Ten year plan

3/12/2009

At the end of 1999 I spent a month putting together a simple vertically and horizontally integrated model of forest industry (using Matlab). During the same time I documented the work, anaemia which with minor modifications turned into a paper published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research (reference 11§). Later, in early 2001, I wrote a conference paper that explained why breeding objectives were often not properly defined in tree breeding programs (reference 12§). That was my last direct work on the topic looking at pushing some boundaries, although references 23 and 31§ still explored marginal applications for breeding objectives.

At the time I could see several flaws with my 1999 model, flaws which have only become more apparent with time. There are more traits that should have been included (e.g. wood stiffness at the sawmill level) and I identified but never included re-optimizations of the system that are bound to happen when making good genetic progress. In addition, everything was done with bioeconomic models, which do have some economic limitations.

Lately I have been working with a student really looking at the problem again and, although we still have some pending issues, we have had a fresh look again. It has been ten years, but sometimes we need distance (or lag) to see things under new light. References 41 and 43§ are the beginning of a more comprehensive look at breeding objectives.

Funnily enough, when looking at the use of my papers in ‘Web of Science’ I have identified an interesting pattern. Papers that adopt a different/alternative approach tend to take around five years to start being referenced. By then, I have just moved away from the topic and it may take me five more years to come back with something new. This is my five + five years cycle for research topics.

Filed in research

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