Responsible Use Principles

The Biofuels Center has partnered with the Institute of Forest Biotechnology on utilizing the Responsible Use Principles for the biotech trees on North Carolina's Biofuels Campus.  A number of biotech Elms and Chestnuts have been planted on the campus that could be resistant to the disease and blight that have devastated these heritage trees.  In addition to meeting the Responsible Use Principles, the trees are fully compliant with APHIS and NCDA regulations.

The Campus is home to the Elms and Chestnuts to raise awareness of the possible benefits of biotech trees.  In future, North Carolina's forests may need biotech trees to sustainably meet intensified outputs as the state moves from an oil-based economy to one that is biomass based.  In the same way that biotechnology has almost doubled the output of crops such as corn in the past 10 years, in future, biotechnology may offer similar opportunities for landowners growing woody biomass for biofuels and bioproducts. The principles are critical for the state of North Carolina to responsibly continue its leadership in biotechnology and forestry.  Without these principles, the pace of technological development in forest biotechnology and use of 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 are being planted extensively throughout the world to meet social and environmental demands.  Until the publishing of the Responsible Use Principles, there had been 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.  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 has been working with experts from around the world and interested stakeholders in a highly transparent process.  The Biofuels Center of North Carolina has been supportive of the initiative and is part of the Forest Biotechnology Partnership.