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This MST camp in Espirito Santo, Brazil was established after the MST reclaimed the land from an Aracruz Cellulose eucalyptus plantation.  The banner reads “Eucalyptus Plantations are not Forests.” Photo: Langelle/GJEP

SAO PAULO, Dec. 23, 2008 (RISI) – ArborGen aims to market its first genetically modified eucalyptus by 2012 as soon as Brazilian legislation approves the cultivation and commercialization of these products. Established in Campinas, São Paulo state, southeast Brazil, in 2004, the global company is working with pulp and paper producers from Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.

ArborGen currently tests genetically modified eucalyptus as well as regular pine clones. “We’re focusing on generating more efficient eucalyptus and pinus in order to improve wood yield as well as to reduce the use of chemicals during the pulp production process,” Robinson Cannaval Jr., ArborGen’s director said.

Brazil, Chile and Uruguay provide good conditions for wood genetic studies. “Brazil has a large advantage for its lands extension area. According to FAO, the country controls 4.9 million ha of planted forests, which represents only 0.9% of Brazilian lands,” Cannaval emphasized.

The countries have technical skills for eucalyptus and pinus genetic improvements. “Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have several features for pulp manufacturing processes with high rates of quality and productivity. I believe, though, Uruguay needs to develop its logistical infrastructure in terms of wood shipping, harbor facilities as well as other models of transportation such as roads.”

Currently, 80% of the key pulp players of South America work with ArborGen. The company was created by International Paper, MeadWestvaco and Rubicon.