White Paper on Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Trees Released

Report details risks and corporate influence involved in plan to use iconic American Chestnut tree as Trojan Horse to win regulatory approval for genetically engineered trees


New York- An in-depth white paper produced by the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees, Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) and Biofuelwatch was released today describing the science and risks associated with plans to release genetically engineered American chestnut trees (GE AC) into forests. If approved it would be the first GMO plant allowed to grow freely in the wild.

Biotechnology For Forest Health? The Test Case Of The Genetically Engineered American Chestnut [1] is a detailed forty-nine page report that focuses on the controversial effort to use the American Chestnut tree, which has suffered tremendous population loss due to blight and overlogging, as a test case to allow the unregulated planting of it and other GE forest trees in wild forests and plantations.

As set out by the report’s main authors, Dr. Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch and Anne Petermann of GJEP [2,3] in the report’s executive summary, “The release of GE AC into forests would be a massive and irreversible experiment. The introduction of GE AC could not only fail, but also create new problems and exacerbate existing pressures on forest ecosystems.”

The summary also states that, ”Decisions about the introduction of GE AC will set a regulatory precedent and set the stage for the future of forest genetics. Biotechnology cannot save our forests. We need to focus on real solutions.”

The promotion of the GE AC by the American Chestnut Foundation inspired the recent resignation of two of its board members, including the president of the Massachusetts/ Rhode Island Chapter.

Contact: Press Secretary Steve Taylor +1.314.210.1322  steve@globaljusticeecology.org

In addition to The Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Biofuelwatch and Global Justice Ecology Project, the network of groups collaborating to prevent the regulatory approval of GE trees in North America includes Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Indigenous Environmental Network, Rural Coalition and Shawnee Forest Defense!

Notes to Editors:

  1. The White Paper and Executive Summary can be found at https://stopgetrees.org/chestnut-report/
  2. National Academies of Science, webinar presentation on GE trees by Dr. Rachel Smolker and Anne Petermann 3/27/18
  3. The Hill Op-Ed on GE AC by Dr. Rachel Smolker and Anne Petermann 3/28/18
  4. Counterpunch commentary on GE AC by GJEP 3/7/2019
  5. A website for the report has been set up at https://stopgetrees.org/chestnut
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