Note: GJEP has worked with the Mapuche in Chile to stop genetically engineered trees.
GJEP teams up weekly with Margaret Prescod and the Sojourner Truth show for an Earth Minute and a 12-minute EarthWatch interview every Thursday covering front line environmental news from across the globe.
Note: We released this short 5 minute video on the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations in 2010, but it is as relevant now as it was then. We dedicate it in the memory of World Rainforest Movement’s Ricardo Carrere, a friend and great leader in the struggle to protect the world’s forests. ¡Ricardo Carrere Presente!
–The GJEP Team
Southern U.S. States Targeted for Genetically Engineered Tree Plantations
United States–Today is the International Day Against Tree Monocultures . Across the globe, timber plantations are wreaking havoc on forests and forest dependent communities. Now, to further exacerbate this damage, genetically engineered trees (or GE trees) pose a new and unprecedented threat.
The Dogwood Alliance’s Executive Director, Danna Smith said, “The USDA recently approved a request by GE tree company ArborGen, headquartered in South Carolina, to plant over a quarter of a million genetically engineered eucalyptus trees across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina, —many of the same regions still trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. This would be another disaster for the region.”
Like kudzu, eucalyptus trees are wildly invasive, and spread into native ecosystems, displacing wildlife. Additionally, the oil in these eucalyptus trees is extremely flammable. California spends millions each year to eradicate invasive eucalyptus because of the threat of wildfires. In 2009 over 200 people were killed in Australia in a firestorm fuelled by eucalyptus. It was the worst fire in the country’s history.
On July 1, 2010 Global Justice Ecology Project, Dogwood Alliance, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, and the International Center for Technology Assessment filed a lawsuit to stop ArborGen’s GE eucalyptus due to their potential impacts .
“It’s time for people to understand that GE trees must be banned and that plantations are not forests,” remarked Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project Co-Director/Strategist.
NOTES to Editors:  In 2004, September 21st was declared the International Day Against Tree Monocultures by organizations throughout the world. On this day, people in every continent carry out actions to generate awareness about the impacts of large scale tree monocultures on communities and their environments. For more info, see www.wrm.org.uy
Listen to Global Justice Ecology Project’s Executive Director, Anne Petermann in this week’s Earth Minute. Anne points out how wood-based bioenergy is neither clean nor green as it destroys forests, negatively impacts human and environmental health, and worsens climate change.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Approves Release of GE Trees
USDA Approves ArborGen’s Request to Plant 260,000 Genetically Engineered Eucalyptus Trees Across U.S. South
Yesterday the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service issued its decision to approve the mass-release of over a quarter of a million GE eucalyptus trees across seven states in the U.S. South (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina), despite overwhelming public opposition.
“We are very disappointed but not surprised by the USDA’s decision, which is likely to have severe social and environmental impacts,” stated Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign. “The USDA’s final environmental assessment disregarded concerns raised by thousands of people in comments submitted opposing the release of GE eucalyptus trees.”
The STOP GE Trees Campaign, which includes organizations, foresters and scientists from across the U.S. and around the world is preparing its next steps following the USDA decision.
Simone Lovera, Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition said from her office in Asuncion, Paraguay, “This is not only bad for the U.S. This decision could open the door globally to these cold-tolerant eucalyptus and other transgenic trees which would have serious impacts on Indigenous and forest dwelling peoples around the world and lead to more biodiversity loss.”
– Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator, STOP GE Trees Campaign, +1.802.578.0477
– Scot Quaranda, Campaigns Director, Dogwood Alliance, +1.828.251.2525 x 18