Environmental and natural resource research

British Columbia is home to a rich area of natural and cultural resources and research is an important part of their maintenance.

Operating on a provincial land base of over 94 million hectares, the ministry sustainably manages forest, rangelands, water, mineral and land-based resources in British Columbia. Natural resources include the structural and functional environments that support wildlife and species. 

On this page:

Ecosystem stewardship

Ecosystem stewardship research involves researching how to use and protect B.C.’s natural resources in a responsible way to maintain or enhance ecosystem resilience and human well-being. Ecosystem stewardship research supports management decisions that maintain or enhance ecosystem services and resiliency. 

Ecosystem stewardship research topics:

Ecosystem health and disturbance

Ecosystem health and disturbance research investigates the distribution of disturbances over time, from insect and disease outbreaks such as mountain pine beetle, wildfire, climate change, and anthropogenic activities like resource development and development at the wildland-urban interface.

Research is directed at understanding and predicting the effects of these disturbances on natural resources, to improve our ability to mitigate these impacts, and maintain current and future ecosystem health indicators.  

Ecosystem health and disturbance research topics:


Water research (the field known as hydrology) supports sustainable water allocations and public safety. Hydrology, geomorphology and watershed management research findings are key to implementing informed and sustainable management of healthy forests, terrestrial ecosystems and for B.C.'s key aquatic species.

The movement (behaviour) of water across B.C.'s landscape is changing because of climate change. As these changes occur, understanding the effects on B.C.'s forests, watersheds, infrastructure, public safety, flood forecasting and linkages to forest management are important fields being investigated in the research program.

Water research topic:

Species and habitats

Species and habitats research investigates the protection, conservation, and management of terrestrial and aquatic species, populations, and habitats such as the Great Bear Rainforest. 

Timber supply and silviculture

Timber supply and silviculture research supports the establishment and stewardship of forests, and the maintenance of timber supply on the land base to support the economy. 

Timber supply and silviculture research topics:

Forest bio-economy

Forest bio-economy research supports the government and industry’s needs associated with new technology. As traditional pulp demand for paper products has decreased with the advent of Internet-based media, new and innovative ways are being researched to build out a circular supply chain that utilizes renewable wood products.

Bio-economy research topics:

Ecosystems and Biogeoclimatic Classification:

Forest genetics

The ministry has an active forest genetics program that is focused on maintaining genetic tree diversity of B.C.’s forests and producing tree seed selected for yield, resilience to climate change stressors such as drought, pest resistance, and better wood quality to benefit our future forest ecosystems and communities.

Forest genetics research topic: