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Protecting Canada’s forests from pests

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Protecting Canada’s forests from pests

Invasive alien species cause irreversible damage to the environment and cost the Canadian economy hundreds of millions of dollars, affecting agriculture, trade and forestry. Canada ’s forest industry supported 211,075 direct jobs and 95,000 indirect jobs, accounted for 7% of total exports ($34.4 billion) and injected roughly $23 billion into the economy in 2016. A joint Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)- University of British Columbia project, funded by Genome Canada, developed and deployed portable genome-based biosurveillance tools for the Asian gypsy moth and Phytophthora ramorum.

Not only will these field detection tools decrease the need for inspection, surveillance and treatment in our forests, but they will also help maintain Canada ’s trusted pest-free status and reputation as a safe trading partner. This will ensure continued market access for our forest and nursery exports. CFIA is currently implementing the tools into its standard operation protocols, with estimated savings of $374-625 million over three to five years. Other regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have recently adopted the tools.

The recent announcement of a $3.16 billion investment to plant two billion trees over 10 years, as part of Canada ’s strengthened Climate Plan, reinforces the critical role of resilient and healthy forests in the path to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In partnership with Genome BC & Génome Québec