Canadian Forest Service Publications

Environmental impact assessment of biotechnology. 1995. Holmes, S.B. Pages 132-140 in P.J. Charest and L.C. Duchesne, Compilers. Recent Progress in Forest Biotechnology in Canada. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Petawawa National Forestry Institute, Chalk River, Ontario, Information Report PI-X-120.

Year: 1995

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 9735

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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The application of biotechnology holds considerable promise for solving some of forestry's challenges,while at the same time reducing or eliminating the environmental impacts associated with current approaches. However, the environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms in the environment must be evaluated, so that decisions can be made that will both enhance forest productivity and protect the environment. The ecological assessment of biotechnology products looks at the potential adverse impacts of a product prior to its release and at the receiving environment after release to determine ecological effects. A number of tools have been developed and laboratory microcosms are definitely one of the most valuable tools to study the impact of biotechnology products on living organisms. The advantages and disadvantages of these systems are presented. A discussion of areas that have had little attention, such as potential for gene transfer between genetically modified organisms (microorganisms and trees) and the natural microbial community, is also included. Strategies to avoid environmental problems are considered.