Lakehead U Researcher Receives Funding to Study Canadian Boreal Forest

(Thunder Bay - November 21, 2005) A Lakehead University professor in the Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment has received a major grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Dr. Han Chen has received $354,000 over three years to study carbon sequestration in the Canadian Boreal forest.
Carbon sequestration refers to the provision of long-term storage of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, underground, or the oceans so that the build up of carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas) concentration in the atmosphere will reduce or slow.
Dr. Chen's research, with co-researchers Yves Bergeron and David Pare from Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, will focus on the Canadian Boreal forest mixedwoods - a mix of tree species in a certain area. His research will lead to a significant improvement in understanding the role of the Canadian Boreal mixedwoods in carbon sequestration. As a result, better forest management practices can be recommended and a more accurate accounting of carbon sequestration can be realized for the Canadian boreal mixedwoods. Dr. Chen will assess if the commonly occurring trembling aspen and spruce mixtures store and sequester more carbon than their respective single-species stands (area of trees).
"The Canadian Boreal Forest plays an important role in global carbon sequestration," Dr. Chen says. "Species mixtures are common in natural forests, and it has been hypothesized that mixtures are more productive than single-species stands because they may use resources differently and less competitively. With the diversity of the Canadian Boreal Forest, this research has the potential for great impact on forest management and other research areas."
"Dr. Chen's work is outstanding in the field of forestry," says Dr. Rui Wang, Vice President (Research) at Lakehead University. "This NSERC funding will assist him with carrying out this important work as well as train students and other researchers in this area."
This funding is an NSERC Strategic Project Grant. The project is also supported with contributions from the BIOCAP Canada Foundation and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as well as in-kind contribution from Abitibi Consolidated Fort William Division, Tembec (Quebec), and Canadian Forest Service.
Members of the Media: Dr. Chen is available for interview by calling him directly at