Press Release: White Paper on Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Trees Released

En Español: Publicado el Libro Blanco sobre los castaños transgénicos

For more information contact: 

Lorette Picciano, Executive Director, Rural Coalition, Phone: 202 628-7161, Email:

Annie Lorrie Anderson-Lazo, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation, Email:


Press Advisory

The Rural Coalition, representing over 50 community-based organizations working in diverse land-based communities across the nation, has raised concerns over many years about protecting the health of forests and grasslands. We share with you news of an important new report that details the dangers of releasing genetically engineered tree varieties into the wild.

We urge you to read and report on the “White Paper on Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Trees” to be released on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 by the Stop GE Trees Campaign. Rural Coalition has been working with the Campaign since 2017.

Please see details in the release from Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees and its partners.


White Paper on Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Trees Released

Report details dangers and corporate influence involved in plan to use iconic American Chestnut tree as Trojan Horse to win regulatory approval for genetically engineered trees

New York- An in-depth white paper produced by the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees, Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) and Biofuelwatch was released today describing the science and risks associated with plans to release genetically engineered American chestnut trees (GE AC) into forests. If approved it would be the first GMO plant allowed to grow freely in the wild.


Biotechnology For Forest Health? The Test Case Of The Genetically Engineered American Chestnut [1] is a detailed forty-nine page report that focuses on the controversial effort to use the American Chestnut tree, which has suffered tremendous population loss due to blight and overlogging, as a test case to allow the unregulated planting of it and other GE forest trees in wild forests and plantations. 


As set out by the report’s main authors, Dr. Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch and Anne Petermann of GJEP [2,3] in the report’s executive summary, “The release of GE AC into forests would be a massive and irreversible experiment. The engineered AC is highly unlikely to enable successful restoration of AC to our forests and therefore it is not worth taking the risks. The real reason this GE AC is being promoted so strongly is as a public relations tool to gain support for the use of biotechnology on forest trees. But biotechnology cannot save our forests. We need to focus on real solutions.”


The summary also states that, “Decisions about the introduction of GE AC will set a regulatory precedent and set the stage for the future of forest genetics.”


The promotion of the GE AC by the American Chestnut Foundation inspired the recent resignation of two of its board members, including the president of the Massachusetts/Rhode Island Chapter.


Contact: To schedule interviews with white paper authors, contact Press Secretary Steve Taylor at +1.314.210.1322


In addition to The Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Biofuelwatch and Global Justice Ecology Project, the network of groups collaborating to prevent the regulatory approval of GE trees in North America includes Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Indigenous Environmental Network, Rural Coalition and Shawnee Forest Defense


Notes to Editors:

1. The white paper can be found at password 1289

2. National Academies of Science, webinar presentation on GE trees by Dr. Rachel Smolker and Anne Petermann 3/27/18

3. The Hill Op-Ed on GE AC by Dr. Rachel Smolker and Anne Petermann 3/28/18

4. Counterpunch commentary on GE AC by GJEP 3/7/2019

5. A website for the report has been set up at





Rural Coalition has been working with the Stop GE Trees Campaign Since 2017.

To Contact Us Regarding this Release:

Rural Coalition 202-628-7160

Lorette Picciano, Executive Director ~

Annie Lorrie Anderson-Lazo, Ph.D. ~

Rural Coalition