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 outdoor activities, appreciates the diversity of seasonal change across the Canadian landscape, 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 excellence experience which consisted of planting trees, collecting pine cones and maintaining remote camping sites throughout northern Ontario, provided the necessary introduction and confirmatory evidence to design a career path towards forestry and then more specifically towards forest science and innovation.  This pathway consisted of 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 as a 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 focus to develop innovative research products for operational use in the Canadian forest sector by practicing foresters. To date, these have included regeneration sampling systems, decision-support models and software suites for use in silvicultural planning and forest management decision-making at the stand-level, and non-destructive methodologies for evaluating internal commercially-important fibre attributes. 

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:

  1. Decision-support models and associated software for optimizing stand-level management decisions in relation to volumetric, product, value and ecological objectives (e.g., CROPLANNER);
  2. 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 tree growth analysis (e.g., stem analysis software); and stand dynamics research (e.g., self-thinning analysis, diameter distribution modeling, site productivity assessment); and
  3. Utility assessment of various non-destructive tools (Fibre-gen ST200 and ST300) for evaluating wood quality (e.g., determining the significance of the relationships between acoustic velocity measurements and Silviscan-derived wood quality metrics in plantation red pine).     

Professional activities / interests

(1) Peer-appointments of Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Forest Research (National Research Council Research Press) responsible for reviewing, managing and adjudicating acceptance decisions on scientific manuscript submissions; (2) Merit-based attainment of Vice-Chair, Chair and Director executive positions for the Canadian Institute of Forestry; and (3) Merit-based attainment of Unit Coordinator for 4.01.02 of the Union of International Forest Research Organization.

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.

International experience and/or work

International Union of Forestry Research Organizations: 3-term Unit Coordinator (2005-2020); Scientific Committee Member and Session Moderator for IUFRO World Congresses XXII, XXIII, XIV, and XV; Conference Co-chair (2007).  

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).