GM Trees

GM Trees

Postby Oscar » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:05 am

GM Trees - The Current: Part 2:

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2005/200501/20050112.html

GM Trees – Scientist

In September, a team of international scientists did something that would have made headlines just a few years ago. They've mapped out the very first tree genome. And in figuring out the genome of the Black Cottonwood, scientists claim they can improve upon the species. They say they can plant a bigger, faster growing forest, resistant to disease, AND one that can also clean the environment.

Malcolm Campbell is a biology professor at the University of Toronto who studies forest genetics and plant genomes. Last month he and nearly two dozen scientists from the U.S., Sweden and Canada gathered for a Genome Annotation Jamboree to collaborate on some of the implications of mapping this sequence. Professor Campbell was in Toronto.

Critic - Suzuki

Still, there are those who believe genetically modified forests should remain the stuff of pulp fiction and David Suzuki is one of them. He is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster. You may know him as host of the CBC television program 'The Nature of Things'. We reached David Suzuki in Vancouver, where he's also professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia.

GM Tree Factboard

No matter what side of the debate you find yourself on, forestry workers would benefit from stronger, faster growing trees that are also disease resistant. Because when a GM trees falls in the forest, it makes the sound of money.

The Canadian forest industry is the largest industrial employer in the country. More one million people-- in 16-hundred towns across the country--- depend on trees for their livelihood. In 2003, we exported $6.8 billion dollars worth of lumber to the United States alone.

But beyond wood, pulp and paper, fruit growers in Canada would also swing joyously from GM branches. There are about 16,000 fruit growers in Canada, and in 2002, nearly 680,000 tonnes of fresh fruit were produced----worth about $517-million to the farmers alone.

Three provinces produce the majority of fruit in Canada---Ontario, B.C. and Quebec. And the fruit that outgrows all the others is the apple, the Canadian lunchbox staple. The apple's followed by blueberries, grapes, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Listen to The Current: Part 2

(Due to streaming policies, some segments may be altered or not available)
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Postby Oscar » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:11 am

Genetically modified trees pose a potential danger

http://archives.foodsafetynetwork.ca/ag ... htm#story5

March 30, 2005
Daily Herald (Prince Albert)

Elaine Hughes of Archerwill, Sask., writes that in a CBC Radio interview last week, Terry Hildebrandt, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), indicated that his organization wants to have tree plantations up and running in the province this year. Usually, says Hughes, this involves planting millions of genetically modified trees.

In response to the demands of the pulp and paper corporations, scientists are now able to produce trees that are tolerant to broad- spectrum herbicides so more pesticides can be sprayed more freely, trees that grow faster and have less lignin so they will provide fibre more quickly and cheaply for pulp production, trees that produce their own insecticide so as to kill insects that feed on the leaves and trees that are sterile so they won't pollute other species.

But, in her Feb. 28, 2005 essay entitled GM Forest Trees - The Ultimate Threat, Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, geneticist and biophysicist, offers important words of caution: "Genetically modified (GM) forest trees do not attract the same immediate health concerns as GM food crops. But in reality, they pose an even greater threat because they impact directly on natural forests that are essential for the survival of our planet."

How does one get rid of the GM herbicide-tolerant trees which begin to grow and spread into places where they aren't wanted? Fast- growing lignin-reduced trees would rot more readily, be weaker, more susceptible to disease and easily damaged by high winds. Insecticidal GM trees will kill all insects, not just the unwanted ones, until they develop resistance to them (six to seven years); it will then require even more pesticides to kill the new strain of insect. This will also impact on birds and animals that feed on insects, an important part of the food chain. And, how will this affect our health?

Trees grow tall and their pollen is carried long distances by the wind - as nature intended. "Contamination of native trees by GM trees is hence inevitable and unavoidable," Dr. Hon continues.

Why, then, do we want to do this?

Is it another "quick fix" scheme to suit the need of the corporate pulp and paper industry for more raw material?

Is this supposed to compensate for the longstanding failure of governments to demand that the industry plant more trees than it destroys with its "slash and burn" methods?

One thing is certain. Once these GM trees are released, it is too late - there is no way to bring them back into the laboratory.

