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Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations (2019)

Chapter: Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
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Appendix D

Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests

Citation Main Focus Study Location Methods Main Findings
Friedman and Foster (1997) Stakeholder concerns about genetic diversity and tree improvement on public land United States Informal qualitative interviews with U.S. Forest Service employees Concerns about risks of changes in the genetics of future trees include reduction of genetic diversity, loss of adaptation, and changes in other ecosystem components from the directed selection of trees
Neumann et al. (2007) Differences between expert and public perceptions of plantation forestry, specifically hybrid poplar plantations Canada Qualitative interviews with key informants (n = 31) Framing identity, trust, and economic competition are important for an overall assessment of community perceptions of hybrid poplar plantations
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Citation Main Focus Study Location Methods Main Findings
Strauss et al. (2009) Degree that the knowledgeable scientific community believes regulatory requirements present a significant impediment to field research and commercial development of genetically modified trees, and why United States and Canada Online and follow-up telephone surveys of scientists in university, government, and the private sector (n = 90) A large majority (78%) of respondents agreed with the statement that “regulatory requirements pose a substantial obstacle to field research on genetically engineered trees.” When the same statement was provided, but with respect to “commercial development and breeding with genetically engineered trees,” the majority grew stronger with 81% agreeing. In addition, 72% believed “containment requirements have an adverse impact on the continued research and commercial development” of these trees and 93% believed “a system that provided different containment requirements during research for different kinds of genes” would significantly reduce regulatory burdens. Primary constraints to broader application of genetically engineered trees were “regulatory costs and uncertainties at the commercial release level” (66%), “legal and liability risks from unintended release” (60%), and “high costs of field research” with these trees (59%)
Connor and Siegrist (2010) Factors influencing perceptions of several different gene technologies, including genetic modification of trees to grow faster to produce more paper/wood Switzerland Mail survey of a random sample of German-speaking residents of Switzerland (n = 830) Medical applications of gene technology were more acceptable and perceived to have more benefits and less risk than nonmedical applications such modification of trees to produce more paper/wood. Benefits, risks, and trust predicted acceptance
Tsourgiannis et al. (2013) Consumer attitudes and purchasing behavior toward wood products that could be derived from transgenic plantations, their personal characteristics, and their attitude toward establishing these plantations Greece Onsite survey in supermarkets and malls (n = 418), although analyses were conducted only on consumers who declared they would be willing to buy wood products from genetically modified forest trees (n = 231) Main factors affecting consumer purchasing behavior toward those products are promotion/marketing issues (e.g., origin, attractiveness), product features (e.g., quality, brand name), and labeling. Perceived benefits of establishing forest transgenic plantations include increased job flexibility, reduced production cost, increased farmer income, and reduced production losses. Environmental issues that may arise from adoption of transgenic forest plantations were not as important as these economic issues to the consumers
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Citation Main Focus Study Location Methods Main Findings
Hajjar et al. (2014) Acceptance of a range of reforestation strategies (some revolving around biotechnology) that could be used for helping western Canada’s forests adapt to future climate change Western Canada Online surveys of residents (n = 1,544) and leaders of forestry communities (n = 37) in Alberta and British Columbia The strategy “plant seedlings grown from seeds that are genetically engineered (GMOs) to grow well in the climate conditions expected to occur in the near future” was less acceptable than breeding and assisted migration strategies, but was still acceptable among approximately 50% of the public and 30% of forestry leaders, and was more acceptable than doing nothing. Acceptance changed for many respondents after being told the strategy would create positive benefits or negative risks and other outcomes (e.g., community socioeconomics, forest aesthetics, outbreaks of pests, diseases, and fire)
Hajjar and Kozak (2015) Predictors of acceptance of several reforestation strategies (some focused on biotechnology) that could be used for helping western Canada’s forests adapt to climate change Western Canada Online survey of residents (n = 1,544) in Alberta and British Columbia Approximately 50% of the public accepted the strategy “plant seedlings grown from seeds that are genetically engineered (GMOs) to grow well in the climate conditions expected to occur in the near future,” and this was influenced by skepticism, trust in decision makers, risks/threats from technology, and risks and ethics associated with manipulating nature, age, and being male
