New partnership takes aim at pine beetle infestation

The mountain pine beetle and its devastating effects on BC’s forests is the focus of a new UVic research partnership with Canada’s Department of Natural Resources.

Under the multi-year partnership agreement, Natural Resources Canada will provide up to $2.25 million to the university for remote sensing research. Results will be used by policy-makers, communities and the forestry, mining and energy industries to diversify and strengthen the local economies of resource-based communities in BC.

“This research will enhance our capacity in natural resources planning and management and in resource use, especially in areas suffering from the mountain pine beetle epidemic,” says Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn, who was on campus Dec. 14 to sign the agreement.

“We have an outstanding group of people working on remote sensing techologies and their applications,” says Jamie Cassels, UVic’s vice-president academic and provost. “This collaboration will further enhance our ability to assist sectors engaged in geology, mineral exploration, forestry and the marine environment.”

Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information on an object, area or phenomenon from a distance, typically by using aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, buoys or ships.

UVic geographers are world leaders in the use of an advanced form of remote sensing known as hyperspectral imaging, which provides more detailed imagery than conventional remote sensing systems. Their airborne hyperspectral imaging system, flown in partnership with Terra Remote Sensing in Sidney, BC, is unique in North America.

Using hyperspectral imaging and other geomatics tools such as laser technology and spatial modelling, UVic geographers are investigating a wide range of natural resource issues, such as coastal environmental health, forest fire risk and the mountain pine beetle infestation.

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Keywords: partnership, aims, pine, beetles

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