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Below are some websites on the pros and cons of GM trees:

GM Trees Alert http://www.i-sis.org.uk/GMtrees.php

GM Forest Trees: The Ultimate Threat
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/GMFTTUT.php

Say No to GMOs: http://www.saynotogmos.org/ud2007/uaug07.php
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Moratorium on all GM Trees and Ban on GM Forest Trees

Postby Oscar » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:25 am

Moratorium on all GM Trees and Ban on GM Forest Trees

ISIS Press Release 18/02/07

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Moratorium_on_all_GM_Trees.php

Genetically modified (GM) trees have all the hazards of GM crops only worse, GM forest trees, in particular, are the ultimate threat to people and planet

Prof. Joe Cummins and Dr. Mae-Wan Ho update the ecological and health risks since ISIS' last comprehensive review ( GM Forest Trees - The Ultimate Threat , SiS 26)

A version of this article was submitted on behalf of ISIS to the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity 26 November 2006 in support of a moratorium on the environmental release of GM trees. Please circulate widely.

Genetically modified trees without caution

------------------------------------------

There is growing pressure to commercialise the numerous GM tree species that have been modified with a variety of transgenes. One major reason is that GM trees have been proposed for plantations on the mistaken assumption that they can offset carbon emissions, and more so, qualify for subsidies under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development
Mechanism . At the same time, rising worldwide demand for biofuels has opened up an opportunity for proponents to rescue genetically modified (GM) crops from chronic market failure by promoting them as 'energy' crops (see Box 1).

Unfortunately, energy crops, including GM tree plantations, are far from sustainable or environmentally benign [1-3] (Biofuels for Oil Addicts , SiS 30; Biofuels: Biodevastation, Hunger & False Carbon Credits , Biofuels Republic Brazil, SiS 33). But in the rush to exploit GM trees, caution will be scattered to the winds, like the pollen of the GM trees currently being tested.

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Box 1

Industry's spin on GM energy crops for saving carbon emissions

Biotech industry sponsored International Service for the Acquisition of Agrobiotechnology Applications (ISAAA) continues its yearly inflated estimates of area planted with GM crops [4] ( Global GM Crops Area Exaggerated , SiS 33), and makes unsubstantiated, very likely false claims on how GM crops can contribute to saving greenhouse gas emissions on the coat tails of the Stern report on The Economics of
Climate Change [5] ( SiS 33). To set the record straight, the Stern report does not support GM crops nor does it favour biofuels from energy crops, and for good reasons (see main text).

Nevertheless, the ISAAA says that GM crops save carbon emissions by reducing pesticide use through insecticidal Bt crops and by sequestering carbon in the soil through conservation tillage with herbicide tolerant crops [4]. In 2005, it claims, the combined savings were equivalent to 9
million tonnes of carbon dioxide, or removing 4 million cars from the road. And looking to the future, even greater contributions could be made through cultivation of additional areas of GM energy crops to produce ethanol and biodiesel.

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Commercial releases and field tests

Even though the first GM tree, papaya, was approved for commercial release more than ten years ago there have been only two petitions for non-regulated status, the first for another papaya GM event and the other for virus resistant plums [6, 7] ( USDA Proposes to Deregulate Its Own
Transgenic Plum , SiS 31). However, the United States has undertaken about 264 field test releases of numerous GM trees spread over most of the states and possessions.

Modified species include tropical trees (banana, avocado, grapefruit, lime, papaya and coffee), horticultural fruits (apple, plum, pear and walnut), and numerous forest and shade trees such as eucalyptus, American chestnut, American elm, poplar, cottonwood, aspen, white spruce and pine.

Transgenic traits range from disease or insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, to lignin modifications, sterility, and bioremediation [8].

Canada has undertaken 33 field trial releases of GM trees mainly near Quebec City; and these are limited to insect resistant or herbicide tolerant poplar, black spruce and white spruce [9].

Of the 205 permit applications listed at the end of 2003, 73.5 percent originated in the USA, 23 percent in other OECD member nations (in particular, Belgium, Canada, France, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) and 3.5 percent elsewhere (Brazil, China, Chile, South Africa and Uruguay) [10]. Four traits accounted for 80
percent of the permit applications: herbicide tolerance (32 percent), marker genes (27 percent), insect resistance (12 percent), and lignin modification (9 percent). Of the tree species involved, Populus , Pinus , Liquidambar (Sweet Gum Tree) and Eucalyptus account for 85 percent of applications.

Potential hazards of GM trees

Genetically modified (GM) trees have all the potential hazards of GM crops and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in general (Box 2) [11]( Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare ) , only worse.

