Aleza Lake Research Forest
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- Ministry of Forests
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Ministry of Forests
Created in 1912, the Ministry of Forests and Range, then known as the Department of Lands, recommended strong research programs towards further development of the forest industry in British Columbia. In 1923, research activities were implemented, and at that time, Assistant Chief Forester, Bob St. Clair, recommended the development of forest experiment stations. In 1924, the Aleza Lake Experiment Station opened east of Prince George, BC, where different research projects began, focusing on soil types and trees. The objectives of the Experiment Station were related to forest management, particularly growth and mortality of white spruce and balsam, soils, and spatial planning. By 1930, the Research Division was the most active throughout Canada. However, due to significant cutbacks during the Depression years, the loss of key figures occurred; many of whom were central to the success of the Research Division, such as Percy M. Barr, who headed the Division. After 38 years of operation, the Aleza Lake Experiment Station was formally closed in 1963 due to budget restrictions, and all remaining buildings were removed or destroyed. However, now re-named as the Aleza Lake Forest Reserve, the Department of Lands and Forests transferred the Reserve to the Prince George Forest District for a ten-year period. After this timeframe expired, no further review was given and the Aleza Lake Forest Reserve was considered abandoned until 1981 when some permanent sample plots were found and re-measured. Through their diligence, John Revel, and Harry Coates, both employees of the BC Forest Service at the time, re-measured these plots knowing the significance of past experiments conducted at the Research Forest. Coates had also retained the original data from the permanent sample plots. Coates and Revel were both key figures in having the Research Forest re-opened because of their knowledge of previous experiments conducted before the Experiment Station was closed. In 1984, by Order-In-Council, the Aleza Lake Forest Reserve was amalgamated with the Purden Forest Reserve. In the late 1980s, there was a push for the Research Forest to be re-opened because of its potential for forest management research and demonstration. As a result, the Aleza Lake Steering Committee was formed in 1990, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Forests, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, and Northwood Pulp and Timber Limited. In 1992, the Research Forest was reopened with a management and working plan in place and was officially renamed the Aleza Lake Research Forest, and in 2001, the forest became the fourth university research forest in British Columbia. The Aleza Lake Research Forest is now managed by the Aleza Lake Research Forest Society, a partnership between the University of Northern British Columbia, University of British Columbia, one delegated representative from the BC Ministry of Forests and Range, Prince George Regional office, and a delegated representative alternating between the BC Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management, Prince George office. Today, the central mandate of the Research Forest is to provide multidisciplinary programs focusing on partial cut harvest systems, biological diversity, climate change, and environmental monitoring in small forest tenures.
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Revised on April 20, 2012 by KS.