Gary Bull

Professor

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Great Supervisor Week Mentions

Each year graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website as part of #GreatSupervisorWeek. Below are students who mentioned this supervisor since the initiative was started in 2017.

 

I want thank @hishamzerriffi and @garyqbull for being #greatsupervisor 's during appreciation week. I would not be where I am today without all their help, guidance, support. So too Dr.Valerie LeMay, not a supervisor, but helped me as one!

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Certification of forest ecosystem services: concept, development, and application (2017)

Although forests provide various ecosystem services that support human welfare, forest ecosystems have undergone continuous degradation. To mitigate forest loss from illegal logging, forest certification was launched in the early-1990s, and the interest in certification has been expanding in scope from timber to a range of ecosystem services for a complete approach to sustainable forest management. This thesis defines such a certification scheme as the certification of forest ecosystem services (CFES). In the first part, I propose a conceptual framework for CFES and argue that a key function of the certification system is to disclose information on the provision of ecosystem services to the market. This function distinguishes CFES from forest certification and may support improvements of market-based policy instruments for ecosystem services (Chapter 2). The second part examines the possible development of CFES as an expansion of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) system, and analyzes the key FSC stakeholders, including certification bodies, enabling partners, and certificate holders. Their adaptability to ecosystem services was relatively high for biodiversity conservation, carbon storage, and non-timber forest products (Chapter 3). The adaptability also indicated that watershed and soil conservation services could be bundled to reduce the costs of certifying each service (Chapter 4). The FSC certificate holders preferred CFES that offers a price premium, technical training for forest owners, and/or access to global service markets, but their willingness to pay was low (Chapter 5). The third part focuses on applying CFES to a payment for watershed services in West Lombok, Indonesia. Service buyers, sellers, and intermediaries perceived certification as a potential tool to improve watershed management (Chapter 6). Buyers demanded certified services that disclose water quality, flood risk, and/or environmental and social forest safeguards (Chapter 7).

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Using product specific fuelwood yields to assess economic viability: a case study of farm-based Gliricidia sepium and Caesalpinia velutina plantations in Nicaragua (2017)

No abstract available.

Impacts of tree improvement programs on yields of white spruce and hybrid spruce in the Canadian boreal forest (2016)

Local and regional timber shortages may be ameliorated via planting improved stocks with higher yields. In this dissertation, I addressed an important knowledge gap on the impacts of tree improvement programs on yields of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) and hybrid spruce (Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelmann x Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) plantations across the boreal and hemiboreal forests of Canada using meta-modelling approaches. In particular, I used meta-data for white and hybrid spruce provenance trials extracted from the literature to: (i) forecast provenance yields over time for broad spatial and temporal extents; (ii) model yields of provenances relative to standard stocks (termed “gain”) over time; and (iii) test alternatives for forecasting each provenance at a location using available repeated-measures data. In the first study, provenance height over time trajectories were modelled by incorporating the effects of climatic variables, provenances and site characteristics into mixed-effects nonlinear models via a random coefficients modelling approach. Height trajectories were strongly affected by planting site and provenance climates, along with planting site characteristics. The height trajectory meta-model was incorporated into an existing growth and yield model, which can be used to predict provenance yields for long temporal and large spatial extents. In the second study, the impacts of the particular gain definition (i.e., selection age, proportion of top performers) were examined using the model from the first study, and one definition was selected. A meta-model of gain as a function of plantation age, planting density, and planting site climate was developed. Planting site climate strongly affected these gain trajectories. The gain definition and trajectory model can be used to evaluate potential gains of using improved white and hybrid spruce stocks. Forecasts are needed to evaluate provenance (or progeny) performance at harvest, often 80 or more years from planting. In the third study, three alternative procedures (population-averaged, subject-specific, and autocorrelation) to forecast repeated measures for a particular progeny at a location were compared and evaluated by virtually removing some repeated measures. The subject-specific forecasts were best with accuracies similar to the measurement precision using standard height measurement devices given five or more prior measurements.

