Information on public attitudes towards the use of transgenic trees in forest plantations is important in the decision-making process and policy implementation for safe tree development, particularly at the EU level. In Europe, the use of transgenic forest trees is very limited and therefore such information is completely lacking. To address this issue within the FP0905 European COST Action on the Biosafety of Transgenic Forest Trees a pioneer cross-country pilot survey on public attitudes towards the use of transgenic forest trees was conducted using young population as a focus group. This was decided mainly because this focus group represents the future consumers, policy makers or developers. Specifically, the survey aimed to: i) assess the level of young people’s knowledge about transgenic forest trees, ii) identify issues of concern to them regarding the cultivation of transgenic forest trees and iii) explore whether they approve or disapprove of the use of transgenic forest trees in plantations. Purposive sampling was performed and university students of different disciplines were included in the research as sampling subjects. In total, 1868 completed questionnaires from 15 European and non-European countries were analyzed. The young educated people that took part in the survey appeared to approve of the use of transgenic forest trees in plantations and would be willing to buy forest transgenic products. The potential loss of biodiversity due to a risk of gene flow between transgenic and wild trees was seen as the safety issue of most concern when considering the commercial release of transgenic forest trees. However, a serious perceived lack of knowledge about potential benefits and risks of the cultivation of transgenic forest trees was recorded in most of the countries. K-means clustering was implemented on respondents’ positive responses to identify potential country patterns. No differences in patterns of public attitude towards the acceptance of the commercial growing of transgenic forest trees were observed between European and non-European countries. Extended research on public attitude issues towards the use of transgenic forest trees is strongly recommended as a basis for policy implementation on safe tree development.

  Keywords


GM Forest Trees, Public Awareness, Public Acceptance, k-means Clustering, University Students

Authors’ address

(1)
Vassiliki Kazana
Valasia Iakovoglou
Christos Stamatiou
Anastasia Boutsimea
Angelos Kazaklis
Paraskevi Koutsona
Dimitiros Raptis
Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology, Department of Forestry & Natural Environment Management, 1st km Drama-Mikrohori, 66100 Drama (Greece)
(2)
Lambros Tsourgiannis
Donatella Paffetti
Region of Eastern Macedonia & Thrace, 67100 Xanthi (Greece)
(3)
Alexander Alexandrov
Ivaylo Tsvetkov
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Forest Research Institute, Kliment Ohridski Blvd. 132, Sofia 1756 (Bulgaria)
(4)
Susana Araújo
Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Av. da República, 2780-157 Oeiras, Portugal & Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT), Biotrop, Rua da Junqueira, 30, 1349-007 Lisboa (Portugal)
(5)
Sasa Bogdan
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest, Genetics, Dendrology and Botany,Svetošimunska 25, 10 000 Zagreb (Croatia)
(6)
Gregor Bozic
Slovenian Forestry Institute, Vecna 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
(7)
Robert Brus
Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Vecna pot 83, SI-1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
(8)
Gerd Bossinger
The University of Melbourne, Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, Creswick, Victoria 3363 (Australia)
(9)
Nevenka Celepirović
Mladen Ivankovic
Croatian Forest Research Institute, Laboratory of molecular-genetic testing, Division of genetics, forest tree breeding and seed science, Cvjetno naselje 41, 10450 Jastrebarsko (Croatia)
(10)
Helena Cvrčková
Pavliná Máchová
Jana Malá
Forest and Game Management Research Institute, Strnady 136, 25202 Jílovište (Czech Republic)
(11)
Matthias Fladung
Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics, D-22927 Grosshansdorf (Germany)
(12)
Zlata Luthar
Agronomy Department, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeva 101, SI-1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
(13)
Kostlend Mara
Agricultural University of Tirana (Albania)
(14)
Milan Mataruga
University of Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
(15)
Jana Moravcikova
Terezia Salaj
Institute of