Lorna Howarth wrote an excellent essay for UK’s Ecologist on the UK’s move to biomass power stations and importing of wood to feed them. She criticizes the need to import wood pellets from tree plantations to feed these stations, and the push this is causing to GE trees.
Worryingly, and in parallel to these concerns, the Global Justice Ecology Project is raising the alarm in response to industry plans to develop genetically-engineered eucalyptus plantations in the southern United States: South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. “GE eucalyptus trees are a disaster waiting to happen,” says GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann. “It is critical that the USDA rejects them before it is too late.” Petermann coordinates the international STOP GE Trees Campaign, which has collected thousands of signatures supporting a ban on GE trees due to their potentially catastrophic impacts on communities and forests.
“In addition to being invasive, eucalyptus trees are explosively flammable. In a region that has been plagued by droughts in recent years, developing plantations of an invasive, water-greedy and fire-prone tree is foolhardy and dangerous,” Petermann continued.
Howarth concludes, “Replacing one destructive fuel with another is not the answer.” Absolutely!