‘Bio’ markets need tapping

Posted by Rumin Mann
February 4th, 2011

Canada should help its forest industry diversify into new products such as bio-plastics and pharmaceuticals, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Tapping new “bio” markets could bring billions of dollars in revenue to an industry that has struggled in recent years with weak demand for lumber, paper and pulp, the study by the Forest Products Association of Canada said.

The report, presented at an industry conference in Montreal, said there is a range of new products that could be produced from trees without hurting the production of traditional products.

“Adding the production of those things to the existing industry makes sense from an economic perspective because for every tree we are extracting more value,” said Avrim Lazar, the association’s president.

Among potential products cited in the report are lignin, a fibre that can be used to make automobile tires, bio oils, and pharmaceuticals such as paclitaxel, an anti-tumour agent made from the bark of yew trees.

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