Modern Bioenergy

Consent to Participate

You are invited to take part in a research study titled “Social acceptance of forest management approaches, modern bioheat and community-scale district energy in Nova Scotia”, being conducted by Dr. Jean Blair, a Postdoctoral Researcher in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies (SRES) at Dalhousie University. Ethics approval was received March 17, 2022.  

The purpose of this research is to better understand 1) the perceptions of Nova Scotians around how forests are managed in the province, 2) the issues impacting social acceptance of community-based biomass heating projects and how acceptance could be improved and 3) the understanding of Nova Scotians of district energy systems and perceptions around the possibility of district energy for their community. The secondary purpose of this research is to understand if informational videos are an effective tool for increasing awareness and acceptance of the three topics addressed in the surveys. Data will be collected through online surveys and any adult (18+) who resides in Nova Scotia, including those in the province on a non-permanent basis, can participate. 

The study is funded by Mitacs (through the Industrial Accelerate Postdoctoral Program) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and is supported by TorchLight Bioresources (TorchLight) and the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners (FNSWO). The lead researcher, along with TorchLight and FNSWO, have an interest in seeing biomass fueled community district energy systems developed, and in active forest management practices being implemented in Nova Scotia. All partners understand that enhancing local knowledge and acceptance around these systems and practices is critical to successful implementation in Nova Scotia. As such, these surveys and videos are designed to help all partners better understand the current state of knowledge, perceptions, and concerns around the topics, as well as how concerns can be addressed.

You have selected to participate in this research through completion of the survey of forest management. The survey consists of an initial set of demographic questions, followed by a set of questions to gauge respondents’ knowledge of the topic; a set of questions to gauge attitudes around practices relating to the topic, and viewing of an informational video on the respective topic followed by a set of follow-up questions (most of which will be the same as the previous questions) to determine if the messages in the video are effective. Upon completion, you can choose to complete a survey on another of the three topics or to finish the survey at that point. Each survey should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete, including the video.

Your participation in this research is entirely your choice. You do not have to answer questions that you do not want to answer (by selecting prefer not to answer), and you are welcome to stop the survey at any time if you no longer want to participate. All you need to do is close your browser. I will not include any incomplete surveys in my analyses. Once a completed survey on a given topic is submitted, it cannot be withdrawn from the study.  

Your responses to the survey will be anonymous. This means that there are no questions in the survey that ask for identifying details such as your name or email address. All responses will be saved on a secure Dalhousie server. Only Dr. Jean Blair and Dr. Michelle Adams (academic supervisor) will have access to the survey results. General findings of this research will be shared in presentations, scientific papers and in local media. The anonymous survey information will be kept in a secure location for 6 years as it may be used in future research. At the end of that time, all information will be destroyed. The risks associated with this study are no greater than those you encounter in your everyday life. There will be no direct benefit to you in participating in this research. The research, however, might contribute to new knowledge on the social acceptance of forest management practices, biomass heating and district energy in Nova Scotia. 

You should discuss any questions you have about this study with Dr. Jean Blair ( and/or Dr. Michelle Adams (supervisor, Please ask as many questions as you like before or after participating. If you have any ethical concerns about your participation in this research, you may contact Research Ethics, Dalhousie University at (902) 494-3423, or email (and reference REB file # 2022-5977). 

I consent to participate in the study