A review of challenges and research priorities for northern hardwood forests.


  • Storm Robinson Northern Hardwoods Research Institute Inc.
  • Joey Volpe Northern Hardwoods Research Institute Inc.


northern hardwood forests, research, technology


The northern hardwoods conference held in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 2023 was an excellent opportunity to review challenges and research priorities for stakeholders in northern hardwoods management. The northern hardwoods forest has been changing and continues to change. Forest management and silviculture practices must adapt. We are facing issues with regeneration of limited species, a decrease in tolerant hardwood vigor and quality, climate change and multiple conflicting objectives such as market demand, demand for increasing maple syrup production, and proposed increases in conservation land. Fortunately, the gathering of industry, business, and technology experts, researchers, and government at the Northern Hardwood Conference presents us with some opportunities and solutions. Since its existence, the Northern Hardwoods Research Institute has aligned its research and development operations to address current challenges of the entire forest products sector in the province of New Brunswick. In this report, we highlight the collective challenges in managing for tolerant hardwoods and we present NHRI’s existing and future solutions to those issues that will guide our research priorities going forward. We propose three major focus areas in which to do so: Silviculture of northern hardwood and mixedwood stands, climate smart silviculture / adaptive management, and technology-based solutions to precision forest inventory and digitalizing the forest value chain. These focus areas will each include training, collaboration, adaptive management, and building the tools and technology to help inform practitioners and policymakers to move toward a more valuable northern hardwood forest.

Author Biographies

Storm Robinson, Northern Hardwoods Research Institute Inc.

Storm Robinson, MScF holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and a Master of Science in Forestry at the University of New Brunswick. She also holds a Forestry Technician diploma and a post-graduate certificate in Geographic Informations Systems – Cartographic Specialist from Fleming College with an intern project in forest inventory mapping of Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve. That project combined with her Ontario Tree Marking Course sparked a passion for northern hardwood forest management and silviculture. Now, as a Research and Development Forester and Manager of Knowledge Mobilization with the Northern Hardwoods Research Institute, she is working on adaptive silviculture to save our sugar maple as well as assisting the entire team with mobilizing their products. Storm sits on the board of the Canadian Institute of Forestry Maritimes Section as the Communications and Events Specialist, helps organize Women in Wood events in the area, and has over 10 years event planning experience which helped her to be selected as the conference coordinator for this NHC 2023 event in Fredericton.

Joey Volpe, Northern Hardwoods Research Institute Inc.

Joey Volpe managed our team’s knowledge mobilization efforts until 2023. He was responsible for making sure the research produced at NHRI is useful, and used, by forestry professionals. His efforts are focused on continuously improving our knowledge transfer processes with the objective of ensuring we mobilized knowledge efficiently and that our tools are effective for our clients. He has a diversified background that has led him to work in the private, public, and academic sectors. In the private sector, he has worked primarily in sales, human resources, and communications. During his stay in the academic sector, he worked on issues relating to the legislative frameworks applicable to forestry and agricultural. He also worked as an economic development officer for the province of New Brunswick and as chief of operations at the CCNB Biotechnology Scale Up Center and the Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Center. Joey Volpe holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial relations from McGill University and a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s degree in environmental studies from Université de Moncton.