Genetically engineered trees for plantation forests: key considerations for environmental risk assessment
Article first published online: 5 AUG 2013
© 2013 ILSI Research Foundation. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology, Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Plant Biotechnology Journal
Volume 11, Issue 7, pages 785–798, September 2013
How to Cite
2013) Genetically engineered trees for plantation forests: key considerations for environmental risk assessment. Plant Biotechnol. J., doi: 10.1111/pbi.12100, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 20 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 5 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 18 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 26 MAR 2013
- genetic engineering;
- risk assessment
Forests are vital to the world's ecological, social, cultural and economic well-being yet sustainable provision of goods and services from forests is increasingly challenged by pressures such as growing demand for wood and other forest products, land conversion and degradation, and climate change. Intensively managed, highly productive forestry incorporating the most advanced methods for tree breeding, including the application of genetic engineering (GE), has tremendous potential for producing more wood on less land. However, the deployment of GE trees in plantation forests is a controversial topic and concerns have been particularly expressed about potential harms to the environment. This paper, prepared by an international group of experts in silviculture, forest tree breeding, forest biotechnology and environmental risk assessment (ERA) that met in April 2012, examines how the ERA paradigm used for GE crop plants may be applied to GE trees for use in plantation forests. It emphasizes the importance of differentiating between ERA for confined field trials of GE trees, and ERA for unconfined or commercial-scale releases. In the case of the latter, particular attention is paid to characteristics of forest trees that distinguish them from shorter-lived plant species, the temporal and spatial scale of forests, and the biodiversity of the plantation forest as a receiving environment.