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Spotlight on JDI Innovation: Innovation Week


The province of New Brunswick is celebrating innovation week May 8 to 12. As a culture focused on continuous improvement and innovation we’re sharing some of our top innovation stories across the business from trees to shipbuilding. We are proud to partner with university and community research partners. 

1. Don’t Take Our Word For It 

J.D. Irving (JDI) and Dr. David Miller of Carleton University receive Synergy Award for Innovation.


J.D. Irving, Limited and Dr. David Miller of Carleton University were honoured among Canada’s top researchers with a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Award in Outstanding Industry-University Partnership. 
Miller has studied the Spruce Budworm for over 25 years and has been working with JDI to reduce the impact of future epidemics. Miller and collaborators found that endophytes, fungi that occur naturally in the needles of conifers, are important to improving the tolerance of trees to Spruce Budworm. Some endophytes produce natural toxins that slow the growth of the spruce budworm insect. J.D. Irving, Limited’s state-of-the-art laboratory in Sussex, N.B. will produce inoculum for up to 30 million seedlings per year from nurseries in eastern Canada.

2. For The Birds

The Irving Nature Park in Saint John, New Brunswick, in partnership with Bird Studies Canada and Acadia University, is part of the largest study ever undertaken on bird migration in Canada.


The Motus Wildlife Tracking System allows researchers to track small birds using very high radio frequency transmissions. Researchers tag small birds with tiny transmitters that weigh less than 0.3 grams. The transmitter emits a short pulse, broadcasting individual signals. Each Motus tracking station can detect and record radio-tags at distances of up to 15 km. 

3. Recording Innovation

JDI partnered with Natural Resources Canada, Carleton University, and Environment and Climate Change Canada on a 5-year songbird habitat research project on JDI land in Northern New Brunswick.



“Understanding and modelling specific habitat use and needs of birds at the local and landscape scale is an effective way to analyze the influence of forest management on songbird diversity and abundance,” said Greg Adams, JDI Woodlands Research and Development Manager. “This approach is especially useful in the forestry context because it can allow projections into the future under specific management regimes as well as under different climate change scenarios."
Researchers are collecting songbird data with auto-acoustic recording devices. During the breeding season in May and June of 2016, 323 sites were monitored across 17 different forest types and age classes. The recordings are being analyzed by bird experts or in some cases by sound recognition software to determine songbirds present at specific GPS locations. Researchers also have access to JDI’s enhanced, high resolution mapping of the entire forest study area for a range of forest structure metrics generated through LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. The songbird data is then used along with the forest structure metrics at the location as well as in the surrounding forest area to build habitat models for individual species. Model results can then be projected across the entire landscape.

4. Saving Salmon 
CAST is a partnership of scientists, environmental groups and industry participants. The focus is saving wild Atlantic salmon before it’s too late. Today CAST is working on four science projects on the Miramichi and Restigouche rivers. The hope is that CAST will serve as a positive partnership model for Eastern Canada’s wild Atlantic salmon rivers.

5. Nature’s Air Filters 

JDI collaborated with the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at the University of New Brunswick to produce a comprehensive first-of-its-kind report on the carbon balance of JDI woodlands and forest products operations.

The two-year study, funded by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and J.D. Irving, Limited, has found that JDI forests will sink (absorb versus emit) about 92 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 50 years. That's the equivalent of the entire emissions of the Maritime Provinces for one year or 18.4 million cars off the road for one year.

A peer-reviewed article titled, "A Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Balance for a Forest Company Operating in Northeast North America - R.E. Cameron, C.R. Hennigar, D.A. MacLean, G.W. Adams and T.A. Erdle" was published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Forestry - the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world.

"This is one of the first studies in Canada to take such a detailed look at a very vertically integrated company across all its forest product activities,” said Dr. Chris Hennigar, at the UNB Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management.
The study took into account all greenhouse gas emission sources - from the harvesting and trucking of wood from the forest through to the emissions from the manufacturing of forest products.

6. Funding Innovation
Irving Shipbuilding Inc. announced a $4.52 million investment to support marine innovation and commercialization in Nova Scotia and across Canada.

Irving Shipbuilding is investing $4.52 million in the newly established Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), an ocean innovation centre to be located on the waterfront in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The investment over the next five years represents the largest private sector contribution COVE has received to date.

7. Sea-ing a Difference
From the Salish Sea, to the Atlantic Ocean to the Antarctic, the Halifax Shipyard has funded 1.8 million in oceans research projects through MEOPAR. The funding is across nine research projects at six Canadian universities and the projects are studying everything from the impact of rising sea levels on Aboriginal Communities to oil-eating microbes, to the effects of plastics in our oceans.