Genetically Engineered Trees for Bioenergy Pose Major Threat to Southern Forests

Genetically Engineered Trees for Bioenergy Pose Major Threat to Southern Forests | 05-16-07_eucalyptustrees | Agriculture & Farming Environment GMOs Science & Technology Special Interests

In response to industry plans to develop eucalyptus plantations across the US South[1], environmental groups[2] are raising serious concerns about the impacts of eucalyptus plantations on forests, rural communities, wildlife and the climate – especially if those trees are genetically engineered.

EcoGen, LLC recently announced plans to develop eucalyptus plantations in southern Florida to feed biomass facilities. Additionally, South Carolina-based ArborGen has requested USDA permission to sell billions of genetically engineered cold tolerant eucalyptus trees for plantations in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The USDA is expected to respond to this request in the coming months.

Eucalyptus trees are documented as an invasive pest in California and Florida. But because they cannot grow in sub-freezing temperatures, they have been engineered to be cold-tolerant, enabling them to survive temperatures down to 20°f – vastly expanding their range.

Besides being highly invasive – the Charlotte Observer called them “the kudzu of the 2010s” – eucalyptus plantations deplete ground water and can even worsen droughts. The US Forest Service opposes GE eucalyptus plantations due to their impact on ground water and streams. [3,4]

“GE eucalyptus trees are a disaster waiting to happen – it is critical the USDA rejects them,” said Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann. “In addition to being invasive, eucalyptus trees are explosively flammable. In a region that has been plagued by droughts in recent years, developing plantations of an invasive, water-greedy and fire-prone tree is foolhardy and dangerous.”

Petermann coordinates the international STOP GE Trees Campaign [5], which has collected thousands of signatures supporting a ban on GE trees due to their potentially catastrophic impacts on communities and forests.

“The forests of the Southeast are some of the most biodiverse in the world,” said Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director of Asheville, NC-based Dogwood Alliance. “They contain species found nowhere else. Species like the Louisiana Black Bear, the golden-cheeked warbler and the red-cockaded woodpecker are already endangered. Eucalyptus plantations could push these and other species over the edge,” he added.

The Georgia Department of Wildlife opposes GE eucalyptus trees due to these impacts. [6]

The STOP GE Trees Campaign is planning events around the Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference this May in Asheville, NC, where GE tree industry representatives and researchers will gather to discuss the use of GE trees and their deployment across the US South.

Contact:

Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, STOP GE Trees Campaign,+1.802.578.0477 anne@globaljusticeecology.org

Dr. Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch, +1.802.482.2848 rsmolker@riseup.net

Scot Quaranda, Dogwood Alliance, +1.828.251.2525 x 18 scot@dogwoodalliance.org

Notes

1. http://www.usecogen.com

2. Groups include Global Justice Ecology Project, Dogwood Alliance, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, BiofuelWatch and the STOP GE Trees Campaign.

3. Could eucalyptus trees be the kudzu of the 2010s?

4. Forest Service assessment of impacts on hydrology:http://globaljusticeecology.org/stopgetrees.php?tabs=2&ID=440

http://globaljusticeecology.org/files/April,%202010%20Final%20EA.pdf Page 59

5. The STOP GE Trees Campaign is a global alliance of hundreds of organizations that support a ban on any release of genetically engineered trees into the environment. In 2008 the Campaign won a decision from the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany warning countries to use caution when considering use of GE trees, and calling for them to be grown only in confined field trials until proven safe.

6. Georgia Department of Wildlife comments to the USDA:

http://globaljusticeecology.org/files/Georgia%20Wildlife%20Resources%20Div%20comments.pdf

What differentiates Global Justice Ecology Project from most groups is our holistic approach to organizing. We believe that the compartmentalization of issues is enabling corporations and conservative forces to keep movements for change divided and powerless. We strive to identify and address the common roots to the issues of social injustice, ecological destruction and economic domination as a means to achieve a fundamental transformation toward a society based on egalitarian ideals and grounded in ecology.
 
Fritz Kreiss is the founding head of Occupy Monsanto. He has a history in natural health, nutrition, herbal medicine, Eastern Medicine, acupuncture, kinesiology, physiology, and many years of practice as a professional massage therapist and teacher.

Genetically Engineered Trees for Bioenergy Pose Major Threat to Southern Forests Occupy Monsanto.

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About The Author

Wendy Blanks is an independent researcher, journalist and activist. She is the Founder of TruWire Productions, LLC., and the Owner/Chief Editor for The Sleuth Journal. She has done investigative research in multiple fields and has a passion for sharing true news on various topics such as government corruption, natural health, human rights, globalism and other important issues that plague our society. Thankfully, we live in the age of information and sharing knowledge has become easier than ever. She has a deep desire to expose the truth in propagated information that is spewed from corporate/mainstream media. True journalism has been dead for some time and it is her goal to revive it. The Sleuth Journal streamlines groups of like-minded individuals and organizations to create a massive knowledge base for a ‘conscious awakening’ of what is really going on in today’s oligarchy pyramid that we call ‘society’. So many people are zombies by media, television and other means of mass brainwashing and we need to reverse the effects and give people back their minds, and in return, their power and will to change and challenge the system. Like The Sleuth Journal on Facebook. Follow The Sleuth Journal on Twitter. Join The Sleuth Journal group on Linkedin. Be sure to visit Drone Patrol to view and report drone sightings.

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