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Of forests and time in the culture of possession

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Forest biotechnology is moving on a separate path, away from U.S. agbiotech business models. Now is the time to define its research charter broadly defined to the benefit of more of the world's forests, well beyond its current focus on intensively managed GE forest plantations. This became evident when forest biotechnology officially took a separate path during the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization's AgBiotech Conference held in Guadalajara Mexico in March 2-6, 2010. My aims here are twofold: 1) to map forest biotechnology's path away from U.S. agbiotech business models although its momentum can be traced to forestry's long timelines, a feature notably absent in agriculture, and 2) to broadly defined its research charter, a research charter defined here as forest biotechnology sensu lato. I propose that forest biotechnology's narrow focus on planting GE plantations be exchanged in favor of a research charter which emphasizes policy-relevant climate change research, basic research, and even molecular manufacturing. In recognition of its separate path from agbiotech models, forest biotechnology sensu lato should focus on both naturally regenerated and planted tropical forests.

Keywords: Convention on Biodiversity; domestication; forest biotechnology; genetic modification (GM) trees; genetically engineered (GE) trees

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Forest History Society & National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Durham NC, USA.

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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