population density estimation by habitat type for rabies control programme

 

Project: Environmental factors affecting survival and development rates in wild Atlantic salmon eggs

Researchers: R. Cunjak and M. Lavery (UNB) and M. Hambrook (Miramichi Salmon Association)

Periodic sampling of natural salmon redds (nests) in 5 different streams in the Miramichi catchment to assess variable survival rates as part of an overall salmon management strategy to understand recruitment dynamics

 

Project: Effect of flow regulation on growth and survival of stream fishes

Researchers: R. Cunjak and A. Hards (UNB)

Study of the responses of stream fishes from irregular flow releases from NB Power’s storage lakes in the headwaters of the Tobique River, northern NB

 

Project: Food web structure in headwater streams of Thailand

Researchers: R. Cunjak and B. Hayden (UNB) and F.W. Beamish (Burapha University, Thailand)

Using stable isotope analyses to determine food web structure and energy flow in the headwater streams of eastern and western Thailand

 

Project: Modeling stock-recruitment dynamics of Atlantic salmon in the Miramichi and Restigouche Rivers

Researchers: R. Cunjak and G. Dauphin (UNB) and G. Chaput & C. Breau (Fisheries & Oceans Canada)

Using Bayesian hierarchical modelling to study factors influencing the dynamics of population abundance of adult and juvenile salmon as part of an overall salmon management and conservation strategy

 

Project: Best management practices to maximize environmental and economic benefits of potato production in NB
Researcher(s): Drs. Fan-rui Meng, Van Lantz (UNB), Sheng Li (AAFC), and others

Assessing the environmental, productivity, and economic benefits of particular crop rotations and soil conservation structures used by farmers to aid in the development of sustainable management policies. 

                                             

Project: Atlantic Eelgrass Monitoring Consortium

Researcher(s): Dr. Brigitte Leblon, Dr. Armand LaRocque (UNB)

Developing a streamlined method that uses space Earth Observation (EO) data for eelgrass bed mapping across Atlantic Canada

 

Project: Community self-assessment tools for positive transformational change

Researchers: Drs. Tom Beckley and Louise Comeau (UNB)

Testing the efficacy of a community capacity tool in four New Brunswick communities.

 

Project: Energy alternatives in Canada

Researchers: Drs. Tom Beckely (UNB) and John Parkins (University of Alberta)

Assessing the public’s understanding of energy literacy and the cultural implications of energy alternatives

 

Project: Towards better wetland and floodplain delineations

Researcher: P. A. Arp (UNB)

Compiling existing information about wetland and flood plain delineations, and adding hydrological interpretations and function to the delineations

 

Project: Researching the continuum of soil property change, from ridge tops to valleys, by landform

Researchers: P. A. Arp (UNB)

Translating existing soil survey information into continuous soil property change maps, through digital elevation research, modelling and mapping

 

Project: Modelling and mapping the atmospheric versus geogenic mercury content of vegetation, soils and sediments across Canada (Env. Canada, NRCAN)

Researchers: P. A. Arp (UNB)

Case studies coupled with the open file system of the Geological Survey of Canada led to a comprehensive assessment and interpretation of the geographic and climate-affected distribution of Hg in vegetation, soils and sediments across Canada