Forest Industry Lecture (FILS)



Town of Whitecourt and Woodlands County, Forest Capital of Canada 2013-2015 and the Canadian Institute of Forestry

Lecture abstract

Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical diagnosis, but a metaphor to describe the human costs of alienation from nature, as suggested by recent research. Among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses, a rising rate of myopia, child and adult obesity, Vitamin D deficiency, and other maladies – as well as harm to the future of conservation. At the same time, bringing more nature into our lives can have a profoundly positive impact on health and the ability to think clearly and be creative. To counter nature-deficit disorder, we now see the emergence of a new nature movement which encompasses but goes beyond traditional definitions of environmentalism and sustainability. What if our lives were as immersed in nature as they are in electronics today? What if we not only saved energy, but created human energy – as new homes, cities, schools, and workplaces emerge that maximize the benefits of the natural world to health, intelligence and creativity? What if we not only conserved nature, but created it where we live, work, learn and play?

About Richard Louv

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community. His book THE NATURE PRINCIPLE:Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin Books, 2011), offers a new vision of the future, in which our lives are as immersed in nature as they are in technology. This future, available to all of us right now, offers better psychological, physical and spiritual health for people of every age.  THE NATURE PRINCIPLE: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age,(Algonquin) is available in paperback edition.

LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin Books), translated into 13 languages and published in 20 countries, has stimulated an international conversation about the relationship between children and nature. Louv is co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network (, an organization helping build the movement to connect today’s children and future generations to the natural world. Louv coined the term Nature-Deficit Disorder® which has become the defining phrase of this important issue.

For more information visit his website

About FILS

The Forest Industry Lecture Series was started during the 1976-77 University term as a seminar course. The late Desmond I. Crossley and Maxwell T. MacLaggan presented the first series of lecturers. The contributions of these two noted Canadian foresters are greatly appreciated. 

The Forest Industry Sector represented by individual primary production companies, consulting companies, forest research organizations, professional organizations, and industry groups in western Canada cooperates with the provincial government agency responsible for the Alberta Forest Service, currently the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, to provide funds to sponsor noteworthy speakers. This initiative significantly enriches the Renewable Resources Program in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta. 

Speakers in the series visit for periods of up to a week, with the visit highlighted by a major public address. Visitors come from North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Their talks deal with a wide range of topics such as forest ecology, forest science, silviculture, wildlife management, forest management, ecosystem management, lumber and paper sales, labor, international trade, forest economics and forestry-related social issues. Speakers are scientists, industry and business leaders, senior government officials, academics and forestry alumni.

Department of Renewable Resources

Renewable Resources offers excellence in the discovery, dissemination, and application of knowledge about natural and managed ecosystems. We are a diverse group of academics united by a passion for wise management of natural resources based on understanding the integration of landscape elements and the biota with which we share the planet. Never has the need for our sort of science been more crucial, and we delight in the meaningful contributions of our students and staff to understanding interacting ecological systems ranging in scale from soil pedons to watersheds. 

Visit the Department of Renewable Resources webpage for more information.


Support for the series comes from a broad range of sponsors, which includes the provincial and federal government, industry associations, research institutions, consultants, and forest industry related companies.   

See a list of our sponsors