Dr. Peter Newton

Senior Research Scientist

Quantitative Forest Sylviculture Research; Biostatistics; Decision Support Modeling; Acoustic Velocity; Fibre Attribute Modelling; Climate Change Modelling; Software Design and Coding.

Current research and/or projects

Biography:

As one who always enjoys the outdoors, appreciates the diversity of seasonal change across the Canadian landscape from the western coasts of British Columbia to the eastern coasts of insular Newfoundland, and with a key interest in forests and nature in general, I enrolled in the Junior Ranger Program with the Department of Lands and Forests in Ontario, while at secondary school. That excellent experience which consisted of planting trees, collecting pine cones and maintaining remote camping sites throughout northern Ontario, provided the necessary introductory and confirmatory evidence to embark on a career path towards forestry and then more specifically towards forest science research. Enriched by employment experiences as a Park Ranger in northern Ontario, timber cruiser in northern Manitoba, forest industrial planner in northwest Ontario and graduate-student field researcher in the boreal forests of central Newfoundland ultimately led to a rewarding academic trajectory and research career: attaining forestry degrees at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels from Lakehead University, University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, respectively, and attaining the pinnacle of employment opportunities by being selected by the Canadian Forest Service to serve the forest sector and Canadian public in the role of Forestry Officer and later as a Research Scientist. Specific interest in understanding the underlying ecological drivers of stand dynamics has led to an innovative career in forest science involving quantitative ecology, biometrics, modeling, computer programming and stand dynamics. Foremost along the way has been an attention to academic and scientific excellence and a concentrated long-term focus on the development of innovative research products for potential operational use in the forest sector by practicing foresters, silviculturists, decision-makers and policy analysts at the regional, provincial, national and international levels. These have included regeneration sampling and assessment tools, climate-smart crop planning decision-support models and associated software suites for use in silvicultural planning, forest management decision-making, and non-destructive acoustic-based methodologies for evaluating internal commercially-important fibre attributes (see publication list for a full account). 

Research and/or project statements

Development of several innovative products for boreal conifers (jack pine, black spruce and red pine) as exemplified by the following contributions:

Development of silvicultural-based decision-support systems and associated software suites for designing optimal crop plans in order to realize volumetric, product, economic, ecological, carbon and fire-proofing related management objectives, for Canadian coniferous species deploying the structural stand density management modelling approach. Ultimately yielding such operationally-deployable R&D products as the climate-smart Crop Planner software suite for use in managing jack pine, black spruce, and red pine natural stands and plantations during the Anthropocene. 

Development of innovative analytical frameworks for (i) competition research (e.g., sequential competition analysis), (ii) regeneration sampling and evaluation (e.g., fixed precision list quadrat and double sampling designs), (iii) meta-analysis (e.g., quantifying volumetric yield responses to intensive forest management treatments (thinning, fertilization, tree improvement and vegetation management), (iv) computer-intensive approaches for optimal decision-making (e.g., optimization apps) and dendrology-based tree growth analysis (e.g., stem analysis software); and stand dynamics research (e.g., self-thinning analysis, diameter distribution modeling, site productivity assessment); and

Assessment of the utility of various innovative in-forest non-destructive tools for non-invasive evaluation/determination of internal-based xylem wood quality fibre attributes (e.g., wood density, microfibril angle, modulus of elasticity, tracheid dimensions, fibre coarseness, specific surface area) of Canadian coniferous species (jack pine and red pine). The tool set includes acoustic velocity instruments (e.g., Fibre-gen ST200 and ST300) and microdrills (e.g., Resistograph). Silviscan-derived xlyem attributes have been used extensively to confirm the validity of such tools in terms of their accuracy and potential utility in use forest operations.

Development of end-product-based fibre attribute prediction models (spatial (whole tree) and spatial-invariant (breast-height) model specifications) for Canadian coniferous tree species (black spruce, jack pine and red pine).  Attributes included wood density, microfibril angle, modulus of elasticity, tracheid dimensions, fibre coarseness, and specific surface area, which are direct determinants of end-product type and grade (e.g., solid wood products (dimensional lumber)). Additionally, these models are integrated within the Crop Planner decision-support system to enable the generation of rotational end-product estimates from which crop plans can be optimized for a given end-product objective inclusive of those associated with long-lived harvestable wood products. Ultimately setting the stage for the assessment long-term carbon retention outcomes via climate-smart crop planning and thus contributing to natural-based climate change mitigation strategies at the regional, provincial and national levels.

