Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry: Economic Perspectives
Economists are rarely brought into the interdisciplinary research until the biophysical scientists have developed their models, made their measurements or completed their research task. The research economist is then brought in to do what amounts to a consulting task – provide some numbers that indicate impacts on the economy and employment. In this paper, I begin by illustrating cases from forestry where this leads to erroneous and costly policy outcomes. However, the main objective of this paper is to examine the role of genetic engineering in forestry and agriculture. In forestry, planting of genetically-modified (GM) tree species is nearly non-existent, with the exception of hybrid poplar that is used to produce pulp or fuel. However, as explored here, there is a role for GM tree varieties, particularly ones that are resistant to such things as the mountain pine beetle which has adversely impacted forests in British Columbia. I also examine the role of GM crops in addressing concerns about future food scarcity. As discussed here, there are various factors that suggest the world might encounter future scarcity. These include on the demand side a growing and wealthier global population, and greater demand for energy crops. On the supply side, there are fewer opportunities to expand farmland at the extensive margin, a decline in the rate of increase in productivity, limits to the amounts of inputs that can be applied at the intensive margin, and the closing of the gap between actual and potential crop yield. GM crops are one way to circumvent the potential shortages. However, there are many obstacles that need to be overcome before farmers globally can take advantage of transgenic research, including most importantly barriers put up by the European Union and various environmental NGOs on the grounds of the precautionary principle. These are discussed in some detail.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (250) 721-8532
Fax: (250) 721-6214
Web page: http://web.uvic.ca/~repa/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Henk Folmer & G. Cornelis van Kooten, 2006. "Deforestation," Working Papers 2006-06, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rep:wpaper:2011-05. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (G.C. van Kooten)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.