To Whom It May Concern,
I demand that all requests to plant or sell GE trees be rejected as GE trees are inherently dangerous and the full extent of their social and ecological risks is unknown and cannot properly be assessed. All plantings of GE trees, whether in field trials, plantations or forests should be prohibited.
The development of genetically engineered (GE) trees is another step in the wrong direction because:
- Genetic contamination of forests by GE trees is inevitable and irreversible. Trees can live for centuries and have evolved to spread their seeds and pollen over great distances. The impacts of contamination would be highly unpredictable. Contamination could also occur through the escape of invasive GE trees into forests.
- Some trees being genetically engineered – including the American chestnut, citrus, apple and oil palm – are sources of food.The health impacts from consuming fruits and other food products contaminated by GE trees are unknown.
- GE trees are a critical part of the ongoing, dangerous push to promote bioenergy, synthetic biology and the bioeconomy. The monopolization of land and water to grow GE tree plantations to replace a small percentage of fossil fuels will come at high costs, including worsening human rights abuses, accelerating loss of terrestrial biodiversity, and intensifying global water, food and climate crises.
- GE trees, especially those engineered to constantly produce insecticides, would directly and indirectly impact pollinators, other non-target insects, and songbirds as well as beneficial predators crucial for food production and the food chain.
- GE trees are part of the corporate capture and commodification of nature and threaten food sovereignty. Small farmers, forest dependent communities and Indigenous Peoples are threatened both by land grabs for GE tree plantations and by the impacts on forests, water and soil from the GE trees and the toxic agrochemicals used on the plantations. National policies and international trade regimes largely promote the development and deployment of industrial tree plantations and GE trees for the short-term economic benefit of a few transnational corporations to the long-term detriment of many.
- GE trees would lead to the expansion of industrial tree plantations as gains in productivity would make them more profitable. They would thus worsen the documented social and ecological impacts of these plantations. Impacts such as wildfires, loss of fresh water, depletion of soils, destruction of biodiversity and displacement of local communities.
I support and join the efforts of foresters, farmers, grassroots constituencies, local communities, Indigenous Peoples and civil society organizations in rejecting all GE trees outright and declaring that GE trees will only worsen, not help address, the multiple crises we face.