BC Government Provides Funding for World Class Forest Research Centre

October 16, 2006
UNBC is a key player in one of the world’s most advanced forest research laboratories. EvaluTree is a partnership involving UNBC, UVic, and the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (PAPRICAN), which is based in Vancouver.
Click here to access the BC Government News Release

EvaluTree has received $2.5 million in funding from the BC Government’s Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF), matching an earlier contribution from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. It is the largest grant for research infrastructure that UNBC has ever received from BCKDF. While some of the research equipment is located in Vancouver and Victoria, the following state-of-the-art technology is being used at UNBC in Prince George:

X-Ray Densitometer
Located in the I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Lab, this equipment uses X-rays to gain insight into the wood fibre properties of entire trees, just by analyzing cores from standing trees. It is the only equipment of its kind in Northern BC, providing information on tree growth rates, fibre density, and wood quality. The equipment will be used in the short term for research on how water affects wood. This will involve research on trees that are particularly dry (killed by the mountain pine beetle) as well as those that are unusually wet (submerged in reservoirs behind hydroelectric dams).

Portable Acoustic Tree Assessment Tool
This equipment is used for assessing timber quality of standing trees. Forestry professor Ian Hartley is shown using the equipment in the photo at left. It is a portable device that uses sound waves between two probes. The speed that the sound wave takes to travel from one probe to the other is used to detect internal cracks and/or rot and measure properties such as wood strength. This information is transmitted via Bluetooth technology to a portable handheld device (PDA) for further analysis on a computer. Research applications include the shelf life of trees infected by the mountain pine beetle, routine inspection of utility poles, and in-the-field identification of trees most suitable for secondary manufacturing products ranging from furniture to musical instruments.

Both of these tools are non-destructive to standing timber.

Ian D. Hartley, Forestry professor, UNBC – 250.960.6054
Rob van Adrichem, Director of Media and Public Relations, UNBC - 250.960.5622 

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