Area: Economic impact study
Region: Canada
Year: 2016
Client: NRC, Génome Québec, Université Laval

Forest Genomics: Economic Impact Study

Fundamental research brings its own set of questions and challenges. In recent decades, researchers have developed innovative solutions based on new findings relating in particular to plant genetics. To ensure that research money is invested as effectively as possible, it is important to understand the anticipated benefits of these solutions. With this in mind, Natural Resources Canada (NRC), Génome Québec and Laval University asked Groupe DDM to assess the current and potential economic impacts of forest genomics in Canada. 

Groupe DDM’s task was to produce a fact sheet presenting the national impacts of forest genomics research. The task was an ambitious one, given the scope of the potential impacts, the time-based aspect (short, medium and longer term) and the sometimes hypothetical nature of scientific progress. Researchers and other experts with many years of experience of forest genomics had very little information on the economic value associated with their discoveries. 

After constructing a rigorous analysis framework and performing an extensive literature review to identify available data and existing economic assessments, Groupe DDM met with several forest genomics experts. The purpose of these meetings was to see what these experts thought of the potential impacts and verify their understanding of some more specific issues. After analysis, the benefits associated with forest genomics were valued at between $1.2 and $2.5 billion per year, or between 6% and 12% of the Canadian forestry industry’s GDP. Given the extent of the positive impacts, and their recurrent nature, the report concluded that Canada should continue and even accelerate its investments in forest genomics research.