GE3LS stands for the Ethical, Economic, Environmental, Legal, and Social aspects of Genomics.
The GE3LS group is planning a series of public participation events and developing future forest scenarios to investigate the acceptability of genomics technology among public and stakeholder groups, with the final goal of having participants provide recommendations to government about genomics research and its applications in forestry.
Forest genomics research could provide Canadians with the information and tools necessary to meet the challenges of climate change. But do Canadians want genomically-selected trees in their forests? We are planning a series of events to investigate how acceptable forest genomics research is to stakeholders and the public:
- Stakeholder Interviews - Identify key issues and gauge awareness and understanding of genomics research among stakeholders.
- Focus Groups - Discuss forest genomics research and issues raised in the stakeholder interviews. These focus groups will include specific interest groups and the general public.
- Multi-Stakeholder Consensus Process - Bring together a wide range of stakeholders for informed discussion aided by the use of future forest scenarios to generate recommendations on the extent to which genomic techniques should be used in BC.
We are developing alternative forest management scenarios for use throughout the public participation processes and to aid in future forest management and policy development. The scenarios are built using models to evaluate management alternatives at different points in time under varying degrees of climate change, insect damage, timber supplies, and accompanying socio-economic impacts on communities, with and without the use of genomics and biotechnology.
- Risk Maps - As regional climates begin to shift the potential impacts on species migration, forest productivity, long-term ecosystem health and the economic viability of the forest industry need to be evaluated. We plan to use climate change projections to produce maps (for the years 2005, 2050, and 2100) indicating the extent of climatic regions supporting spruce growth and the suitable climate regimes for weevil infestations to identify areas at risk for weevil outbreaks.
- Socio-Economic Impacts - The socio-economic impacts of spruce weevil infestations are quantified by combining the risk of potential weevil spread with economic conditions (such as global competition) using a model that is being developed in cooperation with the BC Forum on forest economics and policy. This model applies optimization algorithms to decisions on policy and industrial capacity strategies. Model outputs include spatially differentiated data on production levels, input requirements, and associated economic activities for the forest products industry.
- Future Forest Scenarios - We are developing feasible management scenarios with input from stakeholders to mitigate risk and maintain economic production. Alternative scenarios will be simulated within scientifically credible models to evaluate ecological and economic outcomes of management alternatives at different points in time under varying degrees of climate change and international competition in wood product markets. Summarized results will be used to inform decisions on future investment in forest management and genetic development.