United Nations Promotes Tree Plantations and Genetically Engineered Trees, Threatening Forests and Communities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 18 May 2005
Contact: Simone Lovera, Friends of the Earth International,
UN General Headquarters, New York City (U.S.)—The United Nations Forum on Forests, meeting this and next week in New York, is promoting the conversion of native forests into industrial monoculture tree plantations. “Over the course of the next century, the greatest threat to native forests is the rampant replacement by monoculture tree plantations which include plantations of genetically engineered trees,” stated Simone Lovera, of Friends of the Earth International. “ This trend is happening all over the world, threatening forest dwelling and indigenous communities and devastating biodiversity,” she continued.
“Monoculture tree plantations have documented negative environmental, social and economic impacts,” agreed Ana Filippini of World Rainforest Movement. “It is astonishing that the UNFF persists in promoting these tree plantations that destroy forests, grasslands and wetlands, deplete water and food for wildlife, cause people to be evicted from their homelands, and deprive them of their livelihoods—and have a particularly profound impact on indigenous peoples and women,” she added. 
This trend toward industrial forestry is echoed in other agencies of the UN. Recently exposed was the UN’s role in the widespread development of plantations of genetically engineered poplar trees, modified to kill insects, throughout regions of China.
In 1990 the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) began working with China to develop GE tree plantations. While the exact area planted with GE trees is unknown, it is estimated that since 2002, over 2,500 hectares of GE insect-resistant poplars have been planted. Without oversight to control the pollination of these trees, contamination of native forests with engineered traits is inevitable.  This will lead to severe ecological disruptions in these forests. 
In December 2003, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed that GE trees could be used in forestry plantations developed to offset carbon emissions from the industrialized North. “The PR propaganda emerging from the promoters of GE tree technology that these franken-trees will help stop global warming is absurd,” stated Anne Petermann of the Global Justice Ecology Project, adding “native forests are critically important carbon sinks. If released, GE trees, which can pollinate for hundreds of miles, will contaminate and devastate native forests, exacerbating global warming.” 
The preceding release is a joint statement from Friends of the Earth International, World Rainforest Movement, Global Forest Coalition, Global Justice Ecology Project and the STOP GE Trees Campaign.
The Problems with Monoculture Tree Plantations and Genetically Engineered Trees:
 Fast-growing plantations of trees have been documented
to rapidly deplete groundwater and cause desertification of soils,
devastating nearby forests and communities.
 Researchers at Duke University have found that trees
spread pollen for up to 2,000 kilometers.
 Engineering trees for herbicide resistance will
lead to increased applications of toxic chemicals causing water contamination
and poisoning of wildlife and humans.
 The World Resources Institute and the U.S. EPA found
that, in tropical regions, plantations at best store 1/4 the carbon
of native forests. Therefore the replacement of native forests by
plantations will worsen global warming.
For additional information including documented sources,
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