My long-term research interest is in analyzing natural and environmental resource policy with an emphasis on forestry and in developing new policy options that can help enhance the long run sustainability of Canadian forests and the communities and businesses that rely upon them. Two forces are at work that expose the inadequacies of current polices and institutional arrangements.  The forest sector itself is undergoing a structural transformation as the industry has to adapt to change in new markets; at the same time, in an increasing emphasis on the public demands for forests, underscored by longer-term concerns on climate change and what values those forests will be able to provide in the future.

This is part of a broader environmental challenge facing Canadians today: how to meet the challenges raised by growing demand for resources and land. In terms of forestry, Canadian forest policy makers face increasingly complex problems as they try to identify tradeoffs between different environmental and economic values, recognizing existing uses and the widespread dependence of many rural and remote communities on the forest resource, while also trying to incorporate new uses and meet environmental expectations.

Evaluating changes to forest policies has become a complex task in Canada, partly because new values have emerged (e.g. carbon), and external factors, such as climate change, are expected to make some forest values more important in the future. Also, with the widespread socio-economic dependence on land resources in Canada, the issue for governments is the design of policies that will encourage the conservation of forests for providing environmental services without removing the possibility to benefit from land resources while for other agents such as forest or mining companies, or communities the issue is how to optimize their activities given possible interference in their plans, requirements for joint stewardship of the environment and the potential to benefit or lose from various externalities resulting from any given policy.