Agriculture & Forestry

The CIH Agriculture & Forestry event will take place Friday, January 14 2022 from 10AM – 1PM (MT) on Zoom. The event program was organized with the help of Dr. Rebecca Tyson, Dr. Gregory Paradis and Ian Chambers.

Agriculture and Forestry are disciplines rife with problems that need mathematical approaches to solutions!  How many sterile insects need to be released to ensure decline of pest populations? What should be the annual allowable cut in the face of climate change?  In this workshop, participants will hear talks from a broad range of modellers in agriculture and forestry, representing work done in academia, government labs, and industry.  Effective networking and panel sessions will be included, formatted in such a way as to ensure that meaningful interactions occur between participants and invited speakers.

Event Videos





*All times listed in mountain time (Edmonton/Banff)*

10:05 – 10:30 Xiaoli Fan

10:30 – 10:55 Kyle Lochead

10:55 – 11:10 Break

11:10 – 11:35 Cosmin Man

11:35 – 12:00 Breakout discussions

12:00 – 12:10 Break

12:10 – 12:55 Panel Discussion

12:55 – 1:00 Closing


Xiaoli Fan, Ph.D
Assistant Professor, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta

Xiaoli Fan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta. Xiaoli received her PhD (2017) degree from the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University and her MA (2009) and BA (2007) degrees in international economics from Wuhan University, China. Xiaoli ’s primary area of research is bioeconomic modelling of pests and diseases. Her other research interests include food and agribusiness management, consumer demand for genetically engineered food, and antimicrobial resistance in the livestock industry. 

Bioeconomic Models Applied to Agricultural Pest and Disease Management

In recent years, bioeconomics – which integrates biophysical models and economic mathematical programming models – has been increasingly applied in agricultural settings. In this talk, I will briefly describe two applications of bioeconomic models in managing agricultural pests and diseases. The first model was developed for managing spotted wing drosophila (SWD), a devastating fruit fly pest of soft fruit and berries. I will also showcase another bioeconomic model I developed for managing bovine respiratory disease (BRD), the most common and costly disease affecting the North American beef cattle industry. I will also talk about the implications of the results generated from these two models and how bioeconomic models can help provide insights for decision-makers.

Kyle Lochead, Ph.D
BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development – FLNRO

I’m an ecological modelling specialist working on caribou recovery for the province of British Columbia. Previously, I spent eight years in Alberta where I earned a master’s degree in forest biology from the University of Alberta and worked as a consultant for the forest industry. While developing various decision support tools for the forest industry, I quickly gained a strong interest in quantitative methods. This led me to pursue a doctorate in forestry from the University of British Columbia, focusing on linking data and models across very large spatial and temporal scales. During my PhD candidacy, I was lucky enough to spend some time working with partial equilibrium models and national forest inventories at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Austria.

Linking woodland caribou abundance to forestry disturbance in southern British Columbia, Canada.

The decline of many woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) populations is thought to be linked with habitat disturbances resulting from industrial development, including timber harvesting and its network of haul roads. Defining a disturbance-abundance relationship offers a tool to assess and potentially manage for the influence of disturbance on caribou abundance. Defining this relationship is challenged by limited historical land use and abundance data, the choice of a disturbance measure, and variability in the relationship between subpopulations and across different habitat types (core vs. matrix habitat). For 12 subpopulations of woodland caribou within the southern mountain population, we linked longitudinal caribou abundance data with historical forestry disturbances simulated from forest harvest data. We compared disturbance measures estimating the proportion of forested area commercially harvested with even-aged, regeneration treatments (cutblocks) and converted to roads for transporting timber within subpopulation-specific core and matrix habitats as predictors of caribou abundance. Non-linear mixed models provided evidence that disturbances in matrix habitats negatively influenced caribou abundance, with the effects in core habitat being variable between subpopulations. Of the disturbance types evaluated, the best predictors included roads buffered by 50 m (R50), cutblocks ≤80 years old, and the cumulation of cutblocks ≤80 years old plus roads buffered by 50 m. The top-ranked model was composed of R50 present in core and in matrix habitats. This model predicted a 42% (95% CI = 33–51%) reduction in caribou abundance for every 1% increase in matrix R50 (holding core R50 constant). Given the lack of pre-forestry abundance data, we failed to directly derive critical disturbance thresholds; however, our models could be used to estimate subpopulation-specific habitat-disturbance thresholds necessary to achieve abundance targets. We recommend that in addition to existing protections of core habitat, few if any new roads should be built in core habitat, and that timber harvest in matrix habitat should be designed to minimize the establishment of associated roads.

Cosmin Man
Resource Analyst, Forsite Consulting Ltd.

Cosmin Man is a resource analyst with Forsite Consulting Ltd. and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Forest Resources Management of the University of British Columbia. He received his PhD in 2015 from the University of British Columbia, his MSc in 2006 from University of Alberta, and his BSc (For) in 2002 from Transilvania University of Brasov. Cosmin is specialized in timber supply and forest carbon analysis with a range of hobbies that include DJing, various outdoor activities, and cosmology.

Forest Estate Modelling for consultants –versatility and reproducibility

Forest estate modeling is the core activity of any forest management plan. Becoming more complex by the desire of an increased resolution of results, which is partly fed in part by the recent technological developments in representing inventories, forest estate modelling requires more advanced tools, and consequently, more advanced analysts. Many of these tools need to be versatile and reproduceable to ensure (1) flexibility in accommodating higher resolution inputs, and (2) ensure consistent results. This talk will showcase PatchworksTM forest estate model versatility and reproducibility in a typical forest management plan in British Columbia.


Haley A. Catton, Ph.D

Research Scientist – Field Crop Entomology, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Roland Kröbel, Ph.D

Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Event Videos

%d bloggers like this: