We Could Be Next

On May 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a request by ArborGen, a GMO trees company, to plant 260,000 cold-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees in seven states along the U.S. Gulf Coast: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. ArborGen next plans to commercially release GE eucalyptus for planting on millions of acres in these states. They already have a request pending with the USDA to do this.

Eucalyptus plantations are notoriously destructive—causing deadly wildfires, depleting fresh water, and escaping into native forests where they displace biodiversity and wildlife. If commercially released, GE eucalyptus plantations would threaten to replace precious native hardwood forests in the South due to the increased financial incentive to replace slow-growing native forest stands with monoculture plantations of GE eucalyptus that mature in as few as 3-5 years.

The danger of GE cold-tolerant eucalyptus is not limited to the U.S., however. If perfected here, ArborGen intends to export GE eucalyptus around the world. The cold tolerance trait will greatly expand the range where eucalyptus plantations can be developed and spread the disaster of eucalyptus plantations to new ecosystems and communities.

GE Eucalyptus trees are just the beginning. If GE eucalyptuses are approved, engineered versions of native trees, like poplar and pine will surely follow. which will inevitably and irreversibly contaminate native forests.

For more information on this issue, go to

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.

After Disaster in Montecito, Where Is All the Money Going?

Santa Barbara nonprofits account for millions spent on relief efforts.

Santa Barbara Experiences a Rainy March, but a Dry Year

Water year only 34 percent of normal for precipitation.