Agenda 2020 and Forest Biotechnology

Background 

Continuous development and enhancement of technology is critical to maintaining industry’s competitiveness. For example, emergence of genomics and molecular biology offers many potential benefits to society and to industry such as restoration of Heritage Trees (e.g., American chestnut), bioremediation of chemically contaminated soils, filtration of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, tolerance to pests or contaminants, control of invasive species, biomass production for direct combustion and chemical substitutes for petrochemicals, and accelerated tree growth with improved form, adaptability and wood properties. Thus, NCASI is actively engaged in supporting development of appropriate forest biotechnology tools.

Likewise, there is a need for NCASI staff to work with AF&PA and the USDA Forest Service to expand and manage the Sustainable Forest Productivity component of the Agenda 2020 program, to ensure that the program is addressing priority industry information needs, and to help administer and communicate results from the program.

Agenda 2020 is a cooperative research program established by AF&PA and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Industrial Technology to expand and direct research toward improving productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness of the US forest products industry. Research focus areas for the Sustainable Forest Productivity component of Agenda 2020, which is administered through the USDA Forest Service, are (1) Biotechnology and Tree Improvement, (2) Wood Quality, (3) Silviculture, and (4) Ecological Functions and Services of Managed Forests.

Goal

Develop research that leads to development and deployment of wood production systems that are ecologically sustainable, socially acceptable, and economically viable.

Examples of Recent or Ongoing Tasks 

  • Management of Sustainable Forestry Projects Supported through Agenda 2020 – NCASI is providing technical support to the AF&PA Forest Science and Technology Committee. Examples of staff activities include (a) coordinate the regional Agenda 2020 forestry programs with the Forest Service; (b) provide technical support to Southern Industrial Forest Research Council, (c) participate in the Secretary of Agriculture’s Forestry Research Advisory Committee; (d) serve as chairman of the Institute of Forest Biotechnology; and (e) serve as co-chair of the Agenda 2020 Sustainable Forestry Task Group for the AF&PA Chief Technology Officers.

More details about these and other tasks can be found elsewhere on the NCASI website. For more information about the NCASI Sustainable Forestry and Eastern Wildlife Program, contact Dr. Ben Wigley at bwigley@ncasi.org.