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Knowledge for a Regional Bio-Products Economy

SNCIRE aims to identify commercially promising bio-products for current and emerging markets in three steps:

The results of the project will be used to promote and enable economic development that makes sense for Northwest BC communities. This project will use knowledge-building to turn the region’s perceived weaknesses of decadent forests and no wood processing facilities into its comparative strengths - forests containing a mix of fibre quality suitable for a range of bio-products. The region is well positioned to host new facilities that are optimized for the new market reality.

In the short term, communities of Northwest BC will gain access to knowledge about the bio-product potential of the region’s resources, as well as a valuable tool to predict the costs of extracting these resources. The knowledge and tools can be used to attract investments and serve as a base for further knowledge building.  The communities should expect greater interest from potential investors in emerging industries. The conventional forest industry should also be more interested due to improved economic viability from multiple products and markets.

The long term impact for communities will be a significant contribution to a new, sustainable, and natural resource-based economy that will have the resilience to last through future booms and busts in commodity markets.Greater diversity and higher returns from niche markets should improve economic viability and provide greater resilience in comparison to the previous commodity-only forest industry.

Rationale
The economy of Northwest British Columbia has endured booms and busts due to its reliance on commodity markets for forest products and minerals. The latest bust started over a decade ago and lasted so long that most of the region’s timber processing facilities have closed and been dismantled. The region is starting to see a new boom in the mineral and energy sectors but benefits could be short-term and not well distributed as many jobs will be filled by transient workers. Emerging markets for a range of new forest products create an opportunity to re-establish a bio-products economy that produces a range of products for different markets.