Current Research Projects

Seedlings produced from tree improvement programs in Alberta currently account for ~15% of all reforestation in Alberta. Erosion of the forested land base through expansion of the energy sector, agricultural and urban development combined with climate change, signals an increasing demand for fast growing, well-adapted trees. The main goal of the Industrial Research Chair program is to fill knowledge gaps in both hardwood and softwood tree improvement programs needed to, for example, determine the trade-offs between wood quality and growth rate, support the selection of parent trees for seed orchards, develop an elite breeding strategy for white spruce, and assist with integration of genetic gain into operational growth and yield models. Ultimately, the findings from this research will provide industry and the Alberta government with the information required to make science-based decisions in their operational programs and also assist with both economic and policy decisions.

Additional research in the lab focuses on understanding the plant response mechanisms to drought stress on the distribution of trembling aspen on the landscape and the role that sex plays in plant behaviour.

Grad students/PDFs will collaborate and have an opportunity to learn from scientists, professional foresters and government officials from various organizations including Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Weyerhaeuser Canada, West Fraser Mills Ltd., and more.

For an overview of ongoing projects in the Tree Improvement Lab, check out our current lab members

Resilient-Forests (RES-FOR): Climate, Pests & Policy – Genomic Applications


Funding Agencies and Partners

  • Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
  • Alberta Plywood – A Division of West Fraser Mills Ltd.
  • ANC Timber Ltd.
  • Blue Ridge Lumber Inc.
  • Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (Canfor)
  • Government of Alberta
  • Hinton Wood Products – A Division of West Fraser Mills Ltd.
  • Huallen Seed Orchard Company Ltd.
  • Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.
  • NSERC –¬†Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Sundre Forest Products Inc.
  • The Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA)
  • Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
    – Grande Prairie Timberlands
    – Pembina Timberlands