Target: Professor Steven Strauss, Oregon State University College of Forestry
Goal: Stop the spread of genetically modified poplar trees that threaten forest ecosystems
Oregon State University has developed a genetically modified poplar tree, which is said to be more resistant to pests than natural trees. These genetically modified poplars have the ability to grow faster, and are believed to have more economic potential for the paper industry. Unfortunately, the gene that is found in genetically modified trees carries a toxin that eradicates all moth species, not just the pests that they are trying to get rid of. The toxin is lethal throughout the tree’s entire lifespan, so the moths never stand a chance. Moths play a important role in the forest, providing food for other insects and birds that rely on them to survive. For this reason, the genetically modified poplars pose a serious threat to ecosystems in Oregon and beyond.
Steven Strauss, who is a professor of forest biotechnology in the Oregon State’s College of Forestry, appears to be enthusiastic about the commercial possibilities of this development with genetically modified trees. However, putting the trees into the ecosystem could have disastrous effects on natural insect populations and on the forest biodiversity.
Please sign this petition to encourage the developers of this genetically modified poplar tree to stop and let the trees grow naturally.
Dear Professor Strauss,
I understand that you are looking forward to the potential of genetically modified trees, but I urge you to direct your attention to the long term effects these trees may have on forest diversity and the food chain. As you know the toxin in these trees, which is meant to kill pests, also attacks moths as well. Moths are an integral part of many ecosystems, and these modified trees threaten their survival.
By threatening to eliminate the moth population, you are disrupting the lives of numerous animal species. The toxin is lethal throughout the tree’s entire lifespan, so the moths never stand a chance. These genetically modified trees may be benefiting the paper industry, but they will cause havoc in nature. Please reconsider any plans to encourage commercial development of these trees.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Sonia Sevilla via Wikimedia Commons