PhD position: Landscape modelling of the effects of climate change and intensification of silviculture in Ontario’s forests

Are you interested in nature-based solutions to climate change? Do you want the chance to help inform sustainable management of Ontario’s forests? Do you like to code? Then consider applying to this exciting PhD opportunity!

Project
Ontario currently lacks the modelling infrastructure required to assess how altering management approaches (e.g., zoning to increase parks and protected areas and intensive management zones) will impact forest ecosystem services in the face of climate change. The objective of this project is to help generate an integrated forest model platform and conduct analyses of the effects of climate change and implementation of intensification of silviculture on broad spatial gradients (management units and provincially) and at different scales (landscape, stand, tree). The student will: (i) assist in integrating forest management and succession, wood science, and soil carbon models; (ii) examine the potential for enhancing carbon sequestration through nature based solutions, producing high value wood products, and conserving biodiversity (tree diversity and woodland caribou habitat) in Ontario’s managed forests under different climate and management scenarios; and (iii) inform policy development on enhancing carbon sequestration through nature-based solutions, high value wood product supply, and biodiversity.

Supervision
The student will be supervised by Mathew Leitch at Lakehead University. Eric Searle, Stephen Mayor, and Wayne Bell (Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry) and Guy Larocque (Canadian Forest Service) will be co-supervisors.

Conditions
The PhD is funded for the first two years in partnership with the Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada (CIF-IFC), through its science and knowledge exchange platform (CIF-SEEK) and will be funded for four years pending a successful grant application (underway). The student would be expected to start in September 2022 and would be based at Lakehead University. Lakehead offers all PhD students graduate assistantships which provide opportunities to gain valuable teaching experience. The student will have the opportunity to network with many stakeholders in Ontario forestry including: policy makers, Indigenous communities and corporations, forest industry, and professional organisations. Knowledge transfer to these stakeholders will be an essential part of this project.

Contacts
Please submit applications for the position by April 30th, 2022 to eric.searle@ontario.ca. Informal inquiries or questions are welcome.