Professional activities / interests

1) Associate Editor appointments to the editorial boards of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, Forests and Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, responsible for reviewing, managing and adjudicating acceptance decisions on scientific manuscript submissions;

(2) Membership-elected executive positions of Sectional Vice-Chair, Sectional Chair and National Board  Director for the Canadian Institute of Forestry;

(3) Peer-appointments attainment of Unit Coordinator for 4.01.02 of the Union of International Forest Research Organization for three five year terms.

I also establish, administer and manage multiple-year service contracts and G&C agreements, manage large research budgets, lead and/or participate in large collaborative research investigations, and mentor technical, professional, research staff along with Post-Doctoral Fellows.

Education and awards

H.B.Sc. in Forestry, Lakehead University, ON.

M.Sc. in Forestry, University of Toronto, ON.

Ph.D. in Forestry, University of British Columbia, BC.

External Awards: Annual merit-based ranked-selection to the Stanford-Elsevier's Worlds Top 2% Scientist List for years 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022.

 

International experience and/or work

International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO):

(1) International Conference Co-chair (2005-2008 - Complex Stand Dyamics);

(2) Three-term Unit Coordinator (2005-2020 - Unit 4.01.02); amd

(3) Scientific Committee Member and Session Moderator for IUFRO World Congresses XXII, XXIII, XIV, and XV.  

