Other Projects

Forest Biotechnology Responsible Use Initiative

The Institute of Forest Biotechnology is managing the development of principles for genetically-engineered (biotech) trees through its Responsible Use Initiative.  These principles are critical for the state of North Carolina to continue its leadership in biotechnology and forestry.  Without these principles, the pace of technological development in forest biotechnology and use of these advanced trees will slow at the time of most need.

An unprecedented amount of resources are going into biotech tree research to meet demands for cellulosic fuel production and protecting against invasive threats.  A revolution in forestry will begin in the next few years.  Biotech trees will be planted extensively throughout the world to meet social and environmental demands.  However, there are no long-term principles guiding the stewardship of these trees.  Society needs a mechanism to determine which uses of biotech trees will bring benefit and which might cause harm.  There is a tremendous amount of work that must be accomplished before biotech trees are commercially available en mass – which is just a year or two away.  As with any powerful technology, there are both risks and benefits to its use.  This initiative will help protect the future of our forests.

The Institute of Forest Biotechnology is working with experts from around the world and interested stakeholders in a highly transparent process.  The Biofuels Center of North Carolina is supporting aspects of the initiative, including:

  • Educational outreach to teach how biotechnology can benefit biofuels production
  • Developing an online catalog and interactive map of all global forest biotechnology work
  • Promotion of this initiative to involve more stakeholders and international experts
  • Travel for international experts to come to North Carolina for collaboration

As an Initiative Sponsor, the Biofuels Center of North Carolina will also have direct, high-level access to the management of this initiative, and become part of the Forest Biotechnology Partnership.