Brazil: stop the Frankentrees!

Eucalyptus trees planted in straight lines on the industrial plantation of a Brazilian paper company This is not a forest: an industrial eucalyptus plantation in Brazil
103,748 supporters

End of campaign: May 6, 2015

South American environmentalists and smallholders are sounding the alarm: genetically engineered eucalyptus trees are ready to leave the laboratory and be planted on vast industrial plantations in Brazil – all that’s missing is the government’s green light. Please speak out before it’s too late.

Call to action

To: The Brazilian government and ministries

Tell the Brazilian government to reject the commercial release of GE trees. Nature is more important than the profits of a single corporation.

Read letter

On March 5, 2015, one thousand protesters occupied the premises of FuturaGene, a biotechnology company, in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. They are opposed to plans to create industrial plantations of genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees. The people uprooted thousands of GE saplings in the company’s greenhouses.

At the same time, 300 smallholders occupied the office of the National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) in the capital Brasilia. The commission, a part of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, will decide shortly whether to authorize the commercial release of GE trees.

FuturaGene, a subsidiary of Brazil’s pulp and paper giant Suzano, has been experimenting with genetically engineered eucalyptus trees for years. Such trees would worsen the impact of industrial plantations on the environment and local residents.

Trees in present eucalyptus plantations need seven years until maturity, while GE trees would be ready to harvest in only four years. The faster growth would speed up soil degradation and require considerably more water. Current eucalyptus plantations already consume 25 to 30 liters per tree per day. Is this really an appropriate crop for a country currently experiencing water rationing due to a catastrophic drought?

Eucalyptus monocultures already occupy over five million hectares of land in Brazil – an area two and a half times the size of Wales.

Please sign our petition and tell the Brazilian government to put nature before the profits of a single corporation.

Back­ground

Article and campaign by the Uruguayan NGO World Rainforest Movement:

Urgent: GE Eucalyptus to be approved in Brazil

Brasil de Fato article, March 3, 2015: “Com protesto de centenas de camponesas, CTNBio adia decisão sobre eucalipto transgênico” (in Portuguese)

MST press release, March 3, 2015: “Após ocupação na Suzano, outros 300 camponeses ocupam prédio da CTNBio” (in Portuguese)

Letter

To: The Brazilian government and ministries

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I call on you to reject FuturaGene’s application to plant genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees in open plantations.

Industrial eucalyptus monocultures in Brazil already cover an area of five million hectares, displacing natural ecosystems and the people living there. The plantations offer no habitat for animals or other plants.

Furthermore, the fast-growing trees degrade the soil and require considerable amounts of water. Brazil is already suffering a catastrophic drought and water rationing, a problem that would be exacerbated by the voracious water consumption of GE trees.

The trees would also endanger bees and the livelihoods of half a million beekeepers and honey producers in Brazil. Exports of organic honey account for 80 percent of national production and contamination by pollen from GE trees would render that honey unmarketable.

In view of these threats, we call on you not to approve the commercial release of GE trees. Please do not place the business interests of a single corporation before the protection of nature and the welfare of the citizens of Brazil and the world.

Sincerely,