Unit 3 - Types of Forest Research


Lesson 8: Forest Products/Biotechnology

Forest Products

When we think of forest products, we tend to consider lumber, newsprint, and wood pulp. These traditional forest products continue to play a pivotal role in Canada's forest industry. However, much research is currently underway to develop brand new products using wood fibre.

For example, "bioactive paper" is able to sense the presence of toxins, pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms), and other substances.

A scientist is shown researching bioactive paper. Imagine a future with paper towels that indicate contamination, or strips of paper that remove pathogens from water, or medical masks that actively remove viruses. 

 

Image Source: Pixabay


Biotechnology

 Simply put, biotechnology is the use of living organisms to create products or perform some task for human beings.

Biotechnology is used in many fields such as medicine, agriculture, and industry.

Click here to read about how tree DNA implicated a Washington state sawmill operator who had been suspected of buying logs illegally harvested from Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Read through the summary below to see how biotechnology is being used in Canada to fight tree theft.

 

Image Source: Pixabay


Summary

DNA analysis may soon be used to trap tree thieves. In British Columbia, up to $20 million is lost annually when timber is taken illegally from Crown land, private land, and ecological reserves. Catching these unauthorized loggers red-handed as they harvest old-growth timber would be ideal, but not very likely, considering the millions of hectares of forested land in the province. Until now, the only way to match a stolen log with its stump - and secure a conviction - was to compare the shape and number of tree rings on both. The work of a Natural Resources Canada scientist to harness tree DNA will make this matching easier and cheaper.

Source: Science.gc.ca


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