Forestry Investment – Times reporter, Peter Shearlock, says a firm that genetically modifies trees could hold huge potential for boosting the forestry investment industry.
Futuragene is a biotech firm that has developed a way of genetically modifying trees in order to help them to grow faster. In recent years the firm has been caught up in a legal battle with some of the people who founded it in the US. The founders’ shares have all now been sold to others and the legal battle is over, making the firm more attractive and more viable.
According to Shears, Futuregene’s high-speed growing techniques mean that its investors are no more than 18 months away from potentially large returns. in addition, the firm’s developments could mean that forestry businesses, and their investors, need not wait 20 years for their trees to mature and for returns to be made.
The firm has carried out three years of development trials in Brazil, which has concluded that the genetically modified poplar trees grow three times faster than regular poplar trees. It claims it can also make eucalyptus trees grow 25 per cent faster.
Futuregene is now looking to launch a full-scale commercial production line, providing it wins approval from Brazil’s agricultural ministry.
The firm is currently working in joint ventures with China Academy of Forestry and Brazilian pulp and paper firm. Suzano.