Here are some examples of projects on which Tembec has recently participated.
Nipissing University Forest Bio-products Research Chair
This research effort is focused on the Romeo-Malette and Hearst Forest land base. Investigations are conducted at the individual tree level and then scaled to the stand and landscape. Key accomplishments in 2011 were the development of ecosite based yield curves, for black spruce ecosites, and the investigation of wood properties such as wood density, micro fibril angle, and modulus of elasticity and their relationship to ecosite. Another major accomplishment was the development of a model that identifies spatial location, and biomass quantities for the non-timber forest product Canada Yew (Taxus Canadensis) this plant is used to manufacture the cancer treatment drug taxal. A by-product of this project has been the capacity development of students, and the creation of a valuable archive of tree cores that can be leveraged to answer research questions for many years in the future.
Tembec and First Nations Working Toward Herbicide Alternatives
In 2011, Tembec and the Mushkegowuk Environmental Research Centre (MERC) embarked on a partnership to reduce herbicide use on Tembec’s forest licenses. The Herbicide Alternative Project, or HAP as it is known, is Tembec’s response to the concerns it has heard from First Nations over the use of chemical herbicides
The first step in the HAP process was to convene a Steering Committee made up of members of First Nation communities and regional councils, as well as staff from Tembec, MERC and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. This committee met four times over the past year to discuss forest regeneration techniques, site conditions and herbicide application and to explore how Tembec can begin to reduce the use of chemical herbicides in their forestry operations.
The next phase in the process which began in spring 2012, involves establishing ‘trial areas’ of an operational scale on the Gordon Cosens and Martel Forests where a non-herbicide approach will be implemented and monitored. The monitoring of the non-herbicide trials will be a long-term project that will require continual visits to the sites to gauge the growth of the planted trees as well as the competition species. It is anticipated that each year additional operational trial sites will be brought on board to continually increase the amount of forest area included in the non-herbicide approach.
Forest Inventory Research (LIDAR)
In 2011 the bulk of the inventory research effort that Tembec supported was conducted in the Hearst Forest in North Eastern Ontario. Through the application of airborne Light Distance and Ranging (LiDAR) technologies, this project was able to demonstrate major advancements in forest inventory attributes and their resolution. This collaborative research effort has demonstrated the application of new remote sensing technologies to derive attributes such as volume, biomass, tree diameter, and forest structure at a very precise resolution. This information will not only aid planning and operations but will also contribute to forest sustainability by providing a more accurate description of forest habitat.
The inventory research team also participated in a project with FPInnovations in the Romeo-Malette forest; this project investigated the application of LiDAR based inventory knowledge, and its economic impact on planning and operations, when compared to traditional inventory attributes.
Forest Derived Biomass Research
Tembec is involved in number of research projects that are investigating the use of forest biomass; these efforts transcend both the Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest region and the Boreal forest region. In general these studies explore the potential impacts and opportunities associated with the removal of additional forest biomass to generate products such as energy. The short term outcomes from this research effort describe the product recovery from a number of sites, the productivity and costs associated with recovering this product, calibrate landscape level inventories for biomass, and describe the immediate impacts on the forest. The long term investigations are focused on sustainability thresholds at multi-trophic levels.
Since 2002, Tembec is involved in a project of forest ecosystem management to implement a forest management strategy inspired by natural disturbance dynamics in northwestern Abitibi, Québec. Now in the fifth year of implementation of this strategy, we believe it is possible to achieve forest management that is included within the limits of the natural variability of the forest ecosystem of the area concerned. The strategy includes, among others, the spatial organization of cuts in major agglomerations while maintaining large area of forest and some residual forest patch of different forms: block island, peninsulas, residual structures in cut blocks, etc. Tests are carried out modeling and monitoring system is in place to understand, anticipate and assess the effects on biodiversity, forest potential, local economy as well as on forest carbon storage. This project is recognized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife as being one of three pilots ecosystem management in Quebec.
Paludification is a process characterized by the accumulation of soil organic matter that creates a cold, and wet environment. This leads to a conversion of productive stands into forested bog, with low forest productivity. High intensity fires, that burn most of the organic layer, can reverse this phenomenon, while low intensity fires tend to accentuate this process as they leave a lot of charred organic matter over the mineral soil. Current harvesting methods minimize soil disturbance, thus mimicking the low-intensity fires, and reducing forest productivity in some sites. This project aims to determine the best way of harvesting and processing forest peatland sites and sites that may become peatlands, so they maintain or increase their productivity and, in a second phase, to develop a tool to determine which peat stands have the most potential to remain productive after harvest.