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October 28, 2017 2:16 am

Forestry Innovation Focus of UNBC Conference

Thursday, October 1, 2015 @ 3:50 PM

Prince George, B.C. – Innovation in the forest industry is the focus of a conference at the University of Northern British Columbia this week.

It includes the participation of researchers, industry, and government leaders.

University of Toronto Dean of Forestry Dr. Mohini Sain delivers this morning's keynote speech- photo 250 News

University of Toronto Dean of Forestry Dr. Mohini Sain delivers this morning’s keynote speech- photo 250 News

“The goal is to get the conversations going between industry and research and government to some extent about where can we take forest research to the benefit of our communities,” said Dr. Kathy Lewis, chair of the UNBC Ecosystem Science and Management Program.

She added Canada needs to play catch up in order to avoid falling further behind other countries when it comes to technological advances, for instance the Chinese.

“Absolutely. They are very good at technology as we know and we have the the capacity and the capability but maybe we just haven’t had the same focus,” said Lewis.

“We really have to broaden our economic base and so if there’s entrepreneurs out there who see an opportunity to develop a new product line, that what it’s going to take.”


The CEO’s introduction to a 28 page Australian Forest Products Association proposal to create a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation starts off as follows:

“I have on my desk a water bottle, which looks and feels like clear plastic. It is in fact made from a tree. From nano crystalline cellulose to be exact. Scientists and chemists in Canada discovered you could make water bottles from wood some years back. They are also deploying unmanned aerial drones which zoom through the forest counting trees and directing the harvest.”

The body of the report sites examples of best forest products R&D practices from overseas. The first one is FPInnovations from Canada – 600 employees funded to C$97 million.

Scion from New Zealand employs 300 people and is funded to NZ$43.7million.

The USA is also lamenting about the reduction in funding for Forest Products Research. In their report from 2014, they cite Finland, Confederation of European Paper Industries and Canada’s FPInnovations as models to follow.

In fact, as stated in the US report, FPInnovations is one of the world’s largest private, nonprofit centers for forest research.

I am wondering why this article did not start off with a more positive mindset about the accomplishments we have made, and then move to building on that to do even better.

Another love affair with China but nothing that shows any detail.

I find it interesting that no one has posted on this topic. Perhaps an indicator of the reduced importance of forestry in the PG region.

Our problem is we are so blessed with space, wood, and wealth that we don’t NEED to innovate. A couple of things that I would like to see are:

1. Immediate cessation of Vision spraying that reduces animal feed and biodiversity.

2. Fully deactivating all block roads and all roads once harvesting is complete to increase productivity.

The good news is that the coming supply crunch will force some innovation.

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