Loïc Ales – Voluntary conservation will play an increasingly important role in Quebec!

6 February 2024

Loïc Ales, a master’s student in forestry science at the Laval University under the supervision of  the Professor Maude Flamand-Hubert, a regular researcher at the Renewable Materials Research Centre (CRMR), and the co-direction of Nathalie Lewis ( University of Quebec at Rimouski), was interviewed by « Le Val Ouest » media on the subject of « What motivates a landowner to protect nature? ».

Loïc works at the Leadership Chair in Education in Sustainable Management of Private Forests and his research aims to document and understand forest owners’ views on voluntary conservation measures. Although his current project is still in progress, Loïc has made the following observation about voluntary conservation in the private sector in Quebec: «We can see that private logging is declining. Environmental concerns are on the increase. There are around 1,500 sites protected by voluntary conservation in Quebec. And it’s growing every year. Something is happening. I can’t predict the future, but I think it is going to take up more and more space».
An observation that has earned him, on the last 2 February, the headline in Sébastien Michon’s article (Initiative de journalisme local) on ” Qu’est-ce qui pousse un propriétaire à protéger la nature? “.

Congratulations Loïc , and  we wish you all the best for your research and academic career!

Loïc Ales’ master’s project is entitled «the conservation of private wooded areas in Quebec: points of view and experiences of private forest owners».


Québec plans to protect 30% of its territory by 2030. Private forests, which are subject to strong anthropic pressure and are home to a rich biodiversity, will play an important role in increasing the surface area of protected areas. Today, forest owners have various conservation options at their disposal (ecological gift, nature reserve, conservation easement, etc.). What is the nature of these tools? Are they adapted to those for whom they are intended? We propose to paint an analytical portrait of conservation in Quebec’s private sector, and then, using a qualitative methodology, to focus on the people who are primarily concerned: forest owners. Through a comprehensive approach, we will seek to shed light on how they perceive conservation, the representations they have of it and, ultimately, why they decide, or not, to apply a conservation status to their woodland?
Refining our knowledge of forest owners would enable us to offer them suitable conservation tools and support the achievement of ecosystem conservation objectives.