Genetically Engineered Trees


Since 1999 GENET collects and distributes information on various topics in the field of genetic engineering in agriculture, food production and health. With this "Special Topic: GE Trees" GENET aims at providing an overview about the worldwide debate on genetically engineered trees, based on our archives.


Databank Query 1: "trees" as key word in the GENET-news text


You will find a selection of publications in the section "Research & Reports". To get more information about the different stakeholders in the debate, please follow the internet links to selected actors in the civil society and industry sectors. Finally, the page "GE Trees and the CBD" introduces you into the international debate about a moratorium on GE trees that is ongoing at the Convention for Biological Biodiversity.

GENET-news articles

2012-05-22 |

Illegal field trials of GE cherry, kiwi and olive trees exposed in Italy by the Genetic Rights Foundation

The not-for-profit Genetic Rights Foundation has exposed today the existence of an experimental field of GE trees, planted by the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Viterbo, near Rome, whose permission expired in 2008. In 1998 the University was granted a decade long permission to carry out field research on different plant species [...] In March 2010, after having received the opinion of the Regional Competent Authority, the NCA denied the extension of the permission and ordered the disposal of the trees and the clean up of the site.

2012-05-09 |

Destroyed New Zealand GE pines trial to be re-planted

Forest research institute Scion has confirmed it will continue its genetically engineered tree trial and will replace hundreds of genetically modified pines destroyed last month, while police continue to investigate the attack. [...] Scion chief executive Dr Warren Parker says the research is important to the forest industry and the institute has decided the field trial should continue, but under even tighter security. Dr Parker says the cost of replacing the destroyed trees, extra security and lost time, will add up to about $1 million.

2012-05-07 |

Suzano unit gets Brazil approval to trial GM eucalyptus for biomass

FuturaGene Ltd. U.K., held by Suzano Papel e Celulose SA, said it won approval from Brazil for the world’s most advanced trial of a genetically modified forest as it seeks to boost yields of trees used in biomass power plants. The company will plant modified eucalyptus trees in coming weeks in a fourth trial to test the safety and effectiveness of the technology, Chief Executive Officer Stanley Hirsch said in an interview. Inserting genes into trees allows increased yields for electricity generation or manufacturing of pulp and paper.

2012-04-13 |

GE pine trial destroyed in New Zeland

Scientists have slammed the “senseless” destruction of hundreds of genetically-engineered pine trees during a break-in at a Rotorua plantation. Scion planted 375 radiata pines last year to test herbicide resistance and study reproductive development. The company said damage to the trees, which occurred over the Easter Weekend, will cost around $400,000. Scion Chief Executive Dr Warren Parker describes this as a blatant act of vandalism designed to end Scion’s genetic modification research programme.

2012-04-11 |

Richmond poised to join other non-GMO Canadian municipalities

The City of Richmond is poised to join a growing number of B.C. municipalities that oppose the cultivation of genetically modified crops and plants within their boundaries. A resolution has been working its way through city hall since June 2010, when Arzeena Hamir of the Richmond Food Security Society and April Reeves of GE Free B.C. pitched councillors on proposed wording that would keep Richmond free of genetically engineered trees, plants and crops. “We got a call a few days ago from city staff saying they are finally ready to write the report,” said Hamir. “It’s been lost in the legal department for nearly two years, but the resolution is expected to come to council in May.”

2012-03-23 |

Instability in genetically engineered tree company indicated with ArborGen shake up

Last week on March 14, ArborGen, a leader in genetically engineered tree research and development, experienced a major shake up when its Board announced ”new leadership changes at its senior executive level,” after the failure of the company to go public on the NASDAQ in 2011. Most significantly, Barbara Wells, their CEO and President since 2002 was replaced. Today, Global Justice Ecology Project announced their new report, An Analysis of the State of GE Trees and Advanced Bioenergy, which details the evolution of the issue of GE trees from 2010 through 2012 and the global campaign to prohibit the release of GE trees.