Key publications

  1. Mallik, A.U., and Newton, P.F. 1988. Inhibition of black spruce seedling growth by forest-floor substrates of central Newfoundland. Forest Ecology and Management 23:273-283.
  2. Newton, P.F., and Smith, V.G. 1988. Diameter distributional trends within mixed black spruce/balsam fir and pure black spruce stand types. Forest Ecology and Management 25:123-138.
  3. Newton, P.F. 1989. Fixed-precision list-quadrat sequential sampling for point-density estimation. Forest Ecology and Management 27:295-308.
  4. Newton, P.F. 1990. Initial size hierarchy development within second-growth black spruce stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 20:1720-1731.
  5. Newton, P.F., and Smith, V.G. 1990. Reformulated self-thinning exponents as applied to black spruce. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 20:887-893.
  6. Newton, P.F., and Smith, V.G. 1991. Volume growth relationships within mixed black spruce/balsam fir stands. Forest Ecology and Management 40:131-136.
  7. Newton, P.F. 1992. Base-age invariant polymorphic site index curves for black spruce and balsam fir within central Newfoundland. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 9:18-22.
  8. Newton, P.F., and LeMay, V.M. 1992. Evaluation of a sequential counting plan for point-density estimation within black spruce/balsam fir seedling populations. Forest Ecology and Management 53:195-212.
  9. Newton, P.F., and Weetman, G.F. 1993. Stand density management diagrams and their development and utility in black spruce management. Forestry Chronicle 69:421-430.
  10. Newton, P.F., and Jolliffe, P.A. 1993. Above-ground dry matter partitioning, size variability and competitive processes within second-growth black spruce stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23:1917-1929.
  11. Newton, P.F., and Weetman, G.F. 1994. Stand density management diagram for managed black spruce stands. Forestry Chronicle 70:65-74.
  12. Newton, P.F. 1994. Comparison of sequential and double sampling designs for estimating point density within seedling populations. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 24:1472-1479.
  13. Newton, P.F. 1997. Stand density management diagrams: review of their development and utility in stand-level management planning. Forest Ecology and Management 98:251-265.
  14. Newton, P.F. 1997. Algorithmic versions of stand density management diagrams developed for natural and managed black spruce stands. Forestry Chronicle 73:257-265.
  15. Newton, P.F., and Jolliffe, P.A. 1998. Assessing processes of intraspecific competition within spatially heterogeneous density-stressed black spruce stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 28:259-275.
  16. Newton, P.F., and Jolliffe, P.A. 1998. Above-ground modular component responses to intraspecific competition processes within density-stressed black spruce stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 28:1587-1610.
  17. Newton, P.F. 1998. Regional-specific algorithmic stand density management diagram for managed black spruce stands. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 15:94-97.
  18. Newton, P.F. 1998. An integrated approach to deriving point-density/stocking standards by management objective. Forest Ecology and Management 102:143-156.
  19. Newton, P.F., and Jolliffe, P.A. 1998. Temporal size-dependent growth responses within density-stressed black spruce stands: competition processes and budworm effects. Forest Ecology and Management 111:1-13.
  20. Newton, P.F. 1999. Scale-specific performance of sequential and double sampling designs for point-density estimation within coniferous seedling populations. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 14:86-96.
  21. Newton, P.F. 2003. Systematic review of yield responses of four North American conifers to forest tree improvement practices. Forest Ecology and Management 172:29-51.
  22. Newton, P.F. 2003. Yield prediction errors of a stand density management program for black spruce and consequences for model improvement. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 33:490-499.
  23. Newton, P.F. and P.A. Jolliffe. 2003. Aboveground dry matter partitioning responses of black spruce to directional-specific indices of local competition. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 33:1832-1845.
  24. Newton, P.F. 2003. Stand density management decision-support program for simulating multiple thinning regimes within black spruce plantations. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 38:45-53.
  25. Newton, P.F. 2003. Stem analysis program for coniferous forest tree species [includes software]. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 39:61-66.
  26. Liu, C., Zhang, S.Y., Lei, Y. Newton, P.F., and Zhang, L. 2004. Evaluation of three methods for predicting diameter distributions of black spruce (Picea mariana) plantations in central Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 34:2424-2432.
  27. Newton, P.F., Lei, Y. and Zhang, S.Y. 2004. A parameter recovery model for estimating black spruce diameter distributions within the context of a stand density management diagram. Forestry Chronicle 80:349-358.
  28. Newton, P.F. 2004. A stem analysis computational algorithm for estimating volume growth and its empirical evaluation under various sampling strategies. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 44:21-31.
  29. Newton, P.F., Lei, Y. and Zhang, S.Y. 2005. Stand-level diameter distribution yield model for black spruce plantations. Forest Ecology and Management 209:181-192.
  30. Newton, P.F. and Amponsah, I.G. 2005. Evaluation of Weibull-based parameter prediction equation systems for black spruce and jack pine stand-types within the context of developing structural stand density management diagrams. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35:2996-3010.
  31. Newton, P.F. 2006. Asymptotic size-density relationships within self-thinning black spruce and jack pine stand-types: Parameter estimation and model reformulations. Forest Ecology and Management 226:49-59.
  32. Newton, P.F. 2006. Systematic review of short-term growth responses of semi-mature black spruce and jack pine stands to nitrogen-based fertilization treatments. Forest Ecology and Management 237:1-14.
  33. Newton, P.F. 2006. Forest production model for upland black spruce stands—Optimal site occupancy levels for maximizing net production. Ecological Modelling 190:190-204.
  34. Newton, P.F. and Amponsah, I.G. 2007. Comparative evaluation of 5 height-diameter models for black spruce and jack pine in terms of goodness-of-fit, lack-of-fit and predictive ability indices. Forest Ecology and Management 247:149-166.
  35. Sharma, M., Parton, J., Woods, M., Newton, P., Penner, M., Wang, J., Stinson, A. and Bell, W. 2008. Ontario’s forest growth and yield modeling program: advances resulting from the forestry research partnership. Forestry Chronicle 84:694-703.
  36. Newton, P.F. and Sharma, M. 2008. Evaluation of sampling design on taper equation performance in plantation-grown Pinus banksiana. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 23:358-370.
  37. Newton, P.F. 2008. Base-age invariant polymorphic height growth and site index equations for peatland black spruce stands. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 25:202-210.
  38. Newton, P.F. 2008. (Editor), Complex stand structures (Special Issue). Forestry (Oxford) 82:573-629.
  39. Newton, P.F. 2009. Development of an integrated decision-support model for density management within jack pine stand-types. Ecological Modelling 220:3301-3324.
  40. Newton, P.F. 2012. A decision-support system for forest density management within upland black spruce stand-types. Environmental Modeling and Software 35:171-187 + Supplementary Online Material.
  41. Newton, P.F. 2012. A silvicultural decision-support algorithm for density regulation within peatland black spruce stands. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 80:115-125 + Supplementary Online Material.
  42. Newton, P.F. 2012. Development and utility of an ecological-based decision-support system for managing mixed coniferous forest stands for multiple objectives. Chapter 7 in book entitled “Ecological Modeling”. Series: Environmental Science, Engineering and Technology, Nova Scientific Publishers (ISBN: 978-1-61324-567-5).
  43. Newton, P.F. 2012. A decision-support model for regulating black spruce site occupancy through density management. Chapter 4 in book entitled “Sustainable Forest Management”. InTech-Open Access Publishers (ISBN 978-953-307-668-3). 
  44. Newton, P.F. 2012. Yield responses of black spruce to forest vegetation management treatments: initial responses and rotational projections. International Journal of Forestry Research 2:1-15.
  45. Newton, P.F. 2012. Simulating site-specific effects of a changing climate on jack pine productivity using a modified variant of the CROPLANNER model. Open Journal of Forestry 2:23-32.
  46. Newton, P.F. 2012. Development and utility of an ecological-based decision-support system for managing mixed coniferous forest stands for multiple objectives. Chapter 7 in book entitled “Ecological Modeling”. Series: Environmental Science, Engineering and Technology, Nova Scientific Publishers (ISBN: 978-1-61324-567-5). Invited chapter.
  47. Newton, P.F. 2012. A decision-support model for regulating black spruce site occupancy through density management. Chapter 4 in book entitled “Sustainable Forest Management”. InTech-Open Access Publishers (ISBN 978-953-307-668-3). Invited chapter.
  48. Newton, P.F. 2015. Evaluating the ecological integrity of structural stand density management models developed for boreal conifers. Forests 6:992-1030.
  49. Newton, P.F. 2015. Occurrence of density-dependent height repression within jack pine and black spruce populations. Forests 6:2450-2468.
  50. Newton, P.F. 2015. Quantifying growth responses of black spruce and jack pine to thinning within the context of density management decision-support systems. Open Journal of Forestry 5:409-421.  
  51. Newton, P.F. 2015. Genetic worth effect models for boreal conifers and their utility when integrated into density management decision-support systems. Open Journal of Forestry 5:105-115.
  52. Newton, P.F. 2016. Developmental trends of black spruce fibre attributes in maturing plantations. International Journal of Forestry Research 6:1-12.

