In Northern Ontario, the Black Spruce Tree is the #1 tree that is planted.


The Black Spruce tree species are generally planted in what foresters call “monoculture” conditions.

This means that the same tree species are planted over and over in large forest clusters.

The trees are are planted to be harvested. Presently, many Black Spruce trees are planted using poor planning and coordination techniques that focus on only one parameter of the land’s characteristics.

This can lead to many problems…such as a severe lack in biodiversity, which does not create healthy, natural ecosystems.


Keegan Klinkman, a Trent University student, is using geographical information systems to study soil conditions, such as:

  • Moisture;
  • Drainage;
  • Shading; and
  • Slope elevation

To better assess areas where the Black Spruce tree species should be planted.


Instead of planting without a plan, Keegan’s resarch will use “cut blocks” to show which type of species should be planted where.

The hope is that she can generate an algorithim to pinpoint exactly where the Black Spruce trees should be planted …and  what species they should be planted with.


Instead of planting just one type of species, Keegan hopes to add the “spruce” back to the Black Spruce!

Just like you and me, tree species require certain conditions to grow and have certain preferences, like certain organic soils.

This research is important because it can help dictate where the optimal planting conditions are to  help increase biodiversity.keegan18.jpg

Keegan’s research will help improve the Forest Sustainability Act by helping planters plant trees strategically – and help the forest areas become more diverse!

Keegan works very closely with Professor Raul-Ponce Hernandez and she explains how her research has helped her structure her project and plan for her future career.

“This research has been greatly improved by the support of Trent University. Many professors have taken an interest in my research and have helped me structure my project. They have also gotten me in touch with professionals in related fields where I have been able to make connections. This is extremely important for me to get the advice of a professional while completing this project, but to also have references in the work force for beyond my time at Trent. The research I’m completing is also directly related to the job field I’m interested in, providing me skill to use in the future”

Thank you Keegan for your excellent research project and for helping search for solutions to keep our forests healthy, #green and diverse.