World Rainforest Movement

Genetically engineered eucalyptus plantations: And then there were four…

Several months ago (see WRM Bulletin 172) we reported on the plans of Suzano Papel e Celulose S. A. – the world’s second largest pulp producer – to invest in biomass plantations. Biomass energy is one of the market-driven false “solutions” to climate change. It promotes land grabbing and diverts attention from the need to effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions at the source.

Now we have learned that in November 2011, FuturaGene Ltd. U.K., bought by Suzano in 2010, obtained authorization from the Brazilian National Technical Commission on Biosecurity (CTNBio) for a field trial of genetically modified eucalyptus trees. The trees have been engineered to alter their lignin and cellulose content in order to increase the yield of eucalyptus plantations for biomass production. This is the company’s fourth trial in Brazil using genetic engineering despite the denunciations of the serious risks it poses for the environment and life in general (see WRM Bulletins 44, 119, 171 and various other WRM articles on this subject).

Suzano currently holds 722,000 hectares of land in Brazil, of which 324,000 hectares are planted with eucalyptus.