Forest Genetics Council of British Columbia – Protecting Forest Health for Future Generations
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Forest Genetics Council of British Columbia – Protecting Forest Health for Future Generations

The Forest Genetics Council is a multi-stakeholder
advisory body appointed by the
Chief Forester, with representatives
from government, industry and universities. The Goals of the
Forest Genetics Council are to increase the value
of our forests, to improve their resilience to climate change and insects and disease and to conserve the rich genetic diversity of our native tree species. JACK WOODS:
SelectSeed was set up originally by the
Forest Genetics Council because we saw a need
for more seed production. We have a mandate to go out and put in place
seed orchards– that seed is then sold to the stakeholders. We generate cash and we run our operations and it also allows us to provide for
management services back to the Forest
Genetics Council. BRIAN:
So today, there are over
100 seed orchards producing seed for specific
areas of the province. Seed from these seed orchards has a genetic improvement of about 18% on average. We will be able to harvest
18% more volume of timber than compared to using seed from wild stands. DR. SALLY AITKEN:
The field of genomics has exploded in
the last decade, and we’re able to use
genomic tools to understand the genetics
of tree species in ways that I never imagined
were possible. BRIAN:
One of the future opportunities, something we’re already
working on, is matching our species and our tree seed sources with the future climate of the planting site. We’ve already begun
by migrating western larch north
of its native range. JACK:
BC’s Forest Genetics Program is really unique in the world because we’re operating on such a large and diverse
public land base. We log quite a bit, but we also plant 250 million
trees a year in this province, and when you’re planting
all those trees, you need to have
a good understanding of the genetics of what’s going back
in the ground. BRIAN:
The reason the Forest
Genetics Council is up for organizational
excellence, I believe, is because the
Forest Genetics Council all have the longterm vision for healthy, sustainable
forests for British Columbia. DR. AITKEN:
I think what I’m most proud about is that we have been able to work on everything from basic discovery research through to addressing very
applied problems. Climate change is
the biggest challenge facing our forests, and I think that the
Forest Genetics Council, the Provincial Genetics
Program, has been extremely proactive in recognizing that we need to act now to address
climate change issues.

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