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Global legality requirements and chain of custody certification : potential impacts of recent changes on China's wood products industry (2013)

Many initiatives have been designed to reduce illegal logging and to legitimize the associated forest products trade. The latest governmental initiatives include the United States Lacey Act Amendment (US LAA) and the European Union Timber Regulation (EU TR). A key non-governmental initiative is Chain of Custody (CoC) certification. Since China is a very large importer of primary wood products and a major exporter of value-added wood products, it is critical to understand the impacts of these initiatives on China. The study aims to analyze the potential impacts of the US LAA, the EU TR, and CoC certification on China's wood products industry at two levels. First, at the individual producer level, 107 export-oriented Chinese wooden furniture manufacturers were randomly selected to investigate their perceptions of and responses to these initiatives. Guided by an integrated innovation-adoption model, the study identified the factors that affect a firm's legal compliance and its propensity to adopt CoC certification. Second, at the wood products industry level, the potential longer-term impacts of the US LAA and the EU TR on China's wood products industry were estimated using the International Forest and Forest Products (IFFP) trade model. There were several key results. First, at the individual producer level, multiple linear regression identified factors that were statistically significant in determining a firm's willingness to comply with legality requirements. They included the natural logarithm of firm size, the natural logarithm of export proportion, the interaction between opportunity and: client pressure, the natural logarithm of export experience and the natural logarithm of export proportion. Second, at the individual producer level, binary logistic regression suggested that client pressure, firm size, and the expectation of general benefits were statistically significant in determining a firm's decision to adopt CoC certification. Third, at the wood products industry level, the IFFP results indicated that these governmental initiatives in the US/EU might decrease the production and net export of China's plywood, veneer sheet, and fibreboard. The results also indicated an increase in China's sawnwood and particleboard production, and a decrease in their net imports.

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Improvements to the Standard Forest Products Trade Model (2011)

No abstract available.

Payments for ecosystem services and farm household behaviour : the case of carbon in Mozambique’s agroforests (2010)

Payments-for-Ecosystem-Services (PES) projects are being developed worldwide to address environmental and economic issues simultaneously. This thesis describes research concerning a PES project in Nhambita Community in Mozambique, where a small agro-forestry based carbon sequestration project is being implemented. The central research question is: Do economic incentives to smallholder farmers result in improved ecosystem services provision and improved household welfare measured by cash income and consumption? Questionnaire-based quarterly household surveys were the main source of data. Data was collected from 290 randomly selected households by eight enumerators who were trained in administering questionnaires in the local language (Sena). The thesis consists of six chapters, two of which are an introduction and conclusion. The remaining four chapters are prepared as manuscripts: the first assesses the contribution of environmental resources to the household economy; the second investigates the miombo woodlands’ use as household safety net against adverse income shocks, using conditional logit analysis; the third investigates socio-economic factors influencing household participation in the PES project, using 3-stage estimation; and, the fourth and final evaluates the impact of the PES-project on household cash income, consumption, forest use and agricultural production, using propensity score matching. It further examines whether there was any discrimination in the flow of benefits, using decomposition analysis.The key results are as follows. 1) Poorer households used miombo resources for subsistence, while richer households used the same for cash income. 2) Women headed households, which had lower level of cash income, used the woodland resources to the same level as did the male headed households. 3) Use of wild products from miombo woodlands was one of the shock coping strategies. 4) Participation in PES-project was influenced by education of household head, length of residence in the community, extent of trust among community members and percentage of cash income derived from sale of forest products. 5) PES-participant households earned higher amount of cash income, had higher consumption and harvested lesser amount of crops, than they would have had they not participated in the project. 6). There were biases in the flow of benefits in favour of richer and male headed households.

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The role of trust and risk preferences in the investment decision of farmers : evidence from surveys and field experiments in rural China (2010)

In rural China, forest and agricultural lands are undergoing major reforms, leading to many new challenges. I chose to understand the factors affecting a farmer’s investment decision on their lands.The first manuscript focuses on the role of property rights, social capital and contractual rules in the design and implementation of the world’s first Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) afforestation project in China. Using village-level surveys, I found: [1] although the project facilitates participation through carbon pooling and a share-holding system, much of the project land remained unforested; [2] the primary reasons for the unforested lands included constrained contractual rules, property rights allocation disputes, and low levels of social capital in some villages.The second manuscript identifies determining factors of villagers’ trust in their peer members. I used a unique data set collected by household surveys and trust games con-ducted in 30 administrative villages in Yunnan Province of southwestern China. I found: [1] the survey measure and experimental measure of trust were strongly correlated; [2] evidence that the positive individual social interactions and positive past experiences had a significant and positive effect on the villagers’ mutual trust; [3] that while formal village institutions might have gradually substituted for the traditional informal institutions, the formal institutions has not effectively replaces the roles of informal village institutions in maintaining villagers’ mutual trust; [4] openness to the outside world and the market could have eroded mutual trust among rural villagers in Yunnan Province. In the third manuscript, I used a data set collected through artefactual field experiments and household surveys from 30 villages in Yunnan Province. I linked the experimental measure of risk preference to household investment decisions on input use on farmlands. Major findings in this chapter include: [1] farmland size was negatively and significantly correlated with the intensity of both chemical fertilizer and pesticide use; [2] a family head’s risk aversion level was significantly and positively correlated with intensity of both chemical fertilizer use and pesticide use; [3] a family’s connection to social networks negatively and significantly predicts its decision regarding the intensity of pesticide use.

