Renewable Resources

Forest Industry Lecture Series

RR past chairs discussing lecture

FILS March 2020

Past lecture

82nd Forest Industry lecture
North America's Forest Industry: Interdisciplinary Applied Scientists Needed 

Dr. Don Haid, corporate economist and director of industry analysis for Weyerhaeuser Company

Lecture summary
The forest industry is an integrated supply chain connecting the working forest to end-use demands from a multitude of societal, consumer and commercial needs. It reflects a competitive North American landscape with diversity of resource, administrative, logistic, manufacturing and consumer attributes, all of which seek to satisfy the appetite for products and services derived from forests. The discussion focuses on wood product manufacturing and its historic North American dynamics, exploring the shifting comparative economics of supply and demand for both finished products and forest based raw material input. Through the lens of applied sciences, foresters and related resource professionals bring a unique interdisciplinary perspective to analysis and ultimately the policies and decisions impacting resource use, sustainability and quality.

Speaker bio
Don was educated in Canada and the U.S., and his credentials include undergraduate and master’s degrees in forestry and forest economics from the University of Alberta and a PhD in resource economics from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining Weyerhaeuser, Don worked as an economist for the Canadian Forest Service and as a consultant with AMEC-Simons. Don’s work focuses on housing, wood products and timber sectors to provide insight and guidance supporting Weyerhaeuser businesses. Working closely with senior management, Don’s key responsibilities include price forecasting, industry outlooks for corporate planning and capital processes, and thought leadership in identifying strategic issues, emerging threats, opportunities and their implications for Weyerhaeuser.


The Forest Industry Lecture Series (FILS) began and developed as a collaborative event by members of the forestry community in Alberta to enrich the forestry program at the University of Alberta. The first forestry class enrolled in fall of 1970, initiated as a faculty program through the vision of Dr. Fenton MacHardy, then Dean of Agriculture. In 1975, Dr. Allan A. Warrack, then Minister of Lands and Forests in the new Peter Lougheed government, made an offer to Dean MacHardy, saying that he had done well in developing the forestry program, but students needed enrichment through speakers from outside who could bring in fresh insights. The offer was that his department would match any outside funds the faculty could raise to support a position or lecture series.

Several of the larger forest products companies in western Canada immediately responded and for two years, 1975 and 1976, this new outside funding supported two visiting lecturers: Maxwell MacLaggan and Dr. Desmond I. Crossley, whose expertise were respectively: forest industry, logging and forest products; silviculture and forest management.

In the meantime, Arden A. Rytz encouraged the sawmilling and plywood industries to add their support through the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA), of which he was executive director. Rytz was a forester, graduating from UBC after wartime service in southeast Asia. This collaborative approach to shared funding enables this lecture series to achieve the success it enjoys today.

The first designated Forest Industry Lecture was in 1977 by the Canadian, internationally respected forester Dr. Ross Silversides, who spoke on industrial forestry in a changing Canada. The university and the Department of Renewable Resources, in particular, deeply appreciates the support of its many sponsors.

Dr. Peter Murphy
Professor emeritus