Friday, August 28, 2009 says International Paper the Next Monsanto drew attention today to International Paper and their ArborGen partnership to develop genetically engineered trees for industrial plantations. The article touts ArborGen's exceptional prospects as an investment. It practically says "run, don't walk" to buy ArborGen stock. However, the article fails to note significant risk factors, including the immense ecological risks of this "Frankentree" technology and the overwhelming public opposition.

This article is a troublesome sign that genetically engineered trees are a severe threat to native biodiversity today, and no longer something that might come tomorrow. It begins with a chilling statement...

"International Paper Co., the world’s largest pulp and paper maker, plans to remake commercial forests in the same way Monsanto Co. revolutionized farms with genetically modified crops."
International Paper and Arborgen can expect a fight with scientists, citizens and conservation groups though. Over 100 organizations worldwide support a Vision for the paper industry that explicitly excludes genetically engineered trees. They believe that to take such incredible ecological risks, in order to sustain a level of consumption that is unnecessary and wasteful, is reckless and irresponsible. We don't need Frankentrees to meet our needs and have a comfortable life.

Recently, nearly 17,500 public comments were sent to the US Department of Agriculture opposing their recommendation for approval of an ArborGen proposal to plant over a quarter of a million genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees. Only 39 favorable comments were received by the USDA. If allowed, the plantings would take place on 330 acres of land across seven states in the Southern U.S., to supposedly feed future cellulosic ethanol production. All but one of the field trials would be allowed to flower and produce seeds.

While the forecast for ArborGen's share value looks bright, things don't look so good for the forests of the southern U.S. The article goes on to say...
"The papermaker’s main interest in ArborGen is the potential of modified trees such as cold-tolerant eucalyptus to provide a sustainable source of hardwood for pulp, Liebetreu said. That becomes more important as the U.S. starts to make biofuels from timber, which may double harvest pressure in the U.S. South, International Paper said in a June 9 letter to USDA."
The Stop GE Trees Campaign is working to watchdog and organize action on this issue, and encourages you to share this Bloomberg article on your social media networks.

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