Sustainable agriculture and forest production

Prosperity of forestry and agriculture depends on sustainable production

Forestry and agriculture, two major contributors to Alberta’s economy, need to balance productivity with long-term stewardship of natural resources. Prosperity in these sectors depends on expanding the value chain, as well as rural development.

In order to adapt to economic challenges, the agriculture and forestry industries must reinvigorate themselves through embracing new technologies, products and services.

To expand sustainable production, Alberta Innovates has two main priorities:

  1. Market-Driven Traits and Products: Research investments focus on increasing the global competitiveness of Alberta’s agriculture and forest sectors through: reduced cost of production, value addition (e.g. traits and attributes) and the development of new products (e.g. water and nutrient use efficiency, high value products).
  2. Agriculture and Forest Sustainability: We answer research questions to optimize the responsible use of Alberta’s agricultural and forested landscapes, addressing Alberta’s economic, social and ecological goals (e.g. control of mountain pine beetle).

Projects and Programs

Projects
For a listing of Alberta Innovates research projects focused on sustainable production (formerly Value Chain Sustainability), view the summary excel spreadsheets here or visit our BioLINK research project database for specific projects.

Halting the invasion of the mountain pine beetle
We’re funding research by Janice Cooke, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta and an expert in the mountain pine beetle. Climate change has allowed this destructive little pest to flourish and spread.

In 2011, Cooke and co-researchers discovered the beetle had jumped species, from the lodgepole pine in B.C. to stands of jack pine in Alberta. Cooke is using genomics to better understand the beetle and its host trees. With AI Bio’s support, she is working to uncover new knowledge and develop tools to prevent the beetle from spreading further eastward and posing a serious threat to Canada’s boreal forest coast to coast. Read Attack of the pine beetle.

Better barley for farmers
Watch this video to find out how a project co-funded by AI is helping farmers. Researchers at the Field Crop Development Centre in Lacombe, Alberta are evaluating numerous barley varieties from around the world to identify those that use nitrogen most efficiently. Increasing nitrogen use efficiency will boost yields and lower fertilizer costs – benefiting both producers and the environment.

New corn research facility in Lethbridge
DuPont Pioneer’s research facility in Lethbridge, supported by AI and Alberta Crop Industry Fund, is working on new corn hybrids that can grow in areas where the growing season is short and the climate is cool. Grain corn can be a valuable addition to Alberta’s livestock feed options.

Programs

Livestock Gentec, an Alberta Innovates Centre
Supported by investments from Alberta Innovates and Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Dr. Graham Plastow leads researchers at this Alberta Innovates’ Centre in developing a greater understanding of animal genomes to help improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the livestock sector.

Watch Getting in the kNOw in GeNOmics!, a video to get livestock producers interested in applying genomics to agriculture.