Outrage Over US Secret Approval of Genetically Engineered Trees –

GMTrees“The International Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Dogwood Alliance & Biofuelwatch Groups Condemn US for Bowing to Industry, Ignoring Widespread Public Opposition New York (29 Jan. 2015) ­– Groups from around the world [1] today joined together to denounce the US government for allowing the first genetically engineered tree, a loblolly pine, to be legalized with no government or public oversight, with no assessment of their risks to the public or the environment, and without regard to overwhelming public opposition to GE trees.

Loblolly Pine Distribution

Loblolly Pine Distribution

“A secret letter from the USDA to GE tree company ArborGen [2], dated last August, was recently exposed by scientist Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Center for Food Safety [3]. In this letter, the USDA made the unprecedented decision to allow ArborGen to pursue unregulated commercial cultivation of a loblolly pine genetically engineered for altered wood composition. These trees could be planted anywhere in the US, without public knowledge or access to information about them” (Source: stopgetrees.org).

GR:  As pointed out in the article, pollen from these trees will spread, and we do not understand forest ecology well enough to predict the consequences.

The ArborGen website leads with this statement: “What makes a valuable tree?  Superior growth, maximum value.” Nothing of forest ecology is mentioned. ArborGen continues “… is a leading global provider of conventional and next generation plantation tree seedling products for the forestry industry. With a long history of research and development, our advanced genetic technologies develop trees that offer forest landowners outstanding silvicultural performance and financial return. With these advanced genetics, ArborGen helps landowners ensure the maximum productivity of their forests – providing outstanding growth and yield to address the world’s growing need for wood, fiber and fuel.”

What can we do to get the USDA and other land management and conservation agencies to stop pandering to industry and ask themselves what they can do to stop the loss of our wildlife?