Trees Action and Forest Biotech 99 Conference, Oxford

The campaign against GE in forestry kicked off the week of the Forest Biotech 99 conference, with news that AstraZeneca's plantation of GM poplar trees had been felled and ring-barked by eco-lumberjacks. These trees have a reduced lignin content which the industry claims, in typical greenwash language, means there will be less pollution from pulp processing. Truly environmental solutions would be more recycling, less paper use, and diversifying our source materials, for example, using hemp. Whilst this attack has undoubtedly put back research, AstraZeneca claims that 48 of the trees were mature enough to pulp for paper making. A demonstration also took place outside the conference during the week, with the beautiful old tree outside being dressed and turned into a wishing tree.