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GE Eucalyptus

Center for Food Safety

In both the U.S. and Brazil, industry is pushing for the approval of GE eucalyptus in particular.  These GE trees are going forward despite the wide range of environmental issues already linked to eucalyptus plantations, such as:

Threats to Biodiversity: Eucalyptus plantations should never be confused with actual forests. Biodiversity levels suffer as a result of eucalyptus ability to outcompete other types of vegetation and the lack of any benefits from them for wildlife; such plantations are known as “ecological deserts.”  Engineering them will only increase this problem.

Intensive Water Use: There are a host of hydrological issues associated with eucalyptus plantations.  According to the U.S. Forest Service, eucalyptus in the southeastern U.S. will use twice as much water as native forests, will reduce stream flow, and will lower the water table.[1]

High Flammability: Due to lower water tables and flammable leaf litter, eucalyptus plantations are susceptible to high frequency and intensity wildfires.[2]   

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[1] APHIS, “Final Environmental Assessment April 2012 (11-052-101rm),” (2012): 60, available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/aphisdocs/11_052101rm_fea.pdf

[2] Dan Forster, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, GDNR Comments on Docket No. APHIS-2008-0059, (February 18 2012),  available at http://truefoodnow.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/georgia-wildlife-resources-div-comments.pdf

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