Box 2

Potential Hazards of GMOs

1. Synthetic genes and gene products new to evolution could be toxic for humans and other animals or provoke serious immune reactions

2. The uncontrollable, imprecise process involved in making GMOs can generate unintended toxic and immunogenic products, exacerbated by the instability of the transgenic lines

3. Endogenous viruses that cause diseases could be activated by the transgenic process

4, The synthetic genes in GMOs, including copies of genes from bacteria and viruses that cause disease as well as antibiotic resistance genes, may be transferred to other species via pollen, or by direct integration into other genomes in horizontal gene transfer

5. Disease-causing viruses and bacteria are created by horizontal transfer and recombination of the synthetic genes and genetic modification is nothing if not facilitated and greatly enhanced horizontal gene transfer and recombination

6. GM DNA are designed to invade genomes and insertion into the genome of animals including human beings results in insertion mutagenesis some of which may trigger cancer

7. Herbicide tolerant GM crops accumulate herbicide and herbicide residues that could be highly toxic to humans and animals as well as plants

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Trees are larger and longer lived, and therefore can spread transgenes further and wider, while their extensive root systems are a hotbed for horizontal gene transfer and recombination.

Related environmental impact studies show GM tree pollen cannot be contained

ISIS alerted the public to the serious health and environmental impacts of GM trees in forestry [10] ( GM Forest Trees - The Ultimate Threat , SiS 26) and earlier, in bioremediation and low lignin applications [12] ( GM Trees Alert , SiS 16). Numerous field releases were approved in the absence of information on the spread of pollen and seed in forest and orchard ecology. Only recently have models of pollen dispersal from forest trees begun to appear.

Significant amounts of oak pollen were deposited up to 30 km downstream from a stand of oak trees, and lower quantities deposited up to 100 km [13]. It has been claimed that conifer pollen dispersed to between 6 and 800 m from a source; but a more comprehensive study revised this figure upwards to between 8 and 33 km [14, 15].

Eucalyptus pollen is spread by small insects, which can carry pollen to distances of 1.6 km, although most of the hybridisation is found within 200 m of the plantation [16].

It is essentially impossible to contain GM trees; the probability of spreading transgenes from GM conifers is 100 percent at a distance of one km from a source [17]. Pine seeds, too, are transported over great distances, the probability that seeds are transported further than one km
from a source was nearly 100 percent [18]. Canadian regulators, recognizing that transgene containment is not possible for GM forest trees, are now suggesting that regulations should be altered to accommodate the uncontrolled release of GM trees with transgenes for
herbicide tolerance, insect resistance or low lignin content [19]!

The low lignin trait is one much desired by foresters as it provides greatly reduced costs in preparing fibre for paper.

However, reduced lignin results in reduced strength to resist wind damage in the GM trees, and tends to make the trees susceptible to disease [20] ( Low Lignin GM Trees and Forage Crops , SiS 23). A recent field study showed that the trees with reduced lignin decomposed more rapidly in the
soil and that decay was associated with major restructuring of the soil microbial communities, the adverse impacts of which have yet to be fully evaluated [21].

Read the rest of this article here

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Moratorium_on_all_GM_Trees.php
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Open letter to SBSTTA on the issue of GM trees

Postby Oscar » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:29 am

Open letter to SBSTTA on the issue of GM trees

http://www.wrm.org.uy/actors/BDC/SBSTTA ... Trees.html

Biodiversity

Also available in Spanish and French

The undersigned participants of SBSTTA or of meetings leading up to SBSTTA wish to share their concerns about the issue of genetically modified trees within the process of the Convention of Biological Diversity. As you know, the last Conference of the Parties passed Decision VIII/19, which recognized “the uncertainties related to the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts, including long-term and transboundary impacts, of genetically modified trees on global forest biological diversity, as well as on the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities, and given the absence of reliable data and of capacity in some countries to undertake risk assessments and to evaluate those potential impacts”.

Among other things, it recommended Parties “to take a precautionary approach when addressing the issue of genetically modified trees”.

The above recommendation seems to have been basically ignored by a number of countries, where either official research centers or private companies continue carrying out work on genetic modification of trees and are even planning to carry out field trials, such as the current case of the company ArborGen, which is seeking permission for field trials of flowering eucalyptus trees in the US.

