There is, to date, no single database collating the different forest biotechnology activities around the world. This is necessary to gauge current concerns and predict future trends, impacts and needs of this rapidly expanding field. International regulation of biotechnology is inconsistent, and even varies between jurisdictions. Research and development being done in the private sector subject to confidentiality or intellectual property agreements, patent protection or corporate competition preclude or prevent dissemination of some types of information. Other forestry biotechnology applications occur on private lands, or in areas where there is no requirement or framework to report their implementation or extent. An easily accessible global compilation and synthesis would be an invaluable aid for regulatory bodies in adopting relevant and informed legal and approval frameworks around forestry biotechnology.
The amount of information required, the means to obtain it from the appropriate range of sources (e.g. governments, academia, private sector, etc.), and the required depth and breadth of the topic is beyond the capacity of one individual or organization that is based in a single location to obtain and amalgamate in a timely manner. We propose to subdivide this project into parallel, congruent subsections by region and application, which will be accomplished by several independent individuals or agencies with specific expertise from different disciplines and regions. When complete, these components could be collated and cross-referenced into a unified detailed synthesis, eliminating redundancies and comparing and contrasting the different regions. A summary and links to the complete report would be made available through the FAO website, similar to the BioDeC resource, or as a parallel link, possibly incorporating a similar searchable database.
The global review would include separate state-of-the-arts that provide clear trends and applications for the five proposed categories. Additionally, section on the safety and regulatory concerns associated with genetic engineering of forest tree species that covers the approval process of genetically modified trees testing, enforcement, and ultimately approval for deployment is needed.