Project

Title of project Managing our forests for bioenergy
Duration of the project :
October 1st 2007 to September 1st 2011
 
The use of forest biomass² for bioenergy fuel is gaining importance in Europe and Canada. Awareness of the potential impact of increased harvest levels of forest biomass and research into its effects on forest ecosystem function is needed. This project will create an opportunity for forest resource management programs at participating post secondary institutions in Canada and Europe to improve their programs and to disseminate information on the use of forest biomass for the production of energy and/or biofuels. The project will allow for the mobility of 70 Canadian and 50 European students during the term of the consortia and will establish long-term, collaborative relationships between partner institutions in Canada, Hungary and Italy.
 
The goal is to provide students, and other participants, with complete understanding of biomass use for the production of bioenergy and biofuels, and to equip them with the skills necessary for sustainable forest management.
The prime objective is to build institutional capacity in forest management education to provide individuals with the necessary background knowledge and skills to understand and compare the methods used in project partner countries, and thus be able to use and spread this information within their own work environment.
 
Key objectives:
1. To understand existing technologies and knowledge developed by partner institutions, (together with associated agencies, and forest resource companies), within each other’s jurisdiction, and to enhance awareness of the consequences on forest ecosystems related to increased forest biomass use
2. To enhance each institution’s curricula to include newly acquired information on the subject of forest biomass use in bioenergy production and forest management techniques developed to mitigate increased forest biomass harvesting.
3. To facilitate the mobility of approximately 70 Canadian and 50 European students over its 3 year duration.
4. To enhance the profiles for each participating institution in order to attract international students for forestry and related programs.
5. To provide opportunities for students to identify issues and to carry out research in forest management that can be made to available to government, industry and education.
 
Activities:
The first six months will be dedicated to designing a workable program that meets the consortia’s objectives and goals. It will include the design of on-line pre-visit preparatory seminars, including course outlines with objectives, goals, site plans, assessments, equipment needs, prerequisites, and evaluation strategies.
The two years following the planning stage will be devoted to delivering a program of short term field schools together with full semester programs in the various partners’ institutions. Course transfer matrices will be developed to permit post consortia student and faculty exchanges. A web-based publicly accessible information program will be developed in conjunction with government, NGO and private companies. Work placements will be offered in private industry, together with training opportunities alongside forestry professionals, to ensure that course work is consistent with industrial requirements.
 
Expected outcomes, including number of Canadian and EU students/length of study abroad (for each objective, indicate the anticipated results).
The project will…
enhance student awareness of ongoing strategies to supply added forest biomass for the production of bioenergy and/or biofuels.
increase awareness of the potential negative consequences of over-harvesting of biomass from forest environments.
lead to the establishment of long term relationships between consortia institutions that will create greater opportunities for student and faculty mobility and learning.
internationalise participating institutions’ curricula.
establish stronger collaborative relationships between consortia institutions and non-consortia associate organizations.
increase participating students’ awareness of general forest management practices in other jurisdictions.
secure long term mobility agreements between consortia partners.
create a vehicle for the dissemination of pertinent information.
enhance the participating institution’s curricula on relevant subject matter.
permit the mobility of 70 Canadian and 50 EU students - 15 Canadian and 20 EU students will participate in long term placements of one or two semesters while the balance of the students will be involved in 3 to 4 week field based sessions.
 
Field(s) and level(s) and objectives of study/training, duration, language(s) of instruction. : This project will focus on forest management relating to the production of biomass, as a secondary forest product, for the bioenergy industry. Dendrology, forest ecology, sustainable ecosystem function, and silviculture, will be the main fields of study, along with elements of harvesting and transportation. All course materials and instruction will be delivered at an undergraduate level. Some material will be offered as single semester courses while intensive field based technical sessions will be covered in 3 to 4 weeks. All field technical sessions will be delivered in English.
All course material offered by Canadian partner institutions will be offered either in English,(at Malaspina University-College and Fleming College), or French, (at the University of Moncton). Some of the courses offered by the EU partners will be delivered in English but most delivered in either Hungarian, (at the University of West Hungary), or Italian, (at the University of Padua).
 
Summary of study program and project activities :
The project focuses on forest management for the production of biomass to supply the burgeoning bioenergy and biofuel industries. Expanding the production of forest biomass will require estate owners to manage their land base differently and be aware of the potential negative consequences of additional harvest levels on forest ecosystems. The project’s program will focus on enhancing the participants’ awareness of the needs of the bioenergy sector and the need to develop sustainable management strategies to supply the additional biomass.
 
The program will develop knowledge and skills in sustainable resource management; facilitate field trips to sites managed for biomass production; provide on-line courses and discussions; permit student and faculty mobility to share relevant knowledge and skills; and enhance the partner institutions’ curricula on the subject.