Balsam Fir Research

With the help of SNCIRE, UNBC and University of Laval researchers and a Northwest BC corporate partner are applying for funding to discuss partnering and collaboration to assess potential high value commercial properties of western balsam fir comparable to uses of eastern balsam fir.

Components of Eastern balsam fir (Abies balsamea) essential oils and resin are utilized in high value marketable products including natural health products, caulking, incense, dentistry products, glues, candles, as cement for microscopes and slides, and as a fixative in soaps and perfumes. Additionally,anecdotal evidence suggests that research is underway assessing whether Abies balsamea resin could replace Bisphenol A (BPA), a substance used extensively in plastics with potentially harmful health effects.

In comparison, Western balsam firs, which are prevalent in northwest BC, are manufactured into commodity and relatively low grade wood products such as plywood, concrete forms, decking, rough construction lumber, and pulp and paper products. Identifying higher value uses for western balsam fir components could significantly increase the value of typical forest stands in the Skeena-Nass area of northwest BC and drive new commercial ventures.
Comparing the properties of Eastern and Western balsam fir essential oils and resin would ascertain similarities between them. By assessing which components of Eastern balsam fir are required for specific higher value products, and by comparing those needs with the properties identified in Western balsam firs(resin and essential oils), potential marketable properties of the western Abies species may be identified.


  • Potentially identify higher value marketable components of Western balsam firs, thereby increasing the value of Western balsam fir stands in northwest BC
  • Develop university/corporate partnerships
  • Identify and develop prospective commercial ventures due to Western balsam fir properties