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An agent-based forest sector modeling approach to analyzing the economic effects of natural disturbances (2009)

This dissertation describes the development of CAMBIUM, an agent-based forest sector model for large-scale strategic analysis. This model is designed as a decision support tool for assessing the effect that changes in forest product demand and resource inventories can have on the structure and economic viability of the forest sector. CAMBIUM complements existing forest sector models by modeling aggregate product supply as an emergent property of individual companies’ production decisions and stand-level ecological processes. Modeling the forest products sector as a group of interacting autonomous agents makes it possible to introduce production capacity dynamics and the potential for mill insolvencies as factors in modeling the effects of market and forest inventory based disturbances. This thesis contains four main manuscripts. In the first manuscript I develop and test a dispersal algorithm that projects aggregated forest inventory information onto a lattice grid. This method can be used to generate ecologically and statistically consistent datasets where high-quality spatial inventory data is otherwise unavailable. The second manuscript utilizes this dataset in developing a provincial-level resource dynamics model for assessing the timber supply effects of introducing weevil-resistant spruce. This model employs a stand-level approach to simulating weevil infestation and associated merchantable volume losses. Provincial-level impacts are determined by simulating harvest activities over a 350 year time horizon. In the third manuscript I shift the focus to interactions between forest companies. I analyze the effects of strategic decisions on sector structure by developing CAMBIUM as an agent-based model of competition and industry structure evolution. The forest sector is modeled as a group of autonomous, interacting agents that evolve and compete within the limitations posed by resource inventories and product demand. In the final manuscript I calibrate CAMBIUM to current conditions in the British Columbia forest sector. Industry agents compete for roundwood inputs, as well as for profits in finished product markets for pulp, panel products, and lumber. To test the relevance and utility of this model, CAMBIUM is used to quantify the cumulative impacts of a market downturn for forest products and mountain pine beetle induced timber supply fluctuations on the structure of the forest sector.

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The ethics and values underlying the "emulation of natural disturbance" forest management approach in Canada : an interdisciplinary and interpretive study (2008)

This thesis aims at bringing about a greater awareness of the interpretive nature of forestry sciences by examining the ethics and values underlying the “Emulation of Natural Disturbance” (END) forest management approach in Canada. The thesis contains four main manuscripts. The first manuscript reports on a mental models analysis of the meaning of the END for academic forestry scientists across Canada. The results of this study indicate inconsistencies and contradictions between scientists’ mental model of the END, which puts into question the utility and appropriateness of the END for forestry policy. The second manuscript discusses the ethics underlying the END and critiques its policy implications from a pragmatic perspective. In the third manuscript the ethics and values underlying the END are put in relation with Holmes Rolston III’s ethics of “Following Nature”. The last manuscript reports on a survey of forestry curricula across North America conducted to ascertain the level of formal training in ethics afforded to professional foresters and natural resource managers. This manuscript contains a proposed course syllabus in forestry ethics. The curricula study complements the other manuscripts in that it is meant as another means by which to promote interdisciplinary dialogue among forestry scientists, environmental ethicists, and social scientists. In this thesis, in addition to trying to illustrate how ethics shape our interpretations of forests, a pragmatic approach is used to dissolve the fact/values and Nature/Culture dichotomies in forestry sciences and to argue for a more democratic approach to forestry policy.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Scenario analysis using carbon budget modelling for alternative forest management strategies in Turkey : the case study of Arikaya (2018)

