June 26, 2015: J.D. Irving Limited’s (JDI) partnership with Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Forest Service has led to the commercial development of advanced tree breeding, field testing and seedling production techniques.
Maritime Innovation, JDI's new lab in Sussex, New Brunswick was designed to use advanced seedling production technologies based on selection from our native tree population for a range of high value traits such as fast growth rate, high wood quality, resistance to insects and disease and broad adaptation to climate change. A propagation method called Somatic Embryogenesis is used to produce large numbers of seedling from a broad range of genetically diverse trees which have been field tested across the region. Another aspect of the lab’s research involves fungi which live inside the needles and leaves of trees across our region which are called endophytes. A range of these fungi have been selected because they produce compounds which improve their host tree’s tolerance to insect and disease attack. Methods have been developed to inoculate small seedlings in the nursery with these special fungi which stay with the tree throughout its life.
Investing in this technology will sustain diverse forests, contribute to a sustainable wood supply for the forest industry and improve tree tolerance to various insect and fungal pests leading to a reduction in pesticide usage.
"Our project will be the first large-scale seedling facility in Canada that incorporates both the somatic embryogenesis process of naturally occurring superior trees from various locations across Atlantic Canada, as well as JDI’sIrving’s patented Endophyte-Enhanced Seedling Technology," said Greg Adams, Manager Research & Development JDI Woodlands and Manager of Maritime Innovation. "This research is very critical in developing resilient forests in changing environmental conditions.
Overall, this project will support higher-value Canadian-planted trees and faster regeneration of Canada’s managed forests — great benefits for jobs and growth in Canada’s forest industry.