Three Forestry professors recognized for achievements

(from left to right) Dr Richard Hamelin, Dr Sally Aitken, & Dr Robert Kozak in the Forest Sciences Centre at the University of British Colubmia

(from left to right) Dr Richard Hamelin, Dr Sally Aitken, & Dr Robert Kozak in the Forest Sciences Centre at the University of British Columbia

Three members of the UBC Faculty of Forestry will be honoured with Scientific Achievement Awards from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) in recognition of their distinguished achievements in forest science. The awards recognize scientific advances stemming from significant research of a highly original nature or from an extended period of major accomplishment in a particular field.

Dr Sally Aitken will be awarded the IUFRO Scientific Achievement Award in recognition of her distinguished scientific achievements in the field of forest conservation genetics. Dr Aitken leads a broadly-based research program that ranges from investigating basic scientific questions around how forest-tree populations adapt to local climatic conditions and how rapidly they can adapt to new climates, to applied research about how the diversity of native tree species is best managed to ensure planted forests are both productive and resilient to environmental perturbations. As leader of the multi-disciplinary AdapTree project, Dr Aitken is bridging genetics, climate modelling and socio-economic studies to understand and predict the adaptive responses of trees to climate change. 

Dr Richard Hamelin will be awarded the IUFRO Scientific Achievement Award in recognition of his distinguished scientific achievements in the field of forest pathology. Dr Hamelin is a senior research scientist with Natural Resources Canada and a UBC professor.  A pioneer in molecular forest pathology, Dr Hamelin has integrated molecular biology and genomics into forest pathology to answer questions related to pathogen detection and monitoring, population dynamics and epidemiology. He has developed a platform for molecular diagnostics of forest pests and for monitoring of the impact of transgenic trees on microbial diversity. He is currently leading the TAIGA project to sequence the genomes of forest pathogens and identify unique genetic patterns that can be translated into better diagnostic tools.

Dr Robert Kozak will be awarded the IUFRO Scientific Achievement Award in recognition of his distinguished scientific achievements in the field of forest products. Dr Kozak’s research in sustainable business management is at the intersection of business practices, forestry, conservation, and community wellbeing, and is grounded in the belief that forestry needs more holistic thinking as society strives to find the right balance between ecological, economical, and social values, underpinned by the salient need to conserve our forests. With his intensive network of international multi-disciplinary research collaborators, Dr Kozak studies how to make sustainable and ethical forestry work for forest-dependent communities around the world.

These prestigious awards will be presented during the Opening Ceremony of the XXIV World Congress in Salt Lake City in October 2014. The awards are granted only at IUFRO World Congresses, which occur every 5 years. With these awards, the UBC Faculty of Forestry becomes the first institution in the history of the awards to have 3 recipients in the same year. It also brings to 9 the number of UBC Faculty of Forestry members having received this award, past recipients being: Gene Namkoong (1971), Hamish Kimmins (1986), John Innes (1995), Jack Saddler (1995), Yousry El-Kassaby (2010) and Shawn Mansfield (2010).