Opposition to biotech threatens health of forests, experts say

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A coalition of forest scientists, including Steve Strauss of Oregon State University, is calling for an immediate review of international policies that the group says put unreasonable and harmful limitations on biotech research.

This petition follows on the release of a major report on The Potential for Biotechnology to Address Forest Health from the National Academy of Sciences that has identified biotechnologies as key tools for helping to manage forest health and associated pest epidemics.

The petition hosted by the Alliance for Science is asking sustainable forest management systems –  among them the Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, two key certifying bodies – to take a look at their views opposing genetically modified trees “and bring them in line with current scientific evidence.”

Related article:  GMOs are 'substantially equivalent' to conventional foods. Should they face reduced regulations?

“Even rDNA tree research outside of certified forest areas is restricted to the point of stopping an organization from developing a useful tree,” the petition asserts. “FSC bans organizations that are directly or indirectly involved in the introduction of genetically modified organisms in forestry operations. The result of these bans and research restrictions is to stop the very thing sustainable forest management systems demand they need before making an informed decision: information.”

Read full, original article: OSU scientist, others urge review of forest biotech limits

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