Reproductive modification in forest plantations: impacts on biodiversity and society.

Research paper by Steven H SH Strauss, Kristin N KN Jones, Haiwei H Lu, Joshua D JD Petit, Amy L AL Klocko, Matthew G MG Betts, Berry J BJ Brosi, Robert J RJ Fletcher, Mark D MD Needham

Indexed on: 13 Jan '17Published on: 13 Jan '17Published in: New Phytologist


1000 I. 1000 II. 1001 III. 1014 IV. 1015 V. 1016 1016 References 1016 SUMMARY: Genetic engineering (GE) can be used to improve forest plantation productivity and tolerance of biotic and abiotic stresses. However, gene flow from GE forest plantations is a large source of ecological, social and legal controversy. The use of genetic technologies to mitigate or prevent gene flow has been discussed widely and should be technically feasible in a variety of plantation taxa. However, potential ecological effects of such modifications, and their social acceptability, are not well understood. Focusing on Eucalyptus, Pinus, Populus and Pseudotsuga - genera that represent diverse modes of pollination and seed dispersal - we conducted in-depth reviews of ecological processes associated with reproductive tissues. We also explored potential impacts of various forms of reproductive modification at stand and landscape levels, and means for mitigating impacts. We found little research on potential reactions by the public and other stakeholders to reproductive modification in forest plantations. However, there is considerable research on related areas that suggest key dimensions of concern and support. We provide detailed suggestions for research to understand the biological and social dimensions of containment technologies, and consider the role of regulatory and market restrictions that obstruct necessary ecological and genetic research.

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