Luc LeBel

Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt
Université Laval

Chair title

NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Smart Supply Systems within the connected forest value chain

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Chairholder since 2019


The forest and biosourced products industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in Canada, generating about $25 billion worth of business in 2017. The supply of wood fibre is one of the main inhibitors of Canada’s performance in this industry, because of the complexity and high costs associated with it. To preserve the forest’s rich contribution to biodiversity as a vector of sustainable development, it is imperative to ensure that the forest is managed soundly. The creation of value through the processing of wood requires not only high-quality fibre but also precise data on the current and future state of the forest that can be incorporated into advanced collaborative-planning models.

The Chair’s research deals with forest supply systems (FSSs). An FSS is a complex system that includes the planning and coordination mechanisms of all the stakeholders that supply wood fibre to processing plants. An FSS generates large volumes of data, information and product streams. The Chair’s program seeks to provide the Canadian industry with ”smart” systems, meaning systems that are sensitive to their operating  environments and that can detect changes and make the appropriate adjustments. The Chair’s research will make the Canadian forest and biosourced products industry more competitive by strengthening its capacity to respond to changing market demands in a precise and timely manner. The Chair’s activities are divided into three components:

  1. processing and interpreting the data available from numerous sources, so as to generate reliable information from key components of the FSS;
  2. improving the predictability and visibility of the FSS through better coordination and pooling of information at all stages, from the forest to the plant;
  3. designing a smart wood-supply system, based on regional collaboration models that enhance the production capacity and agility of the value-creation network.

Thus the Chair’s program will make it possible to develop advanced tools to support decisions regarding issues of forest management, supply and processing. The Chair will meet a need in the knowledge and monitoring of supply systems through the development of a scientific program based on the foundations of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0): massive data management and artificial intelligence.

Chairholder Luc LeBel has internationally recognized experience in the field of forest engineering. In Canada, Sweden. France and the United States, his work has been used to define new methods for monitoring and managing the performance of harvesting companies. The Chair’s industry partners, through their various forms of expertise and their complementarity, provide a research setting that is unique in the world. All of these partners play strategic roles in the forest-products value chain and thus cover all activities from the forest to the plant, including reforestation and standtending. Through its strategic partnerships, the Chair will be able to obtain visibility and gain access into all of the processes, while the partner companies will be able to incorporate planning and performance-monitoring tools and methods into their approach so as to better respond to ongoing changes in the market. The result will be an industry that can sustainably generate more value from the wealth of Canada’s forests.


  • Quebec ministry of forests, wildlife and parks
  • FPInnovations
  • Resolute Forest Products
  • Domtar inc.
  • PG Solutions corporatives et forestières
  • Québec Federation of Forestry Cooperatives
  • Groupe Lebel

Contact information

Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt
Université Laval



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