Research in genetic modification of trees is currently being carried out –disregarding the COP’s decision- in at least the following countries Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

Given that the COP8 Decision gave SBSTTA the task of assessing “the potential environmental, cultural, and socio-economic impacts of genetically modified trees on the conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity, and to report to the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties”; and given that the rush to produce biofuels is being used to promote the rapid commercial development of genetically modified trees, we appeal to SBSTTA to:

- insist on compliance by all countries with the precautionary principle as agreed upon at COP8
- recommend a ban on GM trees on the basis of their potential impacts on forest biological diversity

Global Justice Ecology Project
World Rainforest Movement
Global Forest Coalition
Sobrevivencia/FOE Paraguay
STOP GE Trees Campaign, North America
NOAH-Friends of the Earth Netherlands
Africa-Europe F & J Network
Friends of the Earth Europe
Friends of the Earth Malaysia
CENSAT-Aguaviva FOE Colombia

(more)
Indigenous Information Network, Kenya
Nordre Folkcenter for Renewable Energy, Denmark
Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia
CELCOR/FOE Papua New Guinea
Pro REGENWALD, Germany
Robin Wood, Germany
Friends of the Earth—England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Consumers Association of Penang, Malaysia
Comision Intereclesiastica de Justicia y Paz, Colombia
Consejo Comunitario de la Cuenca del Currarado
Ole Siosiomaga Society Incorporated (OLSSI) Samoa
Fundación para la Promocion del Conocimiento Indigena, Panama
ICTI-Tanibar, Indonesia
PIPEC, Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition, New Zealand
FERN
International Alliance of the Indigneous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests
Corporate Europe Observatory
Greenpeace International
Ecologica Movement BIOM, Kyrgyzatan
CORE – Centre for Organization Research & Education, Northeast Region India
EQUATIONS
Ecological Society of the Philippines
Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa
Forest Peoples Programme, UK
MST – Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement
Viola, Russia
Ecoropa, Germany
ETC Group
Asociación Indígena Ambiental
Umwelt-und Projehtwerhstatt, Germany
Global Environment Centre, Malaysia
Washington Biotechnology Action Council, U.S.
BUKO Campaign against Biopiracy, Germany
The Gaia Foundation, UK
HATOFF Foundation, Ghana
Tebteba Foundation, Philippines
Nature Tropicale, Benin (West Africa)
Jeunes Volontairs pour l’Environnement, Togo
Biofuelwatch, UK
Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum
NABU – Nature and Conservation Union, Germany
BUND – Friends of the Earth Germany
Indigenous Network on Economics and Trade, Canada
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Call for ban on GM trees

Postby Oscar » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:33 am

Call for ban on GM trees

http://www.checkbiotech.org:80/green_Ne ... foId=15069

July 6, 2007

New Zealand's experiments with GE trees are under international scrutiny as a threat to our trading-reputation as well as the environment.

Over 50 Indigenous Peoples Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations involved in meetings surrounding the Convention on Biological Diversity in Paris, have called for a ban on Genetically Modified trees and warn the current biofuels boom and the rush for so-called second generation biofuels will lead to dangerous experiments with these trees.

In an open letter to delegates at the conference, the groups called for compliance by all countries with the precautionary approach in regard to GM trees, as agreed upon at the CBD's 8th Conference of the Parties last year in Curitiba, Brazil.

New Zealand has already been widely criticised for supporting 'Terminator' technology which has been approved as part of the GE tree experiments here.

"It is vital to New Zealand's Brand image that we are not contaminated by GE trees and instead invest in sustainable forestry projects that can meet ethical and environmental standards," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

Read FULL STORY at:
http://www.checkbiotech.org:80/green_Ne ... foId=15069
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Invasive GE Eucalyptus Threatens Southern Forests & Wate

Postby Oscar » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:38 am

Invasive GE Eucalyptus Threatens Southern Forests & Water

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/02/11-4

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 11, 2010 1:08 PM

CONTACT: Environmental Groups
Dr. Neil Carman, Plant Scientist, Sierra Club +1.512.663.9594
Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project +1.802.578.0477
Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director, Dogwood Alliance +1.828.242.3596
George Kimbrell, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Food Safety +1.571.527.8618


Groups Force USDA to Re-release Draft Environmental Assessment on Genetically Engineered Eucalyptus Trees for Southern U.S. Forests:
Original Assessment Lacked Key U.S. Forest Service Hydrological Studies
- February 11 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture re-released their draft environmental assessment [1] regarding a request by ArborGen, a subsidiary of timber giants International Paper and MeadWestvaco, to plant over a quarter of a million genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in so-called "test plots" across seven southern U.S. states. [2]

"If these invasive GE eucalyptus are planted across the South on this large of a scale, it is highly likely that fertile seeds will escape into surrounding forests," said Dr. Neil Carman, a plant scientist with the Sierra Club. "This is a major problem since eucalyptus is already known for its invasiveness. Once they escape into the forests, there is no way to call them back. It would be an ecological nightmare for southern forests."

