Industry can see forest for trees

Posted by Rumin Mann
February 4th, 2011

The forest products industry has got a vision.

It sees a wide range of bioproducts that can be made from humble wood fibre. The bio-revolution will create a $200-billion market by 2015 for the new bio-products the industry is starting to develop, but it must go faster to maximize value and win its fair share, Avrim Lazar, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, said yesterday.

The new products must be added to the industry’s existing structure to broaden its base, ensure a profitable future and maintain direct and indirect jobs at 600,000, he said in address to the 2010 Paper Week technical convention in Montreal.

Some new products are already developed and heading for commercialization, but others will take five years or more to hit the market, he said. The big deep-pocket players will be prominent, but the small sawmill operator will have his share -he has the fibre resource that will be in strong demand.

Lazar based his predictions on a “Bio-pathways” study backed by the CPAC, FPInnovations, the Montreal-based not-for-profit research group, Natural Resources Canada and the industry. It concludes forest biomass can be converted to bio-energy, biochemicals and bio-material.

This vision, part of a technology-driven bio-age, looks beyond present forest management, sustainability and environmental standards.

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