Target: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: Stop the production and development of genetically engineered trees
Lumber and paper companies have recently begun to genetically engineer trees to enhance certain properties and make the trees more conducive to their business. However, these unnatural trees could easily contaminate native ecosystems and spread their genetically engineered genes into wild environments, leading to negative and irreparable consequences on the environment and the earth as a whole.
Lumber and paper producers are genetically engineering trees to withstand colder climates, grow faster, and to become easier to break down for processing. However, the potential effects of these altered trees could be devastating to natural ecosystems. The Center for Food Safety recently released a study showing the harmful side effects of large genetically engineered tree plantations replacing forests in America. One of the main negative consequences of GE tree plantations is that GE trees can easily spread their genes to non-GE trees and forever contaminate them. Once a few trees in a native ecosystem are contaminated, the number of contaminated trees will only increase. The GE trees are modified to resist insects, grow faster, and have reduced lignin, all of which would devastate ecosystems by destroying the natural balance between plants and animals.
Dr. Martha Crouch, an expert on biotechnology, agriculture, and the environment, stated that, “Commercializing unproven GE trees is too big of a risk to take with so much at stake. Monocultures of GE trees could not only replace complex native forests, but GE trees could also escape from plantations where they could disrupt longstanding relationships between species.” The commercialization of GE trees would also add to the use of herbicides and pesticides and increase the use of water.
The company ArborGen is attempting to start field trials of GE eucalyptus trees in the southeastern United States. The trees were genetically engineered in New Zealand, but ArborGen was not allowed to begin field trials as New Zealand recognized that the risks were too great. Therefore, the trials will start in the U.S. where companies can get away with most GE endeavors.
The public is largely against the proposed plan of ArborGen, but the corporations pushing the plan have far more power and influence with the government. Help us stop this harmful plan, which would further ingrain the current industrial, unsustainable, and anti-nature paradigm. Say no to genetically engineered trees before it’s too late.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
The commercialization of genetically engineered trees would have many harmful consequences on the environment. GE tree plantations would easily spread GE genes and contaminate native ecosystems, damaging the trees with traits such as resistance to insects and reduced lignin. Ultimately, GE trees would upset the natural balance in an ecosystem and disrupt relationships between species.
Once a few trees become contaminated in a forest, the number of GE trees in the native ecosystem will only grow. This will be devastating for the environment and greatly reduce biodiversity. GE tree plantations will also increase the use of herbicides, pesticides, and water. New Zealand rejected the ArborGen field trials of GE eucalyptus because of the damaging consequences it would inevitably have. Now ArborGen will conduct these trials in the U.S. and our country will face the same harmful effects.
Please do not allow genetically engineered trees to become commercialized and stop the ArborGen proposal of GE eucalyptus plantations in the southeastern United States.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: CFS via Wikimedia Commons