Major Responsibilities/Research Interests
My research addresses questions related to the reclamation of disturbed lands to self-sustaining boreal forest ecosystems common to the boreal forest region. The research program focuses on the function and underlying processes of forest canopy cover as a prime factor in determining forest successional pathways. Key research activities are the development of innovative strategies and techniques for the re-establishment of forests on surface mined lands and determining whether these forests develop and display processes and functions comparable to natural ecosystems. Currently the research focuses on the establishment of trembling aspen (an early successional fast-growing tree species native to the boreal forest) and its use as a nurse crop for forest development. Other active research and research interests are: ecophysiology (growth, photosynthesis, water relations, and carbon allocation) of boreal forest species in response to different abiotic and biotic factors, the effects of forest practices on aspen regeneration and boreal forest vegetation management, and the role of disturbance on forest establishment and tree species distribution.