SMarTForest: Spruce Marker Technologies for Sustainable Forestry

Principal Investigator: John MacKay
Theme : Forestry
Competition : Large scale applied research project competition (LSARP)
Status : Completed
Start : July 1, 2011
End: June 30, 2015
Budget : $10,306,959.00

Forestry products contribute approximately $28 billion to Canada’s GDP and spruce trees account for nearly 60% of all the seedlings planted annually. Building on a decade of groundbreaking research on spruce genomics, Genome Canada is funding the development of marker technologies to identify seedlings that have superior growth and wood properties, or superior insect resistance. Genetic marker systems and biomarkers will be developed and applied to Canadian forestry programs. It is estimated that by applying “Marker Aided Selection” (MAS) to just 20% of Canadian spruce plantations, wood yield could increase by 1.5 million cubic meters per year, boosting GDP by $300 million. Using methods such as MAS also allows wood production to be concentrated on a smaller land area, allowing more forest to be set aside for conservation. Over the longer term, these methods will also enhance the competitiveness of the Canadian forestry by boosting yield and enhancing the value of its products. The project will conduct impact analyses of the economic, socio-economic as well as the legal and policy instruments that could affect the use of MAS in provincial jurisdictions and help develop high value jobs in rural communities by diversifying the “bioproduct” pipeline.


Co-project leader:

Jörg Bohlmann University of British Colombia



Jean Beaulieu Natural Resources Canada
Jean Bousquet Université Laval
Gary Bull University of British Columbia
Janice Cooke University of Alberta
Nancy Gélinas Université Laval
Nathalie Isabel Natural Resources Canada
Steven Jones BC Cancer Agency
Kermit Ritland University of British Columbia
Armand Séguin Natural Resources Canada
Alvin Yanchuk British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range