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Unregulated GMO Trees, Coming To Your Backyard?

Image source: sustainableppulse.com

Image source: sustainableppulse.com

Genetically modified (GMO) trees may soon be coming to a backyard near you – without any government oversight or environmental risk assessment.

Last month the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its reply to an August letter from ArborGen about GE trees the biotech company is developing for plantations. Significantly, the USDA said it will not require any oversight or regulation of the trees, which are loblolly pines common throughout the Southeast, the Center for Food Safety reported.

It is unprecedented for the federal government not to supply oversight to a genetically modified tree, the organization said. In fact, other GMO or GE trees are actually grown in USDA regulated field tests – and “none has been approved for commercial planting.”

But the government apparently has given ArborGen the OK not only to test the loblolly pines on its own but to grow them commercially. This means that the GMO wood could end up in your home in the form of either lumber or paper.

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“Forests are complex ecosystems, and GE trees could be very disruptive,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. “Instead of protecting our precious natural forests, USDA is allowing ArborGen to make a complete end-run around the regulatory system with this GE pine.”

The same problem seen with GMO crops could occur with GMO trees: Seeds and pollen of loblolly pines travelling over long distances, contaminating non-GMO trees and forests.

More than 20 varieties of birds and a copious amount of other native species make their habitats in and around the loblolly pine tree. The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker is among the birds that call the pine trees home. The loblolly pine is the leading commercial timber species in the southeast.

It isn’t fully known the purpose of having a genetically modified pine tree, although it is being engineered to have more dense wood.

Martha Crouch, a biologist working with the Center for Food Safety, warned against usage of the GMO tree, saying that “even seemingly small changes in characteristics of a key forest tree can have cascading impacts.”

The USDA claims that regulation isn’t required because “plant pests” – certain bacteria and viruses – are not used in the tree’s development.

“We are outraged at USDA’s complete abandonment of regulatory authority,” said Kimbrell. “This GE tree has the potential to contaminate natural forests and impact whole ecosystems.  We are exploring legal options to stop the dissemination of ArborGen’s unregulated GE loblolly pine, and to see that it and future GE trees are subject to the serious regulation and transparent risk assessment the public deserves.”

Do you think GMO trees pose risks to the environment and forest animals? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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4 comments

  1. No surprise here.
    The USDA is as worthless as the FDA; and that’s saying something.

  2. I am vehemently opposed to ANY GMOs and genetic tampering with ANY of nature!!!
    That is all an excuse for ownership and profits, wher it is commercialism destroying our nature to begin with!

  3. Plus GMO trees is nothing new.
    On about 2003, I woke up to men planting an unrequested tree on my front lawn. They said they were just planting them in the municipality. Of course they new costly trees would be more than welcome. No one says no to something free! Especially from the government. The trees turned out to have the most repugnant smell when flowering in the spring. 3 years after planting I learned they were GMO tress when a neighbor was having hers trimmed!! No wonder they were free!….
    But you do know no one gives you anything for free, right?….

    During rain storms they would crack, split, and branches would break everywhere just from the winds. They were also attracting lightening. No other trees in the neighborhood but these were breaking or attracting lightening. 8 trees were struck with lightening on my street alone. Two were struck twice. Now only half stand.

    When I learned they were GMO, I searched online and discovered the state program to bring GMO trees into our State highways and communities. It did not say why. I did find a paper talking about how weak GMO trees turned out to be… splitting and breaking easily! And yet in other reports trying to convince the public, GMO trees are described as “superb” and “sustainable.”
    Bull crap.

    A little further search I discovered that GMO trees were being genetically created to ABSORB BARIUM and other metals from the air in certain states, as their air was mysteriously polluted, but didn’t say why. I could not find info on this in my state. I also found that GMO trees (poplar and others) are being planted in forests.
    So didn’t I say my BARIUM LEVELS were off the charts??
    And DAILY CHEMTRAILS flung over my house??

    My question with this is:
    Is it possible that the mysterious and repeated attraction of lightning to these trees on my block and community…. possibly indicate that the GENETIC engineering done to trees to absorb the METAL BARIUM or ALLUMINUM may be the CAUSE of attracting lightening?????

    And if so….. going out on a gmo limb here…
    What may this be saying about the epidemic in recent years of “brush” fires? If these are also GMOs absorbing metals from the air…. I wonder what dry heat and direct sun upon the reflective surface of metals would produce?? Hmmmmm…

    Interestingly, our USDA with BRAZIL has patents on GMO aluminum resistant crop.
    Isn’t USDA who certifies our organic produce ?!?!?
    Hmmmmmmmmm…..
    But Monsanto has a list of patents for metals and pollution resistance in areas of chemtrails. And wants a whole other list of food plants! So what does HE know that we don’t know about metal pollution by chemtrails?!? … … this is getting craaazzy!

    • USDA PARTNERING WITH BRAZIL in researching aluminum resistance gene from sorghum for GMO crop. Sorghum is used as a staple in other countries and used for animal FEED.
      http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2008/081121.htm

      Researching and FINDING MEANS PATENTING…. here’s the PATENT!!
      http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7582809.html

      “…Plant physiologist Leon Kochian leads the ARS Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health in Ithaca, N.Y. For this research, he collaborated with Jurandir V. Magalhaes, a scientist with Embrapa Maize and Sorghum, a branch of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), Brazil’s federal agricultural research agency….”

      “…ARS and EMBRAPA researchers are now engaged in collaborative projects with plant breeders in Africa to develop aluminum-tolerant sorghum varieties for cultivation in African soils…”

      “…Read more about this research in the November/December 2008 issue of Agricultural Research magazine….”

      What’s the USDA -UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE- the one that REGULATES OUR ORGANIC PRODUCE, doing patenting GMOs???

      What conflict of interest is this???

      People sign NON-GMO PETITIONS left and right…. MARCH…demand and complain to your SUPERMARKETS for REAL whole foods and non-GMO, if you can’t grow your own foods!!

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