UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Forest genomics research and development in Canada : priorities for developing an economic framework Porth, Ilga; Boyland, Mark; Ahmed, Suborna; El-Kassaby, Yousry A.; Bull, Gary

Abstract

Forest genomics is a relatively recent research field, and is often poorly understood both by the public and forest managers. Genomics in forestry, an expansion of forest biotechnology, seeks to develop generalized technologies for use in industrial plantations and/or natural forests as well as within process optimization, product development and international trade facilitation. With such tools it is possible to address formerly intractable issues, such as understanding the underpinnings of complex traits for conservation management purposes, improved use of forest trees as carbon sinks, feedstock for biofuels and “green chemistry” through deeper understanding and effective utilization of forests’ natural variation. Diverse end-users could benefit from genomics tools, for example, real-time detection and mapping of known and novel pathogens along with risk assessments to protect forest nurseries and natural forests from invasive pathogens and reduce economic losses associated with diseases. Since 2001, there has been approximately $123 million investment in Canadian forest genomics research and we thought it would be helpful to summarize the various projects in Canada and the USA and identify the research priorities and potential economic implications, by (a) developing a robust typology of forest sector genomics research relevant to Canadian application, (b) categorizing each initiative for its application potential (commercial; non-commercial), and (c) demonstrating with silvicultural gain, insect resistance, and wood composition themes the application of modeling and economic analysis.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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