The 2019 Doug Little Memorial Lecture

Dr. Francis E. (Jack) Putz

Dr. Francis E. (Jack) Putz
Distinguished Professor of Biology and Forestry
University of Florida

Date:         Thursday, November 7, 2019
Time:         7:30 pm
Place:        Canfor Theatre (Room 6-213)
Francis E. “Jack” Putz, Distinguished Professor of Biology and Forestry, University of Florida
Jack’s focus on natural forest management in the tropics commenced in 1973-1976 at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia. He then received his PhD from Cornell and was a NATO Post-Doc at Oxford before rising through the academic ranks at the University of Florida. He has published hundreds of scientific papers, essays, and books that, unfortunately, changed the fates of few tropical forests. Instead, his research contributed to the foundation for conservation industries [e.g., forest certification (e.g., FSC), payments for ecosystem services (PES), and forest-based carbon offsets (e.g., REDD+)] that employ thousands of experts and that operate with budgets that exceed those of many tropical countries. To avoid making the same mistakes, he now listens more and pays closer attention to economic realities, cultural proclivities, and governance failures. Meanwhile he works on the South American prequel to his steamy jungle novel, Borneo Dammed, published under the nom de plume of Juan Camilo Moro.

Failure of Research to Improve the Fates of Tropical Forests:
Plenty of Publications but Little Progress towards Improved Natural Forest Management
Unsustainable exploitation for timber continues to be a major cause of tropical forest degradation (e.g., biodiversity losses, carbon emissions, and hydrological disruptions). Unfortunately, despite hundreds of publications by dozens of scientists over several decades, the recommended improved natural forest management practices are seldom applied. In this talk, some of the reasons for this research-implementation gap will be explored and a more-informed way forward will be suggested. The reasons to be discussed include the failure of researchers to consider the  contexts in which improvements in management practices are likely, lack of recognition of the relevant agents (and tailoring solutions to their particular needs), and unwillingness to accept the often vast differences in value systems between researchers and potential implementers. Given the presenter’s experience with market-based approaches to improving tropical forest management (i.e., forest product certification and carbon offsets through reduced-impact logging), attention will be paid to the reasons why those interventions have failed. Finally, a case will be made for co-construction of detailed theories-of-change to avoid previous pitfalls and to inform future conservation interventions.

The Doug Little Memorial Lecture will be webcast via livestream.
The link for this webcast will be as follows:

History of the Doug Little Lecture Series

The Doug Little Memorial Lecture Series was initiated by the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia in the Fall of 1996.  The annual event commemorates the late J.D. Little, former Senior Vice-President Forest Operations, Northwood Pulp and Timber Limited.  Doug was a founding supporter of UNBC and a recipient in 1986 of the Distinguished Forester Award from the Association of British Columbia Professional Foresters.  Doug Little's philosophy was that with appropriate forest management, the resources of the forest can be sustained for future generations. 

The lecture series is supported by an ​endowment form Northwood Pulp and Timber Limited now Canfor.

Archive of past Doug Little Lectures

2018:  Dr. Michael Wulder, Senior Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada
Sometimes the Crazy Plan Comes Together

2017:  Dr. Andy MacKinnon, Forest Ecologist, Retired RPBio and RPF
Competition and Collaboration

2016:  Dr. Susan Wood-Bohm, Alberta Innovates - BIO Solutions
"BioCleantech: New Opportunities for Canada's Forest Sector"

2015:  No lecture

2014:  Dr. Richard H. Waring, Oregon State University
"Managing Forests That Won't Stand Still"

2013:  No lecture

2012:  Dr. Fred L. Bunnell, University of British Columbia
"Her Majesty, Social License and Astonishing Opportunity - Observations of a Bystander"

2011:  Dr. (M.A.) Peggy Smith, R.P.F., Lakehead University
"Giving Voice to First Nations' Views of Land Stewardship: Moving Beyond the Boreal Conservation vs. Development Debate"

2010:  Dr. Briony Penn, University of Victoria
"The Big Burn"

2009:  Dr. Robert Kozak, University of BC
"The Conservationist’s Axe and Other Thoughts About Forests and Communities  in Transition”

2008:  Dr. Winifred Kessler, US Forest Service, Alaska Region
"Revisiting Forestry's Crystal Ball"

2007: Dr. Christian Messier, Université du Québec à Montréal
"The Decline of the Forestry Profession: Causes and Solutions?"

2006: Dr. Ben Cashore, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
"Sustainable Forest Policy Development in the Global Era: What Role Ought British Columbia to Play?"

2005: Dr. David Lindenmayer, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the Australian National University
“Salvage Harvesting and Environmental Responses – Australian Perspectives”

2004: Dr. Raymond Guries, Forest Ecology and Management, University of Wisconsin
“Forestry Education:  Meeting Expectations in a Changing World”

2003: Dr. Yvan Hardy, Chief Scientist for Natural Resources Canada
“Natural Resources Management:  Positioning Science a Step ahead of the Issues”

2002: Larry Pedersen, Chief Forester, Ministry of Forestry, BC
“Bob Dylan was right – The times they are a changin!”

2001: Dr. John Zasada, US Forest Service, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
“Goods from the woods, Alaska and Minnesota Style”

2000: Dr. Gordon Weetman, University of British Columbia
“Distinctly Canadian silviculture and forest management”

1999: Dr. Linda Coady, MacMillan Bloedel Ltd.
“What I saw of the revolution that you won’t find on anybody’s website”

1998:Dr. Jack Ward Thomas, University of Montana
“The worst of times, the best of times:  Forestry at the millennium”

1997: Dr. Gordon Baskerville, University of British Columbia
“Canadian Forestry in the rear view mirror”

1996: Dr. Rod Carrow, University of Toronto
“Canada’s quest for forest sustainability:  Options, obstacles and opportunities”