At their booth at the NSTA meeting in Atlanta last week, Weyerhaeuser proudly proclaimed they had genetically modified Douglas Fir trees to grow to a harvestable size in 30 to 40 years (they neglected to mention any other effects on the tree or the local environment). That “genetically modified” moniker was notably absent from the packets of “Douglas Fir” seeds they were giving out to teachers to take back to their classrooms (though the rep said they were GM seeds). It also seems to be missing from their product page on Douglas Firs.

In the grand scheme of things, using renewable resources like wood is good. Harvesting and producing wood in an environmentally friendly way is also good (not clearcutting, replacing what you’ve cut down with a mix of species, etc.). Weyerhaeuser seems to be interested in doing just that (or at least they talk a lot about it). But, I think it’s inappropriate to replace harvested natural fir trees with genetically modified ones, especially since much of their logging takes place on federally owned land. I think it’s equally bad to give out seeds that are genetically modified but not labelled as such. So, bad Weyerhaeuser.

posted April 6, 2004 – 7:55 am
Old News
Log in