Funding for Forestry Research Program in Limbo

Created 28 April 2009 05:04

PRINCE GEORGE – It’s been four weeks since funding for a highly-successful forestry research program was suspended by the Ministry of Forests and Range and researchers still have no idea if they will have to scrap their research projects.

“On March 31st, forestry researchers around the province received a terse note indicating that funding for the Forest Science Program had been suspended,” said Dr. Darwyn Coxson, Professor in the Ecosystem Science and Management Program at the University of Northern British Columbia. “It’s now four weeks later and instead of being out in the field conducting our research, we’re sitting at our desks nervously waiting to find out if years of work will be wasted.”

Rumours are circulating that existing research projects will receive the balance of their funding, but that no new projects will be funded.

“Dealing with climate change, sustaining biodiversity, maintaining ecosystem health, and supporting resource-dependent communities all depend on a solid foundation of knowledge,” Dr. Coxson said. “The Forest Science Program is a unique partnership between universities, government and industry and should be funded at higher levels instead of being constrained or possibly cut in its entirety.”

Projects affected by the suspension of the Forest Science Program include: studies on the vulnerability of BC forests to climate change, including the expansion of bark beetle outbreaks into new regions of the province; how current forest management practices maintain critical biodiversity values through practices such as green-tree retention; and the use of silvicultural practices to improve forest productivity.

“These and the other projects need to have their funding restored immediately,” Dr. Coxson said. “The future of our forests, our communities and our economy is at stake.”

– 30 –

For Further information:

Dr. Darwyn Coxson (Prince George) – 250-612-2678
Robert Clift (Vancouver) – 604-817-1649