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Genetically Modified Forests: From Stone Age to Modern Biotechnology
By Rowland D. Burdon and William J. Libby

Forest History Society Issues Series


The term biotechnology came into common usage in the 1980s. Broadly defined, it is anything that combines biology and technology, but it commonly refers to genetic manipulation of plants and animals. And it has a long history; the genetics of many tree species have been purposefully modified for more than 5,000 years.

In Genetically Modified Forests, the authors trace the history of tree improvement, helping the reader to understand both human effect on tree genetics and the real and imagined concerns of genetic engineering.


Rowland D. Burdon has been a researcher at the New Zealand Forest Research Institute (now branded Scion), Rotorua, since 1964.

William J. Libby was a professor at the University of California-Berkeley from 1961 until 1994 with joint appointments in the Genetics, Forestry, and Conservation of Natural Resources departments.


Published jointly with the Institute of Forest Biotechnology.

Genetically Modified Forests book cover

© 2006 by the
Forest History Society.

79 pp.; 36 photos;
Issues Series booklets are $9.95 (plus $4.00 shipping). Discounts are available if ordering 10 or more copies.

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       Other Issues Series titles:


Icon for New Wood for Bioenergy:
Forests as a Resource
for Biomass and Biofuels

by Brooks C. Mendell and
Amanda Hamsley Lang