Innovations in Forest Policy and Management

Plenary session – Thursday, June 15 | 8:30 am

Keynote speaker: Werner Kurz, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada

Werner Kurz

Dr. Werner Kurz

Potential Forest Sector Contributions to Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions

Global efforts to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can only succeed if the emissions from burning of fossil fuels are drastically reduced and if the land sector contributes net negative emissions. Opportunities exist to reduce greenhouse gas emission through forest management and the use of wood products to store carbon and to substitute for other emissions-intensive products, such as concrete, steel and fossil fuels. However, not all potential forest sector mitigation strategies are equally effective. A systems approach that quantifies emission reductions in forests, wood products and through substitution and compares these against a base case can be used to rank regionally-differentiated forest sector mitigation strategies. National and regional results for Canada show that the forest sector can make substantial contributions towards 2030 and 2050 emission reduction targets if appropriate mitigation activities start soon and are sustained.


Dr. Werner Kurz is a Senior Research Scientist at the Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada) in Victoria, BC. He leads the development of Canada’s National Forest Carbon Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System and the Forest Carbon Management Project of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. His research focuses on carbon dynamics in forests and harvested wood products and the opportunities of the forest sector to contribute to climate change mitigation.

Dr. Kurz co-authored six reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and has published over 125 peer-reviewed papers. He serves as adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University. He obtained his PhD in Forest Ecology from UBC and an honorary doctorate from the Swedish Land University. In 2016, he was elected as an International Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry.


Keynote speaker: Doug Konkin

Using Global Trends to Our Advantage:  Successful Forest Management in an Uncertain Future

The world around us continues to change.  Technology is accelerating; people are urbanizing; trust in government is down; forests are stressed by climate change and many in society feel marginalized.  People are on the move and the ability to communicate directly with the public, to mobilize support and create “truths” is higher than ever before.  Nationalism is on the rise.

Should foresters care?  Will these global trends impact our ability to manage our forests?   How do forest professionals succeed in a world where the nature of power is changing, forests are changing and change proceeds at an unprecedented pace to make governing and cooperation harder?”


Doug Konkin

A professional forester, and graduate of University of Alberta (BSc Forestry) with 36 years in forest/land management and environmental leadership, Mr. Konkin is currently an Adjunct Professor teaching International Forest Governance and Policy at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Forestry.

He is also a Provincial Chief Negotiator regarding aboriginal economic agreements, an advisor to Global Parks, and part-time community forester in his home municipality of Whistler, BC.

In his role as a Deputy Minister with the BC provincial government from 2003-2013, he led forest, land and environmental public sector agencies—driven by the goal to improve resource management through building engagement, teamwork, efficiency and collaboration with all stakeholders.

Mr. Konkin received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Excellence in Public Administration (2013) for designing and implementing an integrated and durable approach to resource management.