FOOTHILLS RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Partnership and Knowledge the Lifeblood of Organization That Turns Questions into Answers, Challenges into Solution.
A little more than ten years ago, a group of companies with Forest Management Agreements on Alberta’s Eastern Slopes came together around a common challenge: how to make sure that harvest volumes would never overdraw the “bank account” of the Lodgepole pine timber resource. With the Hinton-based Foothills Research Institution (FRI) acting as a non-voting member and coordinating agency, the group, the Foothills Growth and Yield Association, now forecasts and monitors managed stand growth and yield—using increasingly sophisticated and reliable data, models, and planning tools—so that the challenge can be successfully met and resolved. It's one example among many of leadership “in developing innovative science and knowledge for integrated resource management on the forest landscape through diverse and actively engaged partnerships,” which is FRI’s vision. “We base our research programs on the interests of our partners,” says FRI president Rick Bonar, “who continue to turn to the Institute for solutions because they see value in their investments.” Real-world challenges become the subjects of expert FRI and other cutting-edge research—the Institute has 26 staff members who provide information and administrative services to dozens of researchers in several countries, seven sponsoring partner organizations, 33 management partner organizations, 67 program and project partners, and 32 supporting partners. And the results offer solutions that often have far-reaching effects: producing valued-added operational knowledge while generating benefits for all Albertans in ever-improving land and resource stewardship. The tools and knowledge FRI produce are integrated into land and forest management policy, planning, and practice.
Other examples of FRI at work:
Through more than a dozen programs, the 20-year-old Institute focuses on the practical aspects of:
- FRI manages and supports the Alberta Land-use Knowledge Network which will connect researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, and others in a unique network that fosters the generation and sharing of accurate, timely, and high-quality information.
- Water is also a subject of research that FRI aligns with the priorities of its partners. The Institute recently announced a new water program to be led by Dr. Axel Anderson, on secondment from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. The water program will offer an integrated approach to forest hydrology research as well as applied research in support of management principles outlined in Alberta’s Water for Life policy.
- FRI’s Grizzly Bear Program has been studying the majestic animal and its forest and mountain habitat to develop improved conservation and management strategies for an Alberta population that today numbers only about 700 bears.
- landscape dynamics;
- data, information and knowledge management research.
It seeks to understand and reduce the collective footprint of forest users on the local area and to identify ways to measure ecological, social, and economic sustainability. Additionally, research is applicable—developing, testing, and implementing new information, ideas, and techniques.
For more information on the Foothills Research Institute please visit: www.foothillsri.ca