Research project

Carbon balance of forest protection against the spruce budworm


(2 master's degree projects available)
The carbon balance of Canadian boreal forests is largely influenced by the occurrence and intensity of natural disturbances such as insect epidemics.

The spruce budworm has a major impact on forest ecosystems. In the absence of control measures, it generates mortality in numerous stands covering vast areas of the Canadian boreal forest. Its action slows tree growth and can generate large quantities of dead or dying wood, the decomposition of which increases atmospheric emissions. The economic impact of this forest pest has long been recognized, but its impact on the forest carbon balance has yet to be adequately determined. To counter the economic impact of TBE epidemics, formulations of the bioinsecticide Bacillus thuringiensis spp. kurstaki (Btk) are sprayed by plane. Several scenarios for protection against spruce budworm are possible, ranging from early and intense intervention to avoid the outbreak of an epidemic and prevent negative effects on the forest, to no intervention at all.

The aim of the project is to quantify the greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of forest protection activities against spruce budworm. The following questions will be investigated: Does spraying spruce budworm-affected forests with Btk reduce GHG emissions to the atmosphere, by limiting defoliation and stem mortality? How does the overall carbon balance of different Btk spraying strategies compare, taking into account the effect of these strategies on forest carbon and GHG emissions linked to spraying operations?

Research Field

- Forest ecology
- Forest carbon
- Forest entomology
- Climate change

Research Supervisor

Evelyne Thiffault

Research Environment

Renewable Materials Research Centre - Department of wood and forest sciences

E. Thiffault's team (Team Carbone) carries out research activities related to forestry under a changing climate at the Renewable Materials Research Centre, whose mission is to develop responsible use of forest resources, taking into account environmental and economic constraints. The team is part of Université Laval's Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, a training and research environment dedicated to improving our knowledge of the forest environment.

Most of the projects of the E. Thiffault team are in partnership with stakeholders and communities committed to the fight against climate change. Come and make a difference with us!
To discover Team Carbone, visit our Facebook page:

Web Site

Financial Aid Available by Program of Study

Master's Degree in Forestry Science with thesis

Program description

Financial Aid Available*

Financial Aid Related to Research Project

$20000 per year for 2 years.

All expenses related to field and laboratory work, specialized training, equipment, etc. are covered. Funds are also available for participation in conferences and symposia to present research results.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Milestone Amount
Initial thesis submission OR fast-tracking to a doctorate by the end of the 5th semester
Total $1,000

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Sources de financement Montant
Leadership and Comittment Scholarship (Canadians & permanent residents) $10,000
Citizens of the World Scholarship (International students) $20,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships or Research Visits (in French)
$1,000 to $2,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies
$17,500 to $40,000
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Desired Profile

- Agroforestry
- Biochemistry
- Biology
- Geography
- Natural and landscaped environment
- Forest Management and Environment

Requirements and Conditions

- Interest/ability to carry out work in forest, including field visits over several days

Required Documentation

- Cover letter
- Curriculum vitæ
- Student transcript

Application Deadline

March 1, 2024

Find Out More

Evelyne Thiffault
Professeure agrégée
Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt