Mutant Tree Press Release from Biodev 3/27/00

Karl Davies karl at
Mon Mar 27 18:16:44 EST 2000


Boston, MA --  Activists from the Native Forest Network, today joined
the World Rainforest Movement in Uruguay,  ACERCA (Action for Community
Ecology in the Regions of Central America), and Rainforest Action
to publicly announce the launching of a major international campaign
against genetically engineered trees.

This announcement was made at a press conference following attendance of

Biodevastation 2000, a counter-conference and protest to BIO 2000, the
International Biotechnology Meeting and Exhibition, occurring through
Thursday.  The announcement was also made simultaneous to the beginning
"New Trees Grow Closer:  The Ecological, Ethical and Scientific Issues
Forest Biotechnology", BIO's major Symposium this morning at BIO 2000.
next 50 years will see a forestry endeavor worldwide profoundly shaped
biotechnology," the BIO agenda reads.

"Genetic engineering of trees poses a real threat to forest and their
ecosystems," said Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher, a genetic scientist who
with the University of Liverpool.  She continued, "Proper risk
is impossible; we neither know the stakes nor the odds."

Public relations experts for the biotech industry have said genetic
engineering is no different from efforts to breed plants and animals to
meet human needs, except the outcomes can be achieved more quickly.  The

truth is genetics can alter structures of life in ways that could never
occur in nature, the consequences of which are unknown.

"GE trees present a tremendous threat to forests around the world,"
Patrick Reinsborough (in a statement from San Francisco read at today's
Press Conference), Outreach Coordinator for the Rainforest Action
"RAN is especially concerned about the threat of these designer trees to

the world's rainforests, which is where many of the test plots of these
trees are located," he continued.

Mick Petrie, NFN's campaigner on GE Trees, went on to say,
because GE trees are still very close to their wild relatives, they are
extremely susceptible to genetic pollution.  Many of us see forests as
diverse habitats providing the last refuge for the earth's declining
biodiversity.  The risks of genetic pollution in our remaining native
forests are unknown, irreversible and potentially one of the greatest
threats to biodiversity ever."

Another key concern is the growing dominance of a few corporations with
power to affect all life on earth.  This seems especially threatening
biotech and chemical giants are partnered with some of the world's
landowners.  Some of the principal players involved in Agbio, such as
Monsanto, are also involved in forest biotechnology.  In addition,
International Paper, Fletcher Challenge Forests, GenFor, Canada
Silvagen, the Chilean Development Agency, Shell and Toyota have all
initiated GR tree research.

"We are at a crossroads.  The threat of a future where all life, trees,
animals, food, and even humans are engineered to maximize the profit of
few trans-national corporations is upon us now," said Orin Langelle of
ACERCA and the Native Forest Network.  "It is the height of arrogance to

believe we can manipulate genes, the very building blocks of life,
risk to our forests and our futures on this fragile planet."

"Terminator trees, genetically engineered never to flower,
could ensure a silent spring in the forests of the future.
Such trees will grow faster than before,
but will be devoid of the bees, butterflies, birds and squirrels
which depend on pollen, seed and nectar."
--London's Daily Telegraph

Eastern North American Resource Center
POB 57, Burlington, VT  05402  USA
(802)863-0571  FAX: (802)864-8203
EMAIL:  nfnena at

Forwarded to alt.forestry, bionet.agroforestry, Forest List, SAF-News,
NEFR List by:
Karl Davies, Practicing Forester

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