[P]redicting and guaranteeing sources of feedstock is complicated by natural and environmental factors, such as the current mountain pine beetle epidemic which has devastated more than 14 million hectares of pine forests, crossed BC’s Rocky Mountain barrier into Alberta, and is now poised to threaten Canada’s vast boreal forest.
Dr. Joerg Bohlmann (UBC) is co-leading this project along with Dr. Janice Cooke (U of Alberta). “We are currently faced with millions of hectares of dead trees, and have a surplus of potential bioenergy feedstock, but this does not guarantee a supply for the future. The question is: what are we going replant with?” says Bohlmann.
The $7.8 million dollar research project spans universities and scientific institutions across BC and Alberta, and will create tools for the prediction of available sources of feedstock so that investments in bioenergy are made in the right place and at the right time….
The research project titled, Genomics-Enhanced Forecasting Tools to Secure Canada’s Near-Term Lignocellulosic Feedstock Supply for Bioenergy using the Mountain Pine Beetle System, will study the current mountain pine beetle epidemic in search of genomics information on pine trees, bark beetles, and associated fungal pathogens: all biological components of an overall disease system that has had devastating effects on feedstock quality and supply.