Forests are Canada’s most vital natural and renewable resource, and they contribute significantly to the quality of our environment, the well-being of our society and the health of our economy. Until recently, the Canadian forest products industry basically focused on mass producing commodity products for export. For some time now, it has been changing its focus to adding value to its products. Forest management has simultaneously intensified to enhance forest productivity and value. To ensure that the forest resource is managed, harvested and used for maximum economic value, a series of integrated models needs to be developed to support a decision-making process based on product value and markets, rather than mass production.
The Network is organized around five research themes:
Each theme involves a Theme Leader who ensures smooth development of all projects in the theme.
The management office for the Strategic Network on Forest Management for Value-added Products is located at Université Laval, Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt. Dr. Alain Cloutier is the network’s director, with Dr. Tony Zhang as co-director. Besides the management office, the governing structure includes a Scientific Committee, whose main function is to ensure relevance and progress in the Network’s research activities, and recommend changes in the research program as may be required. It also includes an Executive Committee responsible for the Network’s guidance and scientific orientation, and a Board, which oversees the Network’s operations, including financial management. The Network involves more than 30 scientists from 10 Canadian universities: Université Laval, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), University of Toronto (U of T), University of Alberta (U of A), University of New-Brunswick (UNB), Queen’s University, Lakehead University, University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The Network also includes the members of the Executive Committee and the Board, a number of master’s and PhD students, and several postdoctoral trainees. In addition, the Network relies on the support of 10 industry or government partners: FPInnovations, AbitibiBowater, Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife (QMNRW), Natural Resources Canada – Fibre Centre, Association des entrepreneurs en travaux sylvicoles du Québec (AETSQ), Saskatchewan Forest Centre (SFC), Ministry of Forests and Range of British Columbia, New Brunswick Natural Resources (NBNR), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) and Tembec.
The overall objective of the Strategic Network is to develop a series of integrated decision-aid models in support of the development of value-added products from the Canadian boreal forest. The research projects are distributed among five different themes: 1) Modeling tree and stand growth in the boreal forest; 2) Three-dimensional modeling of stem quality; 3) Modeling product yield at the primary breakdown stage; 4) Modeling value-added product yield; and 5) Development of integrated decision-aid systems based on the information generated under the other four themes, and the costs involved in silvicultural, harvesting, manufacturing and marketing operations, as well the value of the final products.
The development of an optimized product manufacturing system for major boreal wood species will help the industry to optimize manufacturing processes in relation to stem geometry and internal wood characteristics, thus maximizing the value of individual trees. The ultimate effect of the Network will be to help the industry to enhance its value chain from the forest to the product by supporting its strategic orientations and enhancing its competitiveness, as well as the value of our forest resource.