US Greenlights First GE Forest Tree for Commercialization

Biomass industry leaders, such as Enviva, try to argue that their increasing demand for our Southern forests is good for forests and will generate forest expansion in the US. We know that this is just not the case. The demand for woody biomass far surpasses anything our natural forests can sustain.

plans are in place to ensure a steady supply of timber in the form of GE loblolly pines.

In an unprecedented and alarming move, the US Department of Agriculture has given GE tree company ArborGen permission to pursue commercial production of a genetically engineered loblolly pine with no regulatory oversight or environmental risk assessment. In the current plan, the potential impacts to the public or to the environment will not be evaluated.

Tell the USDA and ArborGen: No GE Trees

Protest at Tree Biotech Conference 2013. Photo Credit: Global Justice Ecology Project


Our native loblolly pines are a key habitat for more than twenty songbirds and other animals, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. If ArborGen’s GE loblolly pines are planted, there will be no way to stop them from irreversibly cross-contaminating native loblolly pines and pine plantations. Loblolly pollen is known to travel long distances. This contamination could take place on private lands and on public lands, threatening some of our last remaining native forests.

The unnatural engineered traits of these trees would lead to unknown and potentially destructive impacts on soils, fungi, insects, wildlife, songbirds and public health.

This decision sets a terrible and unacceptable precedent. If unchallenged, it will allow other GE trees with even more dangerous traits to be developed without any federal or public review. All at a great risk to our natural forests and the habitats they provide.

For too long, profit-seeking industries have sold our native forests for economic gain, transformed them into agricultural tree plantations that in no way resemble natural forests and disregarded the crucial habitat and ecosystem services they provide.

Industries like Enviva and ArborGen attempt to manipulate our forests for their personal gain, and then have the gall to exclude the public, or, worse yet, claim that what they’re doing is actually good for our forests! But we know that just by existing, are forests are doing what they do best.

Our native forests are key to supporting diverse plants and wildlife, maintaining air and water quality, and are our best defense against climate change. Industry attempts to modify our forests for their gains are unacceptable.

But Dogwood Alliance, Global Justice Ecology Project and others are standing up to say no more.

GE Trees arrest resize 600
GJEP and allies protest the Tree Biotechnology 2013. Photo Credit: Global Justice Ecology Project


Tell ArborGen that this will not be tolerated. There is a growing movement of anti-GMO groups, forest protection groups, Indigenous Peoples, birders, foresters, farmers, scientists, parents, hikers and many others who do not want our forests contaminated by GE trees.

 Stop this assault on our native forests by taking action now.


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