2012-02-08 |

Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture calls for GE crops at USAID conference

A FOUR-DAY meeting organised by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Dar es Salaam is deliberating on and identifying priority areas for a five-year research initiative funded by the US Agency for International Development to be implemented in the country. The study will cost $3.2 million during the first year and will focus on management practices that integrate better cereals, legumes, vegetables, livestock and trees in mixedfarming systems and allow for more efficient use of resources, enhanced food production and higher farm incomes. The conference so far has highlighted the fact that government seems set to open the doors to genetically modified crops.

2012-01-12 |

As crop prices soar, Iowa (USA) farms add acreage

Across much of the Midwest the sharp increase in farm earnings has driven the price of farmland to previously unimaginable — and, some say, unsustainable — levels. But in the process, to much less fanfare, the financial rewards have also encouraged farmers to put ever more land into production, including parcels that until recently were too small or too poor in quality to warrant a second glance. [...] Farmers are taking down the old barn or the grove of trees that shaded a corner of the family farm to squeeze in a few more rows of crops. They are plowing up areas previously used for grazing cattle or set aside for conservation because they had been deemed too wet, too sandy or too hilly for farming.

2011-12-15 |

Genencor and Goodyear making rubber from GE renewables

The common automobile tire contains rubber that’s extracted from latex-bearing trees and rubber that’s synthesized from petroleum feedstocks. Industrial biotechnology companies such as Genencor, Gevo, Amyris, and Genomatica want to give tire manufacturers a third option: biobased rubber ingredients made from sugar. [...] “The way the collaboration works, Genencor works on the front end with its sugar feedstocks, fermentation, and genetic engineering,” Benko explains. “Goodyear brings its expertise with isoprene—we both make and use isoprene ourselves. So that makes up the whole package from beginning to end.”

2011-12-09 |

GMO trees grow in Sweden and cause concern

This year genetically modified hybrid aspen and fruit trees are growing on 3,8 ha in Sweden. Proponents believe that GMO-trees are part of the solution to the problem of a growing population. Critics are concerned about the negative consequences for the ecosystem and the risks for human and animal health. The field trials with GMO trees include hybrid aspen and apple and pear trees. The aspen have been modified to have higher growth rate and to be drought resistant. The fruit trees have been modified to have a stronger root system.

Go to page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ...


GE Trees: NGOs and Social Movements

 people's Forest Forum

The Global Ban on GM Trees Campaign was released by three Finnish non-governemental organisations in January 2004. The open petition protested decicion made in UN Climate change meeting in Milano to include transgenic trees in their climate toolbox. This desicion violated the biodiversity and biosafety agreements and prozesses.

 Stop GE Trees Campaign

The Stop GE Trees Campaign is a national and international alliance of organizations that have united toward the goal of prohibiting the ecologically and socially devastating release of genetically engineered trees into the environment. Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates, administrates and fundraises for the campaign. World Rainforest Movement, based in Uruguay, is the Southern Hub for the Campaign and has materials in Spanish and Portuguese.

 Genetically Modified Trees

Information by the World Rainforest Movement

  • WRM publications on GM Trees
  • Articles published in WRM bulletin
  • WRM special bulletin on GM Trees
  • Video "The Silent Forest"
  • Other relevant information
  • Links

GE Trees: Biotechnology Industry and Science

 Institute for Forest Biotechnology

The Institute promotes the responsible use of biotechnology in forest trees.  We advance the societal, environmental, and economic benefits biotechnology can bring to forests around the world.  The Institute of Forest Biotechnology (IFB) is the only non-profit organization to address the sustainability of forest biotechnology on a global scale.


Trees are the world’s most plentiful and versatile source of renewable materials and an important resource for bioenergy. ArborGen is dedicated to improving the sustainability and productivity of purpose grown working forests, providing more wood on less land while preserving native habitats in all their diversity and complexity for future generations.

 Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative

The goal of the Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative (TBGRC) is to conduct research, technology transfer, and education to facilitate beneficial uses of genetically engineered trees in plantations. The TBGRC seeks to test and develop select innovations, based on progress in molecular biology and agricultural biotechnology, that will ultimately have commercial value to wood-growing and horticultural industries. Research is presently focused on poplars as scientific models for genetic engineering and functional genomic studies.