SAVE Our Roots

An Indigenous People’s Campaign to Save Our Natural Forests

Our forests are in grave danger from climate change, deforestation, human encroachment and now from genetically engineered (GE) trees that are being designed and marketed as a “green” solution to our energy needs. GE trees, although not mentioned specifically, are also being added to government legislation (Acts/Plans/funding sources) and being promoted to tribal governments as sustainable economic development and part of a healthy forest management plan.

The Indigenous Environmental Network’s SAVE Our Roots campaign is reaching out to tribal governments, Indigenous community groups and private land owners to counter the false information and pressure from government, biotech, agriculture, energy, and academia to cultivate GE tree plantations for biomass, biofuel, and consumer pulp products.

synthetic forests

GE trees pose a very real and significant threat to our natural forests and all Life on Mother Earth. Genetic engineering violates Indigenous peoples’ fundamental rights to live in harmony with nature and to practice our cultural and spiritual beliefs in recognition of the Natural Laws of Creation. The propagation and use of GE trees as a natural resource and commodity for increased pulp and energy production will compromise and destroy the delicate regenerative biodiversity and life-cycles of Mother Earth.


This is NOT a forest! Nothing truly alive lives here.

This is NOT a forest! Nothing truly alive lives here.

The growing of GE trees is a risk towards: The Rights of Mother Earth; land tenure and subsistence rights of Indigenous Peoples; depletion of precious ground water reserves; increases the use of deadly herbicides and pesticides; continues the release of greenhouse gas emissions and microscopic pollutants; and are a false solution towards mitigating climate change.

Biomass energy and liquid fuels production are two of the major uses planned for genetically engineered trees.


Harvesting the wood... NOT sustainable - NOT Green Photo Credit: World Rainforest Movement

Harvesting the wood… NOT sustainable – NOT Green Photo Credit: World Rainforest Movement

Legislation and acts currently being considered and making their way through the government process, include language that, on the surface, would seem to give tribal governments more control over forest management and energy production on tribal trust lands. In reality, the language is purposely vague and leaves the door open for the continued exploitation of fossil fuel and mineral resources which now, if not stopped, will include growing genetically engineered trees to fuel the new bioenergy and consumer pulp economy.




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We reject the efforts by the biotech, agriculture, biofuel/biomass industries, governments and their agencies to commodify trees for commercial use at the expense of the earth’s delicate biodiversity and climate stability.

DOWNLOADarrowsGE Trees/Tree Plantations

The monopolization of land and water to grow GE trees to replace a fraction of the fossil fuels needed as energy demands increase will worsen human rights abuses and intensify global water, food, and climate crises.


GE trees are part of the commodification of nature and a component of carbon trading / carbon offsets and will  further displace Indigenous and front-line and traditional communities worldwide.


GE trees do not belong in the complex ecosystem as they have been forcibly contaminated with genetic material from totally unrelated lifeforms. Altering them in this way violates natural law.

Government Funded Research
  • US Departments of Energy
  • US Department of Defense
  • US Dept. of Interior
  • US Dept. of Agriculture
  • US Dept. of Transportation
  • US Dept. of Energy, Joint Genome Institute
  • USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
  • US Forest Service
Resistance Organizations
  • Global Justice Ecology Project
  • Dogwood Alliance
  • Sierra Club
  • World Rainforest Movement
  • EcoNexis
  • Canadian Biotechnology Action Network
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Center for Food Safety
  • BiofuelWatch
  • Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Everglades Earth First!
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering

*Partial list

Corporate Funded GE Research


  • Arborgen
  • Duke Energy
  • Edenspace Systems Corporation
  • FuturaGene
  • International Paper Company
  • MeadWestVaco
  • Monsanto Fund
  • Okanagan Specialty Fruits
  • Rubicon Ltd.
  • Southern Garden Citrus
  • U.S. Sugar Corporation
  • Weyerhauser
GE Trees in Development
  • Poplars (Populus sp.)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus sp.) (commercial application pending)
  • American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)
  • Pine (Pinus sp.)
  • English Walnut (Juglans regia)
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
  • American Elm (Ulmus americana)
  • Loblolly Pine – Approved for commercial planting – January 2015

The following industry and trade groups support genetically engineered trees:

The American Chestnut Foundation
Biofuels Center of North Carolina
Fagaceae Genomics Web
Forest Health Initiative
Institute of Forest Biotechnology
National Hardwood Lumber Association
Northern Nut Growers Association
US Endowment for Forestry and Communities
Wild Turkey Federation

