Commercial thinning response in conifer forests

Grad Student Position Details

Project Title
Commercial thinning response in conifer forests

Degree Program

Robert Froese

Professorial Rank
Associate Professor

Renewable Resources

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Project Description

The Forest Growth & Yield Lab at the University of Alberta has an open graduate research assistantship at the Ph.D. level in Forest Growth and Yield. The research project involves testing remote sensing methods for characterizing tree taper, crown dimensions, and growth response to commercial thinning treatments in conifer forests. This research, centred in the beautiful foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, has the potential to generate results that are influential in forest science and management in working forests.

In Alberta, there is increasing interest in the potential for enhanced forest management, particularly commercial thinning, to improve forest values. These values include biodiversity, wildlife habitat, timber growth and yield, and economic return. In this project remote sensing methods including terrestrial, UAV (drone), and aerial sensors will be tested for the ability to characterize stem and crown attributes in young stands subjected to a variety of commercial thinning treatments. There is considerable opportunity in this project for the successful candidate to develop their own research interests. Funding for this project is provided by the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) through the Forest Resource Improvement Program (FRIP).

A competitive stipend plus payment of tuition and most fees is included and is renewable annually for up to 4 years. The successful applicant will have a strong interest in forestry, growth and yield, and remote sensing, as well as strong written communication and data science skills. A relevant prior M.Sc. and experience in forestry or forest science, and data science skills in SAS, R or Python, is required. Prior experience participating in field research is a plus. Support for research activity, including lab space, computing, field expenses, and conference travel, is also included. Foreign nationals and their dependents residing in Alberta for graduate school qualify for free, public funded health insurance.

The Alberta School of Forest Science and Management ( is located within the University of Alberta, which is an internationally recognized research University with over 40,000 students from 156 countries. Located in Edmonton, along the North Saskatchewan River valley and just a few hours from the Rocky Mountains, the University offers a friendly and affordable environment with diverse social and outdoor recreation opportunities.


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