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Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- International Paper Co., the world’s largest pulp and paper maker, plans to remake commercial forests in the same way Monsanto Co. revolutionized farms with genetically modified crops.
International Paper’s ArborGen joint venture with MeadWestvaco Corp. and New Zealand’s Rubicon Ltd. is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sell the first genetically engineered forest trees outside China. The Australian eucalyptus trees are designed to survive f
Engineered eucalyptus trees could be an ecological disaster, bringing increased fire risk and extraordinary water consumption to a new environment, said Neil J. Carman, an Austin, Texas-based member of the Sierra Club’s genetic engineering committee. Easier-to-pulp trees will be weak, and hurricanes will spread their pollen and contaminate native forests, he said.
“These are Frankenforests,” Carman said. “You are tampering with Mother Nature in a big way by putting genetically engineered trees out there.”