Academic GE Research
  • Carnegie Institution for Science – Stanford
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of California – Davis
  • University of California – Riverside
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • University of British Columbia – Vancouver
  • Texas A&M University
  • Illinois State University
  • Michigan State University – East Lansing
  • University of Toledo
  • University of New Hampshire – Durham
  • Cornell University – Ithaca
  • Dartmouth College – Hanover, New Hampshire
  • West Virginia University – Morgantown
  • University of Tennessee – Knoxville
  • North Carolina State University – Raleigh
  • Georgia Institue of Technology – Atlanta
  • University of Georgia – Athens
  • University of North Texas
  • Clemson – South Carolina
  • Mississippi State
  • Oregon State
  • Pennsylvania State
  • Purdue
  • Washington State
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Virginia Tech
  • Hawaii Manoa

*Partial list

Trials & Permits
  • The US has almost 900 acres (360 hectares) of genetically engineered tree field trials across 20 states, mainly in the U.S. South, Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest. The vast majority of these are in three species: 355 acres of field trials are in GE eucalyptus and 322 acres are in GE poplars. GE Lobolly pines are planted in more than 150 acres. (For an overview see:
  • In July 2009, ArborGen received approval from the U.S. government (USDA) to plant some 260,000 GE eucalyptus trees in 29 field trials covering over 330 acres in seven US states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas). These GE eucalyptus, a hybrid of Eucalyptus grandis X Eucalyptus urophylla, are engineered to tolerate colder temperatures, produce less lignin, and digest some of their own RNA in the hope of reducing fertility (a Terminator-type genetic technology). (1)
  • On December 31, 2011 ArborGen submitted a petition to the US government (USDA APHIS) requesting permission – the first in the USA –  to commercially release freeze tolerant GE eucalyptus. This application has been heavily opposed by several groups, arguing that Eucalyptus trees are not native to the US and are a documented invasive species; they are also highly flammable and known to deplete ground water. In 2014 APHIS announced that it is voluntarily preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  This EIS indicates at least that the agency is aware of both the potentially severe environmental impacts these GE trees will have and the overwhelming public opposition to them. In the agency’s history, however, APHIS has never rejected an industry request to deregulate a GE plant.

Open Letter to CTNBio to reject GE Trees in Brazil

GE Eucalyptus

The International Campaign to STOP GE Trees urges the Brazilian government and CTNBio to refuse Futuragene’s request to plant GE trees in Brazil.

The Campaign to STOP GE Trees, including Biofuelwatch, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Global Justice Ecology Project, Indigenous Environmental Network, World Rainforest Movement, released the following statement in support of the “Open Letter to CTNBio”: The Campaign to Stop GE Trees, an international coalition founded in 2004, supports a global ban on commercial deregulation of genetically engineered trees (also known as genetically modified trees) based on serious concerns about their impacts on biodiversity and human rights. The Campaign supports the position expressed herein, in solidarity with the “Open Letter to CTNBio” from Brazilian and Latin American groups, that calls upon CTNBio to reject the request by the Futuragene corporation for commercial approval of GE trees in Brazil.

read more

GE Trees and Indigenous Lands


TELEPress Conference – Sponsored by the Campaign To Stop GE Trees

Indigenous peoples are now facing continued and new forms of exploitation in the guise of renewable, sustainable and green development from genetically engineered trees for energy production. The other experts on this panel present the government, academic and private entities involved and others have presented the science-based reasons that the insertion and proliferation of GE trees into our natural world will further threaten both environmental and human health.

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Click here to View – Print – Download the info booklet below.


Genetically Engineered Trees – The Increasing Threat

The Growing Threat Genetically Engineered Trees – Award winning documentary film explores the growing global threat of genetically engineered trees to our environment and to human health. The film features David Suzuki, who explores the unknown and possibly disastrous consequences of improperly tested GE methods. Producer: tankerenemy. Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

Threatened Forests

This film reveals the hidden truth behind “green energy” in the EU. It’s being shown on the month of May, a moment when the European Commission is consulting stakeholders on sustainable bioenergy policy.

If you’re short on time:

  1. The film starts in France, with an alarming tale of a huge biomass project that is driving clearcutting there.
  2. Discussion of USA impacts from pellet manufacture starts at minute 25
  3. Excursion to North Carolina hardwood swamp that is being clearcut starts at minute 34
  4. Canada forest impacts starts at minute 41
  5. Example of “forest certification” at minute 46

Also can be viewed here: