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Build 2000


Trent University Researcher Receives $540,000 Research Award


Dr. Jim Buttle leads national research team to protect Canada's valuable water resources from possible forest operations impacts

Monday, June 19, 2006, Peterborough

Professor Jim Buttle, from the department of Geography at Trent University, will receive $540,000 over three years to develop the first national Canadian forest management watershed framework that will help forest managers to better protect Canada's valuable water resources from possible impacts from forest operations. This award is part of a $3.3 million investment over three years made by the Government of Canada through a Network of Centres of Excellence, called the Sustainable Forest Management Network (SFMN), in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

"The Government of Canada is committed to long-term competitiveness and sustainability for all Canadians," said the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Networks of Centres of Excellence. "This government support is leading to a positive forward-looking business environment through scientific research."

The investment coincides with the opening of the SFM Network's fourth scientific conference, being held at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton. More than 300 participants, representing the forest industry, provincial governments, First Nations, and non-government organizations, as well as forest practitioners and researchers from Canada and abroad, will discuss the latest developments in integrated land management, evolution of sustainable forest-dependent communities, water-management strategies, public participation in planning processes, natural disturbance management and emulation, climate change adaptation, and tenure reform.

"Water is critical to sustaining forest ecosystems and communities living in forest areas, and information on its storage and movement is essential for forest managers. While some hydrologic information is available, it isn't enough to help managers put specific research results into the proper context," says Dr. Jim Buttle. "Where you are in the country determines if you should focus on processes related to surface water, groundwater or water held in features such as peat bogs. Knowledge of these key processes will help forest managers to answer properly site specific questions regarding forest operations."

Buttle's research team aims to create a database of relevant forest and water research conducted throughout the country.  This will be supplemented by data on factors such as climate, geology, soils and forests across Canada, and model simulations of water dynamics under varying forest conditions. This information will allow the research to be placed in a national framework so that researchers and forest managers will be better able to determine the key processes relevant to answering their particular forest and forest management questions. It will provide a mechanism for up-scaling information obtained through traditional Aboriginal and academic knowledge. Ultimately, this national framework will allow forest managers to make decisions relevant from site specific stands to whole forests, and to translate that information between different stands as well as different forest landscapes for specific operational and climatic conditions.

Dr. Buttle's proposal went through an extensive scientific peer-review process. His project received significant support from the Governments of Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario, Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service as well as forward-thinking forest industries including Abitibi-Consolidated Inc., Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd., and Tembec Inc. The project was also supported by Ducks Unlimited Canada and Moose Cree First Nation.

Dr. Buttle will be supported by the Canadian Forest Service (in the national database creation), and by Drs. Fred Beall and Irena Creed, University of Western Ontario, Drs. Kevin Devito, Carl Mendoza and Uldis Silins, University of Alberta, Dr. Dan Moore, University of British Columbia, Dr. André Plamondon, Laval University and Dr. Paul Sibley, University of Guelph.

About The Sustainable Forest Management Network

The Sustainable Forest Management Network facilitates collaborative, applied research partnerships among 32 industry, government, Aboriginal, and non-government partners in supporting the work of more than 190 researchers. Their research efforts are accomplished thanks to 300 highly qualified personnel working at 35 participating institutions across Canada. The SFM Network represents one of the few forums to bring Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal forest resource managers and policy makers around one table to promote dialogue and the development of a common understanding in a non-confrontational environment.

About the Networks of Centres of Excellence

Networks of Centres of Excellence create unique partnerships among all stakeholders, governments, businesses, workers and communities, and are an initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Industry Canada.

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For more project information, please contact:
Dr. James Buttle, (705) 748-1011 ext.1475 or jbuttle@trentu.ca

For more information about SFM Network:
Marvin Abugov, Communications Manager, SFM Network, (780) 492-2492 or mabugov@ualberta.ca

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Last Updated June 20, 2006