World Rainforest Movement

Genetically Modified Trees

The main focus of genetic engineering research has been on forcing some naturally-occurring genes to be overactive, silencing others, or inserting genes from one species into another. The objectives are many, for example, pulp producers look forward to create eucalyptus and pine varieties with a lower lignin content, while biomass tree producers for energy purposes look for a higher lignin content. Also, increasing trees’ pest or drought resistance is a purpose for GE techniques. One of the main risks of these techniques is biological contamination through pollination, allowing the spread over longdistances via air. One of the biggest problems is the unreliable science of the process of manipulating genes itself: our current understanding of what genes do and how life is formed, as well as of how genes behave when transplanted to other species, is very limited.


  • Brazil: Open Letter Against Tree Monocultures

    Posted on September 27, 2019

    A threat spreads across our territories. Under the misleading name of “reforestation”, which sounds quite nice, huge plantations of exotic – and even genetically engineered – trees have been set up in Brazil by transnational corporations. True “green deserts” lead to the extinction of countless species of our fauna and flora and changed the fundamental characteristics of our incredible natural and cultural landscapes, with clear social and environmental impacts, threatening the traditional ways of life of peoples and communities.

    As the first country in Latin America to deregulate a genetically engineered tree (a eucalyptus species) and with a favorable political environment, Brazil has become a reference for transnational companies to carry out their projects. Precisely for this reason, the World Congress of IUFRO – International Union of Forest Research Organizations – will be held in Brazil, between September 29th and October 5th, in Curitiba, Paraná. We reject this corporate event, where false solutions and new ways to increase corporate profits will be discussed, at the expense of the commons.

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  • News from the 12th Conference of the Parties of the CBD

    Posted on October 13, 2014

    The 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is taking place in South Korea. There are several issues being addressed by the COP 12 such as biodiversity and ecosystems conservation, invasive...

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  • Open letter delivered to the Brazilian National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio)

    Posted on May 30, 2014

    To: Brazilian National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) We, the undersigned, have been informed that FuturaGene, a biotechnology firm wholly owned by the pulp and paper company Suzano, has submitted a request for commercial planting...

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  • WRM information sheets on GE tree research

    Posted on November 17, 2009

    Where? Which trees? What for? By who? Who support? Who regulates? Who oppose?  Research on genetically engineered trees is being currently carried out in a number of countries and yours can be one of them! WRM has produced information...

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Articles from the WRM Bulletin

Books and Briefings


Other Relevant Information


  • Impacts of monoculture tree plantations

    Posted on September 27, 2019

    Testimonies from the meeting “Threats and Impacts of Genetically Engineered Trees (GE-trees) Monoculture”, that took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in April 2019.

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  • What are GE-trees?

    Posted on September 27, 2019

    Anne Petermann, coordinator of the global Stop GE-Trees Campaign, explains what Genetically Engineered trees are, the risks, uncertainties and context.

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