  53. Newton, P.F. 2016. Simulating the potential effects of a changing climate on black spruce and jack pine plantation productivity by site quality and locale through model adaptation. Forests 7:223-248.

  54. Newton, P.F. 2016. Quantifying size-dependent developmental trajectories of commercial-relevant fibre attributes within maturing black spruce plantations employing hierarchical linear models. Forest Ecology and Management 381:1-16.

  55. Newton, P.F. 2017. Predictive relationships between acoustic velocity and wood quality attributes for red pine logs. Forest Science 63:504-517.

  56. Newton, P.F. 2017. Acoustic-based non-destructive estimation of wood quality attributes within standing red pine trees. Forests 8(10).

  57. Newton, P.F. 2018. Quantifying the effects of wood moisture and temperature variation on time-of-flight acoustic velocity measures within standing red pine and jack pine trees. Forests 9(9).

  58. Newton, P.F. 2018. An acoustical-based predictive modeling suite for estimating commercially-relevant wood fibre attributes within jack pine logs. Forests 9(12).

  59. Newton, P.F. 2019. Wood quality attribute models and their utility when integrated into density management decision-support systems for boreal conifers. Forest Ecology and Management 438:267-284.

  60. Newton, P.F. 2019. Acoustic-based prediction of end-product-based fibre determinates within standing jack pine trees. Forests 10(7).

  61. Newton, P.F. 2019. Examining Naturogenic Processes and Anthropogenic Influences on Tree Growth and Development via Stem Analysis: data processing and computational analytics. Forests 10(12).

  62. Newton, P.F. 2021. Stand density management diagrams: modelling approaches, variants, and exemplification of their potential utility in crop planning. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 51:236-256.
  63. Newton, P.F. 2021. Croplanner: A Stand Density Management Decision-Support Software Suite for Addressing Volumetric Yield, End-Product and Ecosystem Service Objectives When Managing Boreal Conifers. Forests 2021, 12, 448.
  64. Newton, P.F. 2022. Development of a Climate-Sensitive Structural Stand Density Management Model for Red Pine. Forests 2022, 13(7), 1010.
  65. Newton, P.F. 2022. Potential Utility of a Climate-Sensitive Structural Stand Density Management Model for Red Pine Crop Planning. Forests 2022, 13(10), 1695.
  66. Newton, P.F. 2023. Development of Spatiotemporal Whole-Stem Models for Estimating End-Product-Based Fibre Attribute Determinates for Jack Pine and Red Pine. Forests 2023, 14(11), 2211.

Research facility

1219 Queen Street East
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2E5
Canada

Affiliations

Associate Editorship - Journal: Canadian Journal of Forest Research

Associate Editorship - Journal: Forests

Associate Editorship - Journal: Frontiers in Forests and Global Change

International Union of Forestry Research Organizations

Canadian Institute of Forestry

 

Language

English

Other languages

French Readability