Nonić et al. (2015) Impact of education level and background knowledge and perceptions of risks and benefits on attitudes toward acceptance of the commercial use of genetically modified trees and their final products Serbia Onsite survey of students at two different universities (n = 400) More than 70% knew what a genetically modified tree was, but commercial application and final products of these trees were less known. Students with more years of education were more likely to know about these trees and their uses. Genetic modifications aimed at enhancing the resistance of trees to diseases was the most acceptable. Perceived benefits of these trees included less need for pesticides and greater tree productivity. Perceived risks included loss of biodiversity, need for more broad spectrum herbicides, and vulnerability to viral diseases. The majority of respondents agreed with commercial planting of transgenic forest crops, were willing to purchase products from these trees, and thought labeling of these products should be required
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Citation Main Focus Study Location Methods Main Findings
Tsourgiannis et al. (2015) Attitudes and potential purchasing behavior of Greek consumers toward products derived from transgenic forest tree plantations. Demographic characteristics and responses toward the establishment of these plantations is also investigated Greece Onsite survey in supermarkets and malls (n = 418) Four groups of consumers showing similar potential purchasing behavior toward products from transgenic forest trees were identified—those interested in (a) the quality of products (12%), (b) lower prices (30%), (c) curiosity and labeling issues (35%), and (d) health safety issues and environmental impacts (23%). Perceived benefits of establishing transgenic forest plantations included more job opportunities, increased farmer income, improved production of biomass, and reduced production cost and output losses. Risks included negative impacts on wild native species, the biodiversity of ecosystems, and human health. There were some demographic differences, as the group interested in the quality of products was older, less educated, and did not have children, whereas the other groups were younger, more educated, and had children
Kazana et al. (2015, 2016) Young people’s knowledge about transgenic forest trees, concerns regarding cultivation of these trees, and attitudes toward the use of transgenic forest trees in plantations 15 European and non-European countries (Argentina, Australia, Israel) Onsite survey of university students in each country (n = 1,868) More than 60% of students knew the meaning of forest transgenic trees. However, most did not know whether they were grown commercially. The majority of respondents approved of growing transgenic trees in plantations (56–93%), using labels to indicate final products originated from genetically modified trees (77–98%), and making labels mandatory (73–99%). Potential benefits of transgenic tree plantations that were rated as important in at least half of the countries were use of fewer chemicals (insecticides, pesticides, herbicides) and less energy, harvesting a smaller number of trees for consumption, restoring soils, and increasing tree productivity. The largest risks were loss of biodiversity due to possible gene flow between transgenic plantations and wild forests, increased herbicide use and resistance, and vulnerability to other tree diseases. More than half of respondents, however, were unable to specify benefits and risks, indicating low levels of specific knowledge
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Citation Main Focus Study Location Methods Main Findings
Fuller et al. (2016) Acceptance of various tree health management methods (including “biological control”) and how opinions about woodland functions, concern and awareness of pests and diseases, and demographics influence acceptance of these methods United Kingdom Online survey from a panel of residents (n = 2,208) The majority of respondents (74%) were “concerned” or “very concerned” about the threat of pests and diseases to trees. In total, 66% of respondents considered “biological control” to be acceptable for managing tree pests and diseases. Only “felling only affected trees” was more acceptable. Acceptance increased when the importance of environmental functions were high
Needham et al. (2016) Measure various cognitions (e.g., attitudes, norms, behavioral intentions, risk, benefits) in response to several possible biotechnological (e.g., genetic modification) and nonbiotechnological (e.g., conventional breeding) interventions for addressing forest health threats such as chestnut blight and climate change. Examine the effect of scientific information and messaging on these cognitions United States Mail surveys of U.S. residents (n = 278) and interest groups (e.g., scientists, companies, agencies, nongovernmental organizations; n = 195), onsite survey of students in seven universities (n = 604), and online survey of Qualtrics panel members (n = 528) Attitudes showed less acceptance for genetic modification compared to tree breeding and traditional forest management, but genetic modification was more acceptable for addressing a pathogen such as chestnut blight (68%) than for climate change (53%) or to increase forest growth/productivity (55%). Changing genes in American chestnut trees (69%) and adding genes from bread wheat (i.e., OxO gene; 61%) were more acceptable than breeding with nonnative species such as Asian chestnuts (60%) and adding genes from distantly related organisms (53%). Value orientations, factual knowledge, trust, gender, perceived risks and benefits toward the environment, and residential proximity to forests all influenced support of genetic modification for addressing chestnut blight. This support, however, is sensitive to informational messages and vulnerable to persuasion campaigns, as it dropped dramatically (from 75–83% to 40–44%) as soon as messages provided any negative/anti arguments (i.e., pejorative language) about this topic
