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The ESF Forest Biotechnology Working Group

Forest biotechnology is a growing field of study that has many potential benefits for humankind and our environment.

In addition to the traditional uses of wood products, cellulose from trees is being used as a feedstock to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, currently supplementing, but in the future possibly replacing fossil fuels. Biomass from trees will be increasingly utilized as a renewable energy source, as well as a carbon sink to help control global warming. Because many species of forest trees have extensive and perennial root systems, and transpire large amounts of water, they are excellent for use in phytoremediation (i.e. the cleanup of polluted soils). Lastly, trees are keystone species in many environments and are necessary for the maintenance of healthy forests and for restoration of damaged ecosystems. Research into their biology and into ways to use and enhance the unique qualities of tree species is essential to our future.

The mission of the council is to:

  • perform cutting edge research that will enhance our understanding of forest tree biology and lead to improved productivity and biodiversity of our forested ecosystems;
  • educate and train researchers at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels in the application of molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetic engineering techniques to the study of forest tree species and other organisms relevant to forest productivity, conservation, and ecology;
  • enhance collaboration and communication among SUNY-ESF faculty, staff, and students engaged in forest biotechnology research, other academic and agency researchers, and stakeholders;
  • promote the programs in forest biotechnology at SUNY-ESF across New York State, the nation, and internationally.