Increasing carbon stock in forests is fundamental for climate change mitigation. Forest carbon management can also play a critical role in keeping forests healthy, while addressing multiple wildlife and human needs. To fulfill this potential, forest management practices require an improved understanding of annual carbon stocks and carbon dynamics. However, this information is oftentimes not properly accounted for in forest management plans, particularly in the case of developing countries. This thesis focuses on a case study in Turkey to demonstrate the potential to enhance Turkish forest management plans by including carbon stock accounting. The Forest Planning Studios Atlas (FPS-Atlas) and the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Service (CBM-CFS3) software programs were used to assess three alternative forest management scenarios in the case study. Carbon stock estimates for each scenario were compared to a baseline based on the current management plan. The first alternative scenario assumed an accelerating harvest rate over time, driven mainly by population growth. The second alternative scenario assumed rehabilitation of non-productive areas, a practice that has been gaining attention in Turkey over the last two decades. The third alternative scenario assumed the rehabilitation practices are combined with a low harvest flow. A carbon price analysis was conducted comparing the baseline with the third alternative scenario. Results showed that accelerating harvest can negatively affect the carbon stocks in a period of one hundred years. Rehabilitation, on the other hand, showed a positive impact on carbon sequestration potential when compared to the baseline after a hundred years. The rehabilitation scenario with low harvest flow showed promising results for international carbon trading. Overall, the methods used in this research proved useful to improve current forest managements strategies in Turkey, particularly in relation to climate change mitigation.

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Simulation modeling of forest biomass operations and harvest residue moisture content (2016)

In order to limit the effects of anthropogenic climate change the world is moving away from the use of fossil fuels as a primary energy source. Bioenergy is expected to form a substantial contribution to this transitional strategy. In order to increase bioenergy production, underutilized forest harvest residues are being targeted as a fuel source. Even with favorable policies in place to encourage their use, the processing and collection of these previously disregarded resources is often prohibitively expensive. Quality factors such as material moisture content also impact the viability of harvest residues for fuel purposes. As a result, careful operational planning is of great importance to sourcing high quality, economically feasible biomass. To gain a better understanding of the forest biomass supply chain, a simulation model was developed for a case study located in coastal British Columbia, Canada. A seasonal moisture content trend was identified and incorporated to help develop a strategy for sourcing high quality materials. It was found for BC’s coastal temperate rainforest environment that by delaying biomass collection until the second summer after timber harvest an average delivered moisture content of 28% can be achieved rather than 38% is operations proceed in the first summer. This reduction in delivered moisture content also led to a decrease in delivered cost from $72.08 to $67.95 per oven dried tonne. Trucking and equipment configurations were also examined to identify least cost approaches to biomass collection under varying conditions. Comparing high productivity and low productivity equipment configurations showed a $26.08/ODT cost increase when switching to less productive equipment. By employing an electric centralized grinder transporting unprocessed harvest residues, costs were shown to decrease for all cutblock groups with a cycle time of less than four and a half hours. Least cost fleet size was found to be largely dependent on the average cycle time to the biomass source. And the volume of available biomass at a given cutblock was found to have an impact on delivered costs with a 20% increase in biomass volume resulting in a cost decrease of greater than $2/ODT.

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Assessing the potential impacts of forest management practices on wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and timber harvesting in coastal British Columbia (2014)

The forests of coastal British Columbia are some of the most productive in the world, providing a wide range of values including timber production, carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat. Forest management often requires weighing competing values and implementing decisions to promote them, while avoiding negative impacts to other values. Forest ecosystems models such as FORECAST and Habitat Suitability Indices provide a means of analyzing alternative management strategies for their impacts on multiple values, and serve as a tool for informing adaptive management decisions. The objectives of this thesis were to model and assess the impacts of different forest management practices on wildlife habitat, carbon storage, and timber harvesting in coastal British Columbia.This analysis consisted of a number of alternative harvesting prescriptions, including clearcut harvesting and low intensity thinning treatments. Each treatment was quantified on its ability to simultaneously generate timber, carbon and habitat value. Results of the study suggest that extension of rotation periods between harvest treatments can provide gains in all three values over shorter rotations. Low intensity thinning treatments can also be applied to further promote habitat value with only minor reductions in carbons stocks. In addition, thinning treatments can decrease the time required to develop high quality habitat over that of either unmanaged or clearcut management. If selectively applied over a landscape scale, these management prescriptions could be used to provide a range of forest values and address a variety of resource demands.

