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Catching up with 'Observe'

Dernière mise à jour : 1 déc. 2022

Every 3 - 4 months, Silva21 gathers to hear project updates from our highly qualified personnel (HQP). Last year, we organized these meetings by hub to highlight research taking place in close geographical proximity. This time around, we organized these meetings by Silva21's three research themes: Observe, Anticipate, Adapt.


In OBSERVE, we collect data using innovative tools to assess the growth and vigor of trees and thus allow more flexible and adaptive management strategies in the face of climatic stresses and disturbances


On Tuesday, November 15th, we heard from our following HQPs with projects under the Observe theme:

Click on a name to read their summary:

Liam Irwin: Project OB2: Advanced remote sensing

My project focuses on developing a performance monitoring framework for mid-rotation stands, attempting to answer the need for better silvicultural information with the increasing availability of fine-scale remotely sensed data from drone-based sensors. Over the summer I conducted extensive field sampling in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec to investigate topic.

In Quesnel we collected around 250 hectares of high density lidar, and 1cm RGB imagery before thinning. In addition to remote sensing data, we conducted stem mapping of around 1000 trees in plots distributed across the five commercial thinning blocks sampled. This fall, I returned to several of the now thinned blocks and collected a sample of 70 tree cores across my stem mapped plots, as well as 1cm RGB imagery. With these cores I aim to correlate observed growth in diameter with metrics computed from the lidar and RGB tree approximations. These metrics will be applied to explain diameter growth and quantify the degree of competition experienced by each approximated tree in the stand. Doing so will allow us to create a species specific estimated incremental growth map which could be used to prioritize and evaluate the thinning treatment.

Out east we visited Timmins, Ontario and worked in the Romeo-Malette Forest. In the forest we mainly sampled block 18; a large enhanced forest productivity demonstration site. The site was planted with varying species mixes of six local conifers back in 2006 and serves as a diverse area to test tree-level approximation from remote sensing. An additional draw to this site is the existence of high density 2018 and 2020 ALS datasets. By using a combination of tree approximation and species classification with the 2022 drone datasets I hope to backcast these results together wtith previous ALS acquisitions to observe incremental height growth during these periods. I collected around 300 hectares of drone lidar and 1cm RGB imagery to attempt this; as well as measuring around 750 trees in existing permanent growth plots distributed across the area. These data will help answer questions around evaluating species level height growth performance with a drone-based reference, across a diverse boreal site.

During the trip we had the chance to meet with partners at the Green First Forest Products office in Timmins for an evening meal and presentations, this was a very useful exchange of local knowledge and the latest science, thanks for hosting us! In Quebec we also visited the Montmorency Research Forest where we held presentations and had a drone demonstration including the acquisition of drone lidar across a large balsam fir study site.

Liam Irwin (UBC)

PhD student

Sarah Smith-Tripp: OB1a: Regeneration after catastrophic disturbance

Gabrielle Thibeault: OB1b - Optimization of the characterization of burning patterns

Alexandre Morin-Bernard: OB 3b - Early alert systems for forest management

Chris Mulverhill: OB 5a: continuous forest inventory framework

José Riofrio: OB 7: Climate-sensitive growth modeling in Ontario


If you are a member of the Silva21 and would like to receive a copy of all sides, please email our scientific coordinator (


Our ADAPT and ANTICIPATE meetings are taking place later this November, so we'll be sure to post summary reports of those as well.

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