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Citation Main Focus Study Location Methods Main Findings
Nilausen et al. (2016) Perceived acceptability of implementing marker-assisted section (MAS) (flags desired traits on the genome to reduce the breeding cycle and more accurately and efficiently selecting for improved qualities) Canada Qualitative interviews and quantitative pre and post video questionnaires (to ensure knowledge) to small sample (n = 25) of four groups (government, industry, environmental NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], First Nations) The video improved knowledge about MAS. Government (78%) and industry (100%) held positive attitudes toward MAS, supporting its use and continued research. Environmental NGOs (50%) and First Nations (17%) attitudes were far less positive. Government and industry were more likely to explain the difference between genetic modification and MAS, and emphasize the improved forest resiliency and industry-specific trails. Environmental NGOs were concerned about risks such as a tree’s ability to adapt to climate change and its reduced genetic diversity, but thought benefits may include ability to reduce pressure on wild forests. First Nations were concerned about how their community and/or elders would respond, but mentioned benefits such as greater carbon sequestration capacity
Tsourgiannis et al. (2016) Consumer attitudes and purchasing behavior toward wood products that could be derived from transgenic plantations, their personal characteristics, and their attitude toward establishing these plantations Greece Onsite survey in supermarkets and malls (n = 418) Respondents were segmented according to their buying behavior for three forest product categories of transgenic origin: (a) paper products, (b) wood products, and (c) woody biomass energy products. Marketing issues (e.g., origin, attractiveness) and product features (e.g., quality, brand name) influenced buying behavior for all three groups. Health and safety issues only influenced purchasers of woody biomass energy products. Labeling and certification were important for wood products and woody biomass energy products. Environmental impacts were important for those purchasing paper products
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Citation Main Focus Study Location Methods Main Findings
Jepson and Arakelyan (2017a) Public acceptance of various potential strategies to deal with ash dieback and develop disease-tolerant ash trees, ranging from traditional tree breeding to genetic modification. Predictors of this acceptance were also measured (e.g., demographics, concern, support of genetically modified foods) United Kingdom Onsite survey of 1,152 attendees of three events attracting publics interested in the countryside: landowners and land managers, naturalists, and gardeners Respondents care about the issue, want an active response (i.e., doing nothing was least acceptable), and prefer traditional or accelerated breeding solutions over genetic modification. Creating a disease-tolerant ash tree using transgenetics was the least acceptable option; more respondents supported a cisgenics option, and this increased to 54% when informed of the timescale (<10 years for achieving outcome). In total, 38% approved of genetically modified ash trees being planted in natural woodlands, and 60% supported them in forestry plantations. Type of event attended, views on ash dieback, public say on decision making, education, age (younger more supportive), and attitude to genetically modified food all had significant effects on these attitudes to genetically modified ash trees
Jepson and Arakelyan (2017b) Public preferences for seven potential options for dealing with ash dieback, ranging from traditional tree breeding to genetic modification, with approximate timescales given for the implementation of each option. Predictors were also measured (e.g., demographics, concern, support of genetically modified foods) United Kingdom Online survey using the YouGov list (n = 2,036) and weighted to be representative of adult residents in the United Kingdom Breeding native tolerant ash, planting different species, and accelerated breeding were most preferred. Using genetically modified techniques was preferred by 27% of respondents, with greater support for this in urban areas and plantations. No action and planting and breeding nonnative ash were least preferred. Younger, more educated, and male respondents were more supportive of genetically modified techniques. The largest percentage of respondents (43%) saw no difference between genetic modification of trees versus food, but 20% said modification of trees is less acceptable because it involves tampering with nature. Knowledge about plant science, however, was low
Peterson St-Laurent et al. (2018) Predictors of acceptance of several reforestation strategies (one that focused on biotechnology) that could be used for helping western Canada’s forests adapt to climate change Western Canada Online survey of residents (n = 1,923) in British Columbia Only 25% of the public supported the strategy “plant seedlings from seeds that are genetically modified to be better adapted to anticipated future climatic conditions” and only 16% were in favor of this intervention from an ethical standpoint. Support was influenced by anthropocentric value orientations, knowledge of forestry, preferred economic outcomes, trust in decision makers, age, being male, and employment in the forest industry
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×

