Lab Product News

$2.5M funding for research lab to probe uses of pine beetle-infested trees

Prince George, BC – The University of Northern British Columbia is receiving $2.5 million in funding from the province’s government to establish a wood and fibre multi-site research laboratory to find further uses for trees infested by the mountain pine beetle.

The lab, called EvaluTree, is the result of a partnership between the University of Northern British Columbia, the University of Victoria and the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (Paprican). The lab’s research will assess, to a much greater degree than currently possible, the properties of wood for the pulp and paper industry, sawmilling and manufacturing.

The two universities specialize in X-ray and acoustic instrumentation, and will lead the research program. Paprican’s Vancouver laboratory is the base for spectroscopy and microscopy instrumentation and provides a critical link to industry. The three-way partnership will allow the research to benefit from synergies and facilitates the development of an integrated approach to innovation and development in BC’s forest industry.

“EvaluTree has the potential to revolutionize BC’s forest industry,” says Ian Hartley, an EvaluTree research collaborator. “Two issues of critical importance in BC are the effects of the mountain pine beetle and the prospects for using timber that has been submerged in water. For addressing both issues, EvaluTree provides the essential capability that allows us to assess fibre quality and its usefulness for various products – even if the tree is still standing in the forest.”

“In keeping with this province’s position as a global forest products powerhouse, the EvaluTree laboratory collaboration with the universities of Northern British Columbia and Victoria firmly establishes BC’s research community at the forefront of advanced wood and fibre analysis worldwide,” says David McDonald, vice-president of research and education for Paprican.