September 21, 2023

November 22 - 23, 2007
Fields Workshop on Disturbances: Modelling Spread in Forests
University of Western Ontario

Organizing Committee

W. John Braun (Statistical & Actuarial Sciences,Western)
Charmaine Dean (Statistics & Actuarial Science, Simon Fraser)
Jim Gould (CSIRO, Canberra)
David Martell (Forestry, Toronto)

Supported by:


National Program on
Complex Data Sets
All talks will be in
Room 248
Western Science Centre
University of Western Ontario

Participant List Schedule
Travel to London Local Information
Accomodation in London Map of Campus

This 2-day workshop will focus on the mathematical and statistical modelling of the spread of biological and physical processes in forests. Individuals who have studied insect infestations in forests will be invited as well as researchers into the mechanisms underlying the spread of forest fires. In particular, we will learn from specialists in Mountain Pine Beetle as well as Spruce Budworm.

In the past two years, there has been a wave of inter-disciplinary research activity involving mathematicians and statisticians
and forestry researchers in Canada. Successful workshops have been held at the Fields' Institute (May, 2005) and at the Banff International Research Station (May, 2006) in which several research collaborations were initiated.

The present workshop will build on the earlier successes. While the earlier workshops were fairly broadly based in forest ecology and forest fire science, our goal for this workshop is to have a somewhat more narrow focus: spread modelling -- of fire and of pests.

The forest fire research community has made steady progress over the past four decades, in increasing our understanding of the nature of forest fires. Mathematical models for predicting fire occurrence have been developed. Deterministic spread models are being implemented for planning purposes and for use in computer simulations to aid in prediction of the future behavior of existing and potential fires. Such models are used in conjunction with queueing models in the strategic management of fire-fighting resources such as aircraft and fire fighters. Although much has been learned about the interactions of weather and fuel-types and their effects on fire spread, and intensity a large number of questions remain. For example, how can jump-fires ignited by burning bark and other firebrands carried by the wind, in advance of a spreading fire, be modelled as a stochastic process? How can the fire hazard in particular areas be estimated reliably? What are the potential impacts of climate change on fire regimes and fire management systems?

We plan to have researchers involved with the Prometheus Fire Spread model at this workshop. There are several mathematical issues connected with this model and its implementation which need to be addressed. A level set approach has been suggested as an alternative, and details on this alternative will be considered at this workshop. Incorporating randomness into Prometheus is another major goal; the possibilities will be laid out at this workshop. It should be noted that Prometheus was featured as one
of the problems at the most recent PIMS IPWS held in Burnaby in June, 2006. The team members that worked on that problem are among the invitees for the proposed workshop.

Other stochastic models for fire spread will also discussed, including interacting particle systems. A session on wind modelling is also envisioned. A director of Western's Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel will be present to discuss models for windborne debris. Ecological effects of these kinds of disturbances will also be considered. Interactions between fire and ecology will be discussed.

Models of the spread of insects through forests will also be considered. Here, spatial statisticians play a major role. In particular, Markovian mixed effects models have been shown to be an effective way of modelling outbreaks such as that of the mountain pine beetle and spruce budworm.

Program Outline

The format of the workshop will be similar to the BIRS workshop held in 2006; there will be some talks, but there will also be generous amounts of time set aside for roundtable discussion as well as informal discussion. We want to encourage the math/stat researchers to interact directly with their forest research counterparts.

Accommodation in London, Ontario

A block of standard rooms are available at Windermere Manor (very near campus) at $106 per night. These rooms will be released on October 20 so book soon.

Participant List as of November 10, 2007

Fullname University Name
Eberl, Hermann J. University of Guelph
Perera, Ajith Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Picka, Jeffrey University of New Brunswick
Babak, Petro University of Alberta
Belkine, Anna Simon Fraser University
Bose, Chris University of Victoria
Braun, W. John University of Western Ontario
Bryce, Robert Brandon University
Cui, Wenbin Ontario Forest Research Institute
Cumming, Steve Université Laval
Davies, Katherine University of Western Ontario
Dean, Charmaine Simon Fraser University
Esterby, Sylvia University of British Columbia Okanagan
Fauria, Marc Macias University of Helsinki
Fleming, Rich Natural Resources Canada
Garcia, Tanya University of Neuchatel
Gibos, Kels University of Toronto
Gould, James S. Ensis-CSIRO Forest Biosecurity and Protection
Guichard, Sylvain Ensis- CSIRO Forest Biosecurity and Protection
Ivanoff, B. Gail University of Ottawa
James, Patrick University of Toronto
Johnson, Edward A. University of Calgary
Kidnie, Susan University of Toronto
Kopp, Greg University of Western Ontario
Kulperger, Reg University of Western Ontario
Macdonald, Colin Simon Fraser University
Martell, David University of Toronto
McAlpine, Rob Ministry of Natural Resources
McRae, Doug Natural Resources Canada
Miller, Craig University of Western Ontario
Ong, Benjamin Michigan State University
Quince, Fletcher University of Toronto
Régničre, Jacques Laurentian Forestry Centre
Richardson, Mary Jane University of Guelph
Shore, Terry Pacific Forestry Centre
Smith, Bruce Dalhousie University
Song, Bo Serena Clemson University
Tolhurst, Kelvin University of Melbourne
Tymstra, Cordy Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
Woolford, Doug University of Toronto
Wotton, Mike University of Toronto
To Be Confirmed
Cooke, Barry Pacific Forestry Centre
Creed, Irena University of Western Ontario
Field, Robert University of Toronto
Lii, Keh-Shin University of California, Riverside
Stafford, James University of Toronto
Stanford, David University of Western Ontario
Taylor, Steve Canadian Forest Service
Viveros-Aguilera, Román McMaster University



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