Support modern forest biotechnology research
- Cornell Alliance for Science
- Forest Stewardship Council; Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification; and retailers and
As stresses on forests mount due to invasive pests and climate change, genetic engineering has the potential to save threatened species and stop the spread of environmentally harmful pathogens. This technology should be promoted as a tool for supporting health forests.
Instead, trees developed using newer forms of biotechnology, such as gene editing and genetic engineering, currently are banned from forests that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and nearly every other Sustainable Forest Management System (SFM).
The bans prevent organizations certified under FSC and PEFC from using biotech trees for any reason — even to save a species against an invasive pest. These trees may not be planted on certified lands, thereby impeding critical scientific research and limiting their ultimate use by society.
Forest certification systems are widely used to help ensure that forest management and derived goods are produced using environmentally and socially desirable methods. It is critical to base certification criteria on sound scientific principles and evidence to promote consumer confidence in certified products. A strong science foundation is also essential to ensure that certification systems do not recklessly impede research and innovation.
Our forests are in trouble. Biotechnology can help us find solutions!
Given the myriad threats to forests, the growing need for sustainable and renewable forest products, and the increasing precision of biotechnologies, we believe that genetically engineered trees have a place in certified forests.
Global forest certification systems that ban any research, planting, and use of trees modified with rDNA biotechnology contradict scientific opinion and findings. We, the undersigned, call for an immediate review of these restrictive policies.
Background information on biotech trees and the full text of the petition can be found at this web site:
A press release can be found here:
The Support modern forest biotechnology research petition to Forest Stewardship Council; Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification; and retailers and was written by Cornell Alliance for Science and is in the category Science & Technology at GoPetition.