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

2011-12-09 |

Battle over the (GE) trees: Indigenous peoples denounce REDD+ at COP 17 talks

The IPCCA declaration notes some of the other risks to indigenous communities and the environment created by REDD/REDD+, including the establishment of monocultured tree plantations and genetically modified trees. The United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) definition of “forests” includes monocultured tree plantations, which critics contend encourages clear cutting of natural forests in favor of replanting, benefitting industrial loggers under the guise of practicing “sustainable forest management,” to say nothing of how clear cutting impacts indigenous communities.

2011-12-08 |

Indian scientists planning to have GM trees in forests

India is likely to have genetically modified trees in its forest areas soon. The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education has planned to conduct researches in genetic engineering, genome mapping and nano technology to meet the future challenges. The ICFRE Director General, Dr VK Bahuguna said: “first we will begin with genome mapping and then gene selection and then decide which forest growing species will need transgene for faster growth.”

2011-10-26 |

Court loss won’t stop U.S. environmentalists’ battle against GE eucalyptus trees

Environmentalists are vowing to continue their fight against genetically engineered “frankentrees” after losing a test case in Florida earlier this month. “We’re not terribly discouraged,” said Anne Petermann, executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project and the coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign. “We’ll wait until the next stage of the regulatory process and intervene there,” said Mike Stark, communications director for the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that aimed to block field tests of genetically modified eucalyptus trees across the South.

2011-08-23 |

Indian risk assessors rethink on biosafety protocol for GE rubber trials

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, which had granted sanction for the field trial of genetically-modified rubber, is now having a rethink on the trial protocol, that was intended for seasonal GM crops rather than trees with a much longer life as in the case of rubber. [...] The GEAC has now asked the Department of Biotechnology as well as the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation that monitors the safety aspects of GM crops to ’re-examine the matter taking into consideration the biology of the rubber plant and intended use’. It may be recalled that the Coalition for GM-Free India had pointed out the dangers of using a protocol developed for seasonal plants being used in the case of rubber, which is much more complex and with different type of interaction with the eco-system.

2011-08-22 |

GM crops set for early start in Viet Nam

Large-scale growing of genetically modified crops could start as early as next year, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bui Ba Bong said. Addressing a seminar in Ha Noi last Wednesday, he said genetically modified plants and trees would be able to better withstand the harsh weather conditions caused by climate change. [...] Viet Nam has begun growing GM crops, including vitamin-rich rice, herbicide-resistant and worm-free corn and drought tolerant beans.

2011-07-22 |

Hawaii (USA) papaya farms hit again with 10 acres of trees destroyed

Three Kapoho papaya farms were hit hard by vandals who chopped through more than 10 acres of papaya trees sometime between Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19. A year ago a similar chopping of 8,500 papaya trees occurred in the same area. [...] A big question at the meeting was the motive for the crop destruction. Theories voiced included: Someone possibly having a vendetta against one or more farmers; possible jealousy between farmers; anti-GMO (genetically modified food crops) activists; marijuana growers; and even disgruntled hunters though one of the victims of the crop damage dismissed the theory on hunters.

2011-05-23 |

Initial field test results GM poplars: bioethanol yield almost doubled

The yield of bio-ethanol from the wood of GM poplar trees from a VIB field trial is up to 81% higher than non-modified poplars VIB-UGent researcher Wout Boerjan presented these results at the international conference ”Bioenergy Trees in Nancy, France. ”This is just the beginning. The results of the field test confirm that we are on the right track. Further research will allow us to select poplar varieties that are even better suited for bio-ethanol production,” said Wout Boerjan from VIB and Ghent University.

2011-05-17 |

Genetically engineered tree company ArborGen decides not to go public with stocks

The genetically engineered tree company ArborGen, a joint project of timber corporations International Paper, MeadWestvaco and Rubicon, decided suddenly yesterday to change its plans and not sell shares in ArborGen publicly on the NASDAQ exchange. [... NGOs] that filed the suit charge that GE trees carry serious social and ecological risks; and that these risks were either downplayed or outright ignored in the USDA’s Environmental Assessment.

2011-03-10 |

Save climate and double food production with eco-farming

Eco-farming could double food production in entire regions within 10 years while mitigating climate change, according to a new U.N. report released Tuesday in Geneva. [...] "Agro-ecology mimics nature not industrial processes. It replaces the external inputs like fertiliser with knowledge of how a combination of plants, trees and animals can enhance productivity of the land," De Schutter told IPS, stressing that, "Yields went up 214 percent in 44 projects in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa using agro-ecological farming techniques over a period of 3 to 10 years ... far more than any GM crop has ever done."

2010-12-16 |

Gene-altered rubber trials planned in India as car makers Ford and Suzuki worsen deficit

India, the largest natural-rubber user after China, plans to begin field trials of a genetically-modified variety as it seeks to overcome a shortage forecast by the industry to surge fivefold over the next decade. [...James Jacob, director of the Rubber Research Institute of India:] ”Domestic requirement of rubber will increase as our GDP increases, and indications are that there will not be enough.” Gene-altered rubber trees will be resistant to drought and tapping panel dryness, and have the ability to produce higher yields even under adverse weather conditions.

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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.