REFERENCES

Connor, M., and M. Siegrist. 2010. Factors influencing people’s acceptance of gene technology: The role of knowledge, health expectations, naturalness, and social trust. Science Communication 32(4):514–538.

Friedman, S.T., and G.S. Foster. 1997. Forest genetics on federal lands in the United States: Public concerns and policy responses. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 27(3):401–408.

Fuller, L., M. Marzano, A. Peace, and C.P. Quine. 2016. Public acceptance of tree health management: Results of a national survey in the UK. Environmental Science and Policy 59(1):18–25.

Hajjar, R., and R.A. Kozak. 2015. Exploring public perceptions of forest adaptation strategies in Western Canada: Implications for policymakers. Forest Policy and Economics 61:59–69.

Hajjar, R., E. McGuigan, M. Moshofsky, and R.A. Kozak. 2014. Opinions on strategies for forest adaptation to future climate conditions in western Canada: Surveys of the general public and leaders of forest-dependent communities. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44(12):1525–1533.

Jepson, P.R., and I. Arakelyan. 2017a. Developing publicly acceptable tree health policy: Public perceptions of tree-breeding solutions to ash dieback among interested publics in the UK. Forest Policy and Economics 80:167–177.

Jepson, P., and I. Arakelyan. 2017b. Exploring public perceptions of solutions to tree diseases in the UK: Implications for policy-makers. Environmental Science and Policy 76:70–77.

Kazana, V., L. Tsourgiannis, V. Iakovoglou, C. Stamatiou, A. Alexandrov, S. Araújo, S. Bogdan, G. Božič, R. Brus, G. Bossinger, A. Boutsimea, N. Celepirović, H. Cvrčková, M. Fladung, M. Ivanković, A. Kazaklis, P. Koutsona, Z. Luthar, P. Máchová, J. Malá, K. Mara, M. Mataruga, J. Moravcikova, D. Paffetti, J. Paiva, D. Raptis, C. Sanchez, S. Sharry, T. Salaj, M. Šijačić-Nikolić, N. Tel-Zur, I. Tsvetkov, C. Vettori, and N. Vidal. 2015. Public attitudes towards the use of transgenic forest trees: A cross-country pilot survey. iForest 9:344–353.

Kazana, V., L. Tsourgiannis, V. Iakovoglou, C. Stamatiou, A. Alexandrov, S. Araújo, S. Bogdan, G. Božič, R. Brus, G. Bossinger, A. Boutsimea, N. Celepirović, H. Cvrčková, M. Fladung, M. Ivanković, A. Kazaklis, P. Koutsona, Z. Luthar, P. Máchová, J. Malá, K. Mara, M. Mataruga, J. Moravcikova, D. Paffetti, J. Paiva, D. Raptis, C. Sanchez, S. Sharry, T. Salaj, M. Šijačić-Nikolić, N. Tel-Zur, I. Tsvetkov, C. Vettori, and N. Vidal. 2016. Public knowledge and perceptions of safety issues towards the use of genetically modified forest trees: A cross-country pilot survey. Pp. 223–244 in Biosafety of Forest Transgenic Trees: Improving the Scientific Basis for Safe Tree Development and Implementation of EU Policy Directives, C. Vettori, F. Gallardo, H. Häggman, V. Kazana, F. Migliacci, G. Pilate, and M. Fladung, eds. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Needham, M., G. Howe, and J. Petit. 2016. Forest Health Biotechnologies: What Are the Drivers of Public Acceptance? Interim report and preliminary findings for the Forest Health Initiative and U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. Available at https://www.foresthealthinitiative.org/resources/biotech_public_acceptance_Needham.pptx. Accessed November 21, 2018.

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Tsourgiannis, L., V. Kazana, and V. Iakovoglou. 2016. A comparative analysis of consumers’ potential purchasing behaviour towards transgenic-derived forest products: The Greek case. Pp. 245–260 in Biosafety of Forest Transgenic Trees: Improving the Scientific Basis for Safe Tree Development and Implementation of EU Policy Directives, C. Vettori, F. Gallardo, H. Häggman, V. Kazana, F. Migliacci, G. Pilate, and M. Fladung, eds. Dor-drecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Page 220
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Page 221
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Page 222
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Page 223
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Page 224
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
Page 225
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Chronological Summary of Studies Empirically Examining Public and Other Stakeholder Responses to the Use of Biotechnology in Trees and Forests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25221.
×
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Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations Get This Book
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The American chestnut, whitebark pine, and several species of ash in the eastern United States are just a few of the North American tree species that have been functionally lost or are in jeopardy of being lost due to outbreaks of pathogens and insect pests. New pressures in this century are putting even more trees at risk. Expanded human mobility and global trade are providing pathways for the introduction of nonnative pests for which native tree species may lack resistance. At the same time, climate change is extending the geographic range of both native and nonnative pest species.

Biotechnology has the potential to help mitigate threats to North American forests from insects and pathogens through the introduction of pest-resistant traits to forest trees. However, challenges remain: the genetic mechanisms that underlie trees’ resistance to pests are poorly understood; the complexity of tree genomes makes incorporating genetic changes a slow and difficult task; and there is a lack of information on the effects of releasing new genotypes into the environment.

Forest Health and Biotechnology examines the potential use of biotechnology for mitigating threats to forest tree health and identifies the ecological, economic, and social implications of deploying biotechnology in forests. This report also develops a research agenda to address knowledge gaps about the application of the technology.

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