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Implementation of marker-assisted selection in BC forests : perception survey (2014)

The iconic forests of British Columbia are deeply rooted in the lives of its inhabitants. Known for its lush green landscape and old growth trees, BC forests are home to over 1,300 plant and animal species, and provide a playground for recreational activities. The forest industry is also a key contributor to the provincial economy. Over the last decade, the forest sector has experienced a number of challenges as a result of the global economic crisis, the US housing crash, changing markets, low-cost competitors, the strength of the Canadian dollar, and the mountain pine beetle epidemic. Since, the provincial and federal governments have made a commitment to transform the forest sector through innovation, enhanced environmental performance, and new markets. One such area of innovation has been in forest genomic technologies. Marker-assisted selection (MAS) is a biotechnological tool that allows desired traits to be flagged on the genome. This tool may assist tree breeders with the early selection of preferred genotypes, thus reducing the breeding cycle and more accurately and efficiently selecting for improved qualities. However, there is a poor understanding of perceived acceptability towards the adoption of this technology. The objectives of this research were to investigate how the implementation of marker-assisted selection is perceived by forest stakeholders and First Nations in BC, and if this perception is dependent on the context of implementation. To accomplish these objectives, a mixed methods research approach was taken, employing semi-structured individual interviews, followed by a Likert scale questionnaire. Participants were categorized into four groups: government, industry, environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), and First Nations.The results of this analysis found that government and industry participants held positive perceptions towards MAS, supporting its use and continued research in BC. Both agreed that the advantages of MAS outweigh the disadvantages, frequently identifying its benefits in forest regeneration and to tree breeders. ENGOs and First Nations demonstrated a less favourable attitude towards MAS. Their attitudes lie between neutral and negative. Concerns were most strongly focused on environmental impacts, ecosystem degradation, and reduced genetic diversity; while identified benefits were specific to tree breeders and improved tree resiliency.

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Forest carbon offset projects in coastal British Columbia : Aboriginal criteria, awareness and preferences (2013)

Aboriginal groups are still developing recognition of their rights, title and capacity to co-manage their forestland. Provincially there are a number of changes in legislation and regulation that affect Aboriginal groups, particularly in the area of climate change. Aboriginal groups that are actively negotiating their legal rights need to integrate the discussion of climate change, particularly in the area of forests with their evolving legal rights. Aboriginal groups have been proactive in British Columbia but there are many critical gaps that should be explored. My objectives are to identify the key cultural, social, environmental and economic criteria of five selected Aboriginal groups in British Columbia for forest carbon offset projects, to assess their awareness and to identify their key preferences in forest carbon agreements. I travelled to five Aboriginal communities where I conducted twenty individual interviews in total to collect the qualitative data to support my research objectives. Results showed all five selected Aboriginal groups are struggling with balancing economic and environmental values for managing their forests. Cultural, social, and environmental values were closely related to each other and were preferred over economic values. However, there was recognition of the importance of generating revenue and creating employment from forest resources. The five selected Aboriginal groups in this study are at different stages of looking at carbon offsets as a new, potential forestry activity to add to their economic development portfolios. Approximately half of the Aboriginal groups in this study have a low awareness of basic carbon terminology. There was no consensus across the five Aboriginal groups for preferences for carbon project types, acceptable forest stand tending techniques and contractual arrangements, except for a high group-to-group consensus across the five Aboriginal groups on a renewable type of carbon contractual arrangement.

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Evaluating the role of financial institutions in monetizing forest ecosystem values : existing arrangements and the viability of new arrangements (2012)

Forests contain a multitude of values, many of which are incorporated within the existing economic system, allowing us to create an economic value for forests. These values compete with alternative land uses to ascertain which is the most economically efficient. The continued process of forest land use conversion indicates that existing monetized forest values are insufficient to prevent global deforestation.Recognition of the importance of previously un-monetized forest values, such as forest carbon for climate regulation and species habitation for global biodiversity levels, has stimulated efforts to incorporate these values within the existing economic system. Previous efforts to ‘ring fence’ these assets by regulatory means has met with limited success. The creation of market based incentive systems to monetize these forest values has gained increasing support over the years as policy makers seek to build on earlier successes.Adaptations within and creation of new institutions has been required in order to establish these market based incentive systems. Ensuring that the correct institutional arrangements exist is vital for their institutional effectiveness. This is of particular importance with regards existing institutions as concerns abound about their governance, transparency and accountability arrangements. This thesis focuses on large scale publicly owned international banks and identifies various weaknesses in existing institutional arrangement and seeks to ascertain whether they have the adaptive capacity to address these shortfalls. The thesis also studies the creation of an entirely new institution, the International Forest Bank, as a viable alternative to adaptation processes. Despite the many shortfalls in existing institutional arrangements an International Forestry Bank was found to be too aspirational and of too great a scale. The research concludes that research into the creation of a smaller more regional International Forestry Bank would be warranted.

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This is a small sample of students and/or alumni that have been supervised by this researcher. It is not meant as a comprehensive list.
 

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