The environmental assessment was re-released by the USDA after groups concerned about the environmental impacts of transgenic eucalyptus trees pointed out that the assessment was missing key hydrological studies conducted by the U.S. Forest Service that directly refute the conclusions of the USDA's draft environmental assessment which recommend approving ArborGen's request. The USFS studies point out that eucalyptus trees have heavy water requirements and can seriously impact ground and surface water reserves. [3]

The USDA is seeking public comments on their draft environmental assessment through February 18th, 2010. [4]

"In countries that are already suffering the impacts of large-scale eucalyptus plantations--like Brazil, Chile and South Africa--people have organized massive campaigns against them," stated Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and North American representative of the Global Forest Coalition. "This is because eucalyptus plantations have devastated forests and communities. In Brazil, the Mata Atlantica forest has been all but wiped out by eucalyptus plantations. In Chile, communities living near eucalyptus plantations have lost their access to fresh water."

Other new information in the assessment reveals that some of the supposedly infertile engineered eucalyptus trees in existing field trials produced fertile seeds. Eucalyptus is a non-native tree and numerous species of eucalyptus are already considered invasive. This new transgenic (or GMO) eucalyptus has been engineered to tolerate colder temperatures giving it the potential for invading forest ecosystems throughout the South.

"I had hoped that the disaster of kudzu would have taught us the consequences of releasing invasive species into the environment," agreed Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director for the Dogwood Alliance. "Instead, ArborGen wants to release invasive GE eucalyptus trees. Unlike kudzu, however, these trees are not only invasive, they are also highly flammable and use huge quantities of fresh water. California is already spending millions to eradicate invasive and flammable eucalyptus trees. We do not want these invasive trees to be mass-planted in the South."

The STOP GE Trees Campaign [5] is working with the Center for Food Safety on plans to stop ArborGen's proposal to release hundreds of thousands of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees across the U.S. South. "This is a very slippery slope," warns George Kimbrell, an attorney for the Center for Food Safety. "Allowing the release of these GE eucalyptus trees will set a legal precedent that could allow the release of genetically engineered poplars or pines--which have wild relatives across the continent. The commercial release of engineered versions of native trees would lead to the contamination of forests with engineered pollen. Once this occurs there is absolutely nothing that can be done to stop the further contamination of more forests. We have to stop the release of GE trees before this contamination occurs."

The public is encouraged to submit comments to the USDA regarding the ArborGen proposal to release 260,000 genetically engineered cold tolerant eucalyptus trees across seven southern states. For details on this, please visit: http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/sto ... php?tabs=0 [1] [1] To download the USDA's December 17, 2009 revised draft environmental assessment, go to: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/aphisdocs ... rm_ea2.pdf [2] [2] The seven states targeted for ArborGen's GE eucalyptus deployment are South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

[3] The summary findings of the USFS with regard to the impacts of eucalyptus plantations on water resources can be found on page 57 of the new USDA draft environmental assessment. These findings include the fact that the water usage by eucalyptus plantations is at least double the water usage by other forest types, and that afforestation to eucalyptus plantations will reduce stream flow, lower the water table and affect groundwater recharge.

[4] Comments to the USDA can be submitted at: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/ ... 64809c344a [3] [5] Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates the STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign. The Sierra Club and Dogwood Alliance are part of the Steering Committee for the Campaign. For more information on the campaign, go to: http://www.nogetrees.org. [4]

###
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Tell the USDA NO WAY to ArborGen's Eucalyptus Frankentrees

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:31 am

Tell the USDA NO WAY to ArborGen's Eucalyptus Frankentrees

Global Justice Ecology Project - contact@globaljusticeecology.org
Please Forward Widely! If you have not already sent comments, please do so.

Comments are needed by THIS THURSDAY (Feb 18) to oppose the ArborGen proposal to plant 260,000 genetically engineered eucalyptus trees across the Southern U.S.

Go to: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/975162590 to sign on to the public comment letter to the USDA.

Another important way to support the campaign is to send a donation. Thanks!

More information below:

Release of Dangerous Genetically Engineered (GE) Eucalyptus Trees Threatens U.S. Forests/ Communities.

ACTION NEEDED BY 18 February! Tell the USDA NO WAY to ArborGen's Eucalyptus Frankentrees

In an unprecedented move toward commercial large-scale release of GE forest trees in the United States, ArborGen is petitioning the U.S. government for permission to plant an estimated 260,000 flowering GE eucalyptus trees [1] across seven southern U.S. states in so-called "field trials."[2]

The mass-planting of 260,000 flowering GE eucalyptus trees is a major step toward the unregulated development of large-scale GE eucalyptus plantations in the U.S. ArborGen has also requested permission to develop large-scale commercial plantations of GE cold tolerant eucalyptus across the U.S. South which the USDA has not yet ruled on.

Government approval of GE eucalyptus trees will set a dangerous precedent to allow the release of other experimental GE forest trees, including poplars and pines, that would inevitably and irreversibly contaminate native trees with destructive GE traits, devastating forest ecosystems and wildlife. Once GE trees escape, there is no way to call them back.

The only way to prevent the genetic contamination of forests is to ban the commercial release of GE trees before it is too late.

TAKE ACTION!

Tell the USDA that GE cold-tolerant eucalyptus plantations pose an unprecedented threat to U.S. forests, wildlife and communities. Tell them to reject ArborGen's request to plant more than a quarter of a million dangerous invasive GE trees across the Southern U.S. Since these field trials are a concrete step toward unregulated commercial growing of dangerous GE eucalyptus, they must be rejected.

Sign on to the STOP GE Trees Campaign's Comments to the U.S. government and Have your organization become a STOP GE Trees Campaign partner and endorse our goal of a global ban on GE trees!

For more information about the STOP GE Trees Campaign, click here:

http://globaljusticeecology.org/stopgetrees.php

Background:

According to ArborGen, eucalyptus is a "fast-growing hardwood tree that is a favorite of the international forest products industry"[3] Globally, forests in tropical and subtropical regions have been decimated for the development of eucalyptus plantations, with devastating results for communities and biodiversity. ArborGen now wants to spread this disaster to new regions with this GE cold-tolerant eucalyptus.

Some of the impacts caused by eucalyptus plantations that now threaten the U.S. include:

* Widespread destruction of native forests: Australian Eucalyptuswere introduced to California in the 1850s and these invasive aliens now grow throughout the state; more than 200 species have been introduced into the U.S. The cold-tolerance trait will allow the disaster of eucalyptus plantations to be expanded into regions that are too cold for conventional eucalyptus--including the U.S. South.

* Uncontrollable wildfires: Raging wildfires in Australia this year, made worse by drought, traveled over 60 miles an hour, devastating wildlife and killing 173 people. The1991 Oakland, CA firestorm, exacerbated by eucalyptus, cost $1.5 billion in damages.

* Loss of fresh water: Eucalyptus trees are fast-growing "water-suckers." They require tremendous amounts of water, threatening to worsen the drought already being experienced in areas of the Southern United States.

* Vast clearcutting of biodiverse forests to grow monoculture plantations of GE Eucalyptus clones;

* Silent forests: Wildlife that cannot use the Eucalyptus for habitat nor food will be lost. Endangered species will be threatened.

* Contamination of soils and groundwater with toxic pesticides used on the plantations, often aerially sprayed;

* Worsening of climate change through the destruction of carbon-rich native forests for carbon-poor plantations.

* Eucalyptus is a known host for the deadly pathogenic fungusCryptococcus Gattii. Originally a tropical fungus, it was recently found around Pacific Northwest Eucalyptus groves, and can kill both humans and wildlife.

SUBMIT COMMENTS TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT OPPOSING GEEUCALYPTUS PLANTATIONS

Download our 10 page report on the dangers of GE trees and wood-based agrofuels:

http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/files/
GE%20Trees%20and%20cell%20eth%20brief.pdf


NOTES:

[1] These GE eucalyptus, a hybrid of Eucalyptus grandis XEucalyptus urophylla, are engineered to tolerate colder temperatuves, produce less of the structural polymer lignin, and digest some of their own RNA in the hope of reducing fertility (a Terminator-type genetic technology). The permits, if granted, would also allow the GE trees to flower. Eucalyptus thrives in tropical to sub-tropical conditions, but ArborGen's cold-tolerant Eucalyptus would allow growth in the Southern United States, which experience occasional winter freezes. The states targeted for field trials are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas. Note: in 2007 ArborGen was given permission to allow 1.1 acres of GE eucalyptus to flower. This was expanded to 7.6 acres with no public input. This means ArborGen could receive permission to expand these 330 acres of field trees

[2] The number 260,000 is based on the number of trees ArborGen reported to the USDA, which was recorded in the USDA's Environmental Assessment.

[3] See www.arborgen.com/eucalyptus2.php
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