With 85 billion trees on 71 million hectares comprising more than 66% of Ontario’s landscape, the forestry sector is a $12.9 billion engine.

The value of our Ontario forests, however, extends far beyond their monetary worth. They are a meaningful source of social recreation and employment in the province. They play a critical role in sustaining fragile environmental ecosystems, protecting wildlife habitat and filtering pollutants. They also contribute economically – providing revenue and export markets through products such as pulp and paper, sawmill, engineered wood, and furniture.

But Ontario’s forests are vulnerable. Climate change and the resultant extreme temperatures are damaging delicate flora. Native and alien insects and pests – such as spruce budworm, emerald ash borer and Asian Long-horned beetle – increasingly pose health risks.

To sustain the longevity of these precious forests (of which 81% are on public Crown land) the government is working to ensure the long-term health of our woodlands. Ontario’s federal, provincial, and academic researchers work closely with industry and other government groups to mitigate risks, capitalize on opportunities, and keep forests healthy and productive.

Within the forestry sector, genomics helps to:

  • Increase the productivity of forests using marker-aided selection in tree-breeding programs to increase yield and improve wood quality and pest resistance traits
  • Ensure healthy forests by identifying, managing and mitigating the risk posed by pathogens, native pests, and invasive species
  • Resolve trade issues by rapidly identifying pathogens or pests in Canadian (and foreign) wood products that may threaten cross-border or interprovincial trade
  • Maximize forest regeneration and sustainability by informing tree planting based on knowledge of how trees are adapting to climate change

At Ontario Genomics, we aim to understand both the challenges and opportunities in the forestry sector. We will work with you to help find innovative solutions to address these needs.  Learn more about how Ontario Genomics can help your business.

Contact Britney Hess, Manager, Sector Innovation & Programs