Research Branch

See below to download a PDF file.

An Early History of the Research Branch, British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range

Author(s) or contact(s): R.L. Schmidt and J.V. Parminter
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Research General
Series: Technical Report
Other details:  Published 2006. Hardcopy is available.


The B.C. Forest Branch (now Service) was created in February 1912 but research activities didn't begin until 1921 when James (Alex) Alexander studied timber utilization, logging slash disposal, natural regeneration, tree growth and yield, and fire protection.

In 1923 Assistant Chief Forester Robert St. Clair recommended the establishment of forest experimental stations in the major forest types of the province, resulting in the Aleza Lake Experiment Station near Prince George (in 1924) and the Cowichan Lake Research Station on Vancouver Island (in 1929).

The Research Division was formally established in 1927 with a staff of seven and annual expenditures of $34 000. The director was Percy Barr. By 1930 the Research Division of the B.C. Forest Branch was the largest and most active forest research organization in Canada. In the ensuing decades the research program went through many changes and evolved into a province-wide multi-disciplinary organization.

Based on archival material and interviews with previous employees, this document traces the history of research within the B.C. Forest Service from 1912 to 1970.

Biographical information is provided for James L. (Alex) Alexander, George S. Allen, George H. Barnes, Percy M. Barr, M.B. (Bruce) Clark, James D. Curtis, Joseph G. Falconer, Alan R. Fraser, Eric H. Garman, Braham G. Griffith, Angus P. MacBean, Findlay S. McKinnon, Alan L. Orr-Ewing, Arthur E. Pickford, Clifford G. Riley, E.A. Roberts, James C.H. Robertson, Robert C. St. Clair, Herbert R. (Ray) Sansom, Stig R. Schenström, R.H. (Dick) Spilsbury, Cedric W. Walker, and George C. Warrack.

Download Technical Report 036 PDF file (4071 KB)

To view this document you need the current version of
Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free from the Adobe Web Site.

Updated May 11, 2007