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Dr. Thomas Maness
Director, Forum on Conservation Economics and Policy
Professor and Head, FERM Dept., Oregon State University
Thomas' research interest is in developing innovative forest policies and practices to balance the production of traditional forest products with society’s expanding need for ecosystem services, energy, and climate mitigation. His research falls in three broad categories.

Strategic Land-use Planning and Forest Tenure Policy
Thomas' research group develops multi-objective strategic planning models that help stake-holders better understand the pressure points, constraints, and opportunities involved in actively managing forested landscapes. Currently we are building agent based simulation models to study how landscape condition, forest policy and industrial strategy interact to affect industry competitiveness, resource use and the achievement of conservation goals.

Value Chain Optimization
A second area of Thomas' research is value chain optimization to improve industry competitiveness and wise resource use. This research has led him to understand the importance of developing an industrial strategy aimed at: i) streamlining the supply chain, ii) developing flexible manufacturing technology to service a variety of markets, and iii) focusing on higher value product recovery. The goal of this work is to achieve a higher economic contribution with a smaller ecological footprint. Currently we are developing agent based supply chain models that integrate harvesting, sorting, merchandising and manufacturing decisions over an extended period of time. The models include negotiation between industry, government, and conservation organization agents to achieve strategic objectives on the landscape and economy.

Energy and Climate Policy
In 2008 Thomas spent part of his study leave as a Senior Policy Analyst for the US Forest Service in Washington DC. During this time he developed a strong interest in the use of forests for energy and climate change mitigation. An extensive review of literature has led him to believe that the life cycle effects of using forests for these purposes is poorly understood, and sometimes government policies have been implemented prematurely -- particularly with regard to large scale subsidies aimed at promoting cellulosic ethanol. Presently Thomas' research group is developing life cycle analysis techniques that can be used to study the impacts of large scale forest plantations for producing energy and chemicals. Our multi-criteria techniques will permit us to also look at the impacts on carbon balancing, water use, and other ecosystems services.
Negar Abdollahzadeh
PhD Student
International marketing strategies for the BC Coast secondary wood products industry
Negar is looking at the existing international market situation, modeling the new international wood products market demand in order to see what the main products are in the global market trade system. Focusing on the Coastal B.C.’s secondary wood product industries, she will look for the potentials using agent based model techniques to address the changes that should be made through the Coastal B.C.’s secondary wood product industries supply chain, to see how they can meet the new international market demand. The project will focus on the other competitors in the global market who already answered to this new changes of the global demand and who have the potential to do so, and address the key factors of their relative advantages. With these results, Negar will develop a forecasting model to compare different scenarios and find what the BC Coast secondary wood products industry needs to do in order to secure a more sustainable and significant share of the global markets.
Dr. Howie Harshaw
Research Associate
Outdoor recreation management and planning
Howie's background includes studies in geography, outdoor recreation, parks and tourism. Currently, he is examining the intrinsic and inherent values of forested landscapes to people and communities, with a particular focus on outdoor recreation and aesthetics of forested landscape. This work builds on Howie's past research, which has included an exploration of the motivational factors of canoe expedition participation, an examination of the role that public participation plays in natural resource and wilderness decision-making, and the development of a land-use inventory for the Rossport Islands in Lake Superior.
Catalin Ristea
Project Manager
Greehnouse gas emissions mitigation potential and financial feasibility of large scale bioenergy production systems from woody biomass
Catalin is currently working on bioenergy systems: assessing the economic viability and environmental impact of large scale projects that use woody biomass to generate energy. This work aims to gauge the effectiveness of these bioenergy systems as environmentally sustainable climate mitigation strategies. Catalin is developing methods for determining mitigation cost, net energy balance, and carbon budget of different types of wood energy technologies and biomass feedstocks. He is building forest level models that can determine the scale and operational requirements for biomass feedstocks & bioenergy facilities and their impact on the landbase, and life cycle assessment models that can analyze the economic feasibility and environmental consequenses of using forest biomass for energy, understand trade-offs between costs and benefits, and evaluate opportunities to reduce negative environmental impacts.
Dr. Olaf Schwab
Senior Economist, Canadian Forest Service. Ottawa, Canada
Forest sector agent-based integrated production modeling; forest management planning with heuristic optimization models
Olaf's interests include developing an agent-based integrated production model for the BC coast. This project builds on part of his PhD research, where he developed a forest sector model for evaluating strategic responses to natural disturbances. Modeling the forest industry as a group of interacting agents made it possible to study the effects of proposed policy changes on the economic viability of individual companies. Olaf has also developed a heuristic spatial optimization model for inter-temporal trade-off analysis in forest management planning for a project funded by the Sustainable Forest Management Network.
Ryan Trenholm
PhD Student
Incorporating the value of ecosystem services into the forest products supply chain
Forested ecosystems provide several goods and services ranging from marketed commodities, such as forest products, to ecosystem services, such as wildlife habitat, water purification, and carbon sequestration. While commercial markets reflect the value of forest products, they often fail to incorporate the value of ecosystem services to society. These services rarely have direct financial value, and it is therefore difficult to accurately compensate for their provision. As a result, ecosystem services may not be adequately considered in land management decisions by policymakers and industry. The objective of Ryan’s research is to develop a method for better incorporating the value of certain non-market ecosystem services and carbon into the forest products supply chain. Various scenarios will be developed to examine the impacts that the integration of these values may have on land management and the forest products industry.
Saba Vahid
PhD Candidate
Forest sector agent-based integrated production modeling; forest management planning
To regain competitiveness, British Columbia’s (BC) wood products industry can greatly benefit from the concept of Supply Chain Management. Agent-based modelling has been used frequently in recent years to model complex supply chains (SC). Modelling SC members with autonomous agents offers more flexibility compared to traditional simulation and optimization models. In Saba’s current research, she is modifying and extending the agent-based model CAMBIUM, with the aim to determine optimal locations and product types for possible new mills in the BC coast region. Competitive facility location theory will be used to select the best location from a set of potential facility sites and monitor the behavior of the new facility through time.
Francisco Vergarra
PhD Student
Integrated model for operational decisions support in the forest and sawmilling supply chain, with focus on log quality
Francisco is currently building an integrated decision support model to simulate the effects of certain changes on the entire wood supply chain. The model will consider the appearance and log grades from different forest sources, with the ability to evaluate different production scenarios. The model will be calibrated for operations planning in a particular forest company in British Columbia. A meta-heuristics approach – agent based simulation – would be an interesting technique to solve this problem, as there are several actors with their own interest playing important roles in the wood supply chain. Operations research (OR) techniques are potentially useful too, because OR models attempt to abstract the essence of the real problem, and to resolve the conflict of interest among the components of the organization.