Tell the USDA to Reject GMO Eucalyptus Trees
19 Apr, 2013
Tree biotechnology company ArborGen is requesting an unprecedented USDA approval: “freeze tolerant” GMO Eucalyptus Trees to be grown in seven southeastern states, and possibly the Pacific Northwest. If approved, this will be the first GE forest tree to be commercially grown in the U.S. Paper and biofuel companies are planning on growing these trees on intensively managed monoculture tree plantations.
The problem with economically-motivated proposals like this is that they have no consideration or understanding of the natural systems at work in the world. If we upset nature’s balance, there will be consequences that were not taken into account in the short-term rush for profit.
Eucalyptus trees are not native to North America, are harmful to native wildlife, and they’ve already become invasive in California. Industry plans to plant millions of these GE eucalyptus in ecosystems and climates that have never supported eucalyptus in the past. Fragile ecosystems and a host of endangered plant and animal species could be threatened by such large scale GE eucalyptus plantations.
Instead of focusing on unproven biotechnologies that will benefit a few large corporations, our goal should be the sustainable management of our nation’s forests for the benefit of all. For an example of sustainable technology in forestry see http://remineralize.org/blog/latest-news/remineralize-the-earth-pdf-presentation.