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Using biopesticides to protect forests in New Brunswick and beyond
Protecting millions of trees from the devastating impacts of forest pests while meeting strict environmental standards poses significant challenges, but an innovative New Brunswick company is up to the task.
With AIF support, Forest Protection Limited (FPL) is developing new “green” pesticides and creating more eco-friendly and efficient aerial spray technologies to deliver them.
The company uses naturally-occurring viruses to infect and kill selective insects, combating forest pests safely, economically, and without chemicals. The baculoviruses are environmentally “friendly” in that they target specific pest species while being harmless to humans, animals and other insects.
These baculoviruses are stored in a storage bank for future sale and use by the forestry sector – enabling a quick response to future outbreaks in New Brunswick, Canada and beyond. A new company called Sylvar Technologies Inc. has been created by FPL and BioAtlantech to manage this virus storage bank and to produce and market commercial volumes of certain viruses as needed; a product for the control of Balsam Fir Sawfly is already available; and a product targeting the gypsy moth is currently in development. FPL has also made significant strides in developing a more efficient and cost-effective delivery system.
Conducting research on ways to improve current spray technologies, which are prone to off target drift led FPL to collaborate with the University of New Brunswick, the Canadian Forest Service and AG-NAV, an Ontario manufacturer of control systems for spray aircraft. To gather more accurate spray drift information under actual flight conditions, part of the project involved making enhancements to the H.J. Irving – J.J.C. Picot Wind Tunnel. Located in the Acadia Research Forest near Fredericton, this research wind tunnel is now considered to be among the best in the world.
The research resulted in the development of a unique Aerial Spray Management System which links spray optimization and aircraft guidance software.
Innovating new commercially-viable biopesticides, solidifying its global reputation as a leader in aerial application technology and protecting our Canadian forests, one of the pillars of our economy – the new decade looks poised for growth for this dynamic New Brunswick company.
With AIF funding, Forest Protection Limited has created meaningful partnerships and has contributed to the development of biotechnology, an emerging strategic sector in Atlantic Canada.
Project: Biopesticides and aerial spray technologies for the forest industry
Proponent: Forest Protection Limited (FPL)
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
AIF funding: $3 million – Round IV
Total project value: $7.8 million
Related website: www.forestprotectionlimited.com
Click here to view a video conversation with Dave Davies, Managing Director of Forest Protection Limited and Dr. Renée Lapointe, Director of Research of Sylvar Technologies Inc.
Return to the Innovation at Work page
Published in 2010