AND MAKING AN IMPACT
Genomics is providing new insights
and tools in the battle to keep our
forest resources healthy.
GROW our industries
Forest products in BC account for $16.9 billion in annual exports, and the scope of the forest industry - timber, forest management, pulp and paper and industrial products - plays a huge role in the livelihood of many BC communities. Over 53,000 jobs in more than 100 communities can be directly attributed to forest activity. Genomics is providing new insights and tools in the battle to keep our forest resources healthy.
Forest sector challenges, genomic solutions.
Read our national sector strategy developed in consultation with forestry sector stakeholders. (PDF)
Powering BC'S Forestry Sector
Read our BC sector strategy developed in consultation with forestry sector stakeholders. (PDF)
Mapping BC'S Forestry Sector
Read our asset map for BC's forestry sector. (PDF)
Learn about the value of applying genomic selection vs traditional breeding
Read the Financial Model for: Western Redcedar and Coastal Douglas prepared by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Tree Improvement Branch and Genome BC. (PDF)
"Using genomics-based applications to facilitate the detection of endemic and invasive forest pests has enormous promise. The BC Ministry of Forests, lands and natural Resource Operations is a partner in the development of diagnostic tools to target unique genes, which will aid in the rapid identification of forest fungi and insect pests. The diagnostic tools being developed can also facilitate the forest and nursery industries with product and plant certification, offering Canada’s corporations a competitive edge in international forestry markets."
Harry H. Kope
Provincial Forest Pathologist
FIGHTING BACK AND MAKING AN IMPACT
Invasive species pose a significant threat to Canadian forests, tree farms and nurseries. The evidence is all around us - blighted leaves, spotted needles, bare branches, cankered stems - all proof that an increasing number of both young and mature trees are succumbing to invasive pests.
Paramount in efficiently preventing and managing disease is the identification of infectious agents and their origin. Dr. Richard Hamelin from Natural Resources Canada and the University of British Columbia, has developed genomic tools that allow for the identification of pathogens in what appear to be healthy plants and trees. Traditional techniques used to isolate and identify pathogens take weeks to perform, precious time that forest professionals just don’t have when dangerous pathogens like sudden oak death are detected in a foreign shipment.
And, by looking only for known pathogens, unknown ones can slip through. Hamelin’s project, Genomics Based Forest Health Diagnostics and Monitoring, is providing tools to detect known and novel pathogens in real time, preventing an imported, infectious sapling from finding its way into a Canadian nursery or forest.
The project is already making waves in the forest sector and is expected to generate significant economic benefits through the reduction of losses to forest diseases. Within the first year, the project ran approximately 10,000 tests on samples for several end-users, including the BC Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFL), the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources, and the cities of Victoria and West Vancouver. These tests detect and map pathogens, and provide risk assessments. Based on the results generated by this project, the MFL is considering how the exotic poplar canker pathogen could be eradicated to protect planted and natural poplars on the West Coast.
Genome BC recognizes the need to remain engaged with stakeholders in the forestry sector and will continue discussions to understand challenges facing the sector. Identifying promising opportunities to help access new markets or develop new products is just one way in which Genome BC will continue to catalyze collaborations and innovation.
We are actively looking to engage new partners in this work. To get involved and explore how the forestry sector can further leverage the transformative power of genomics and related disciplines to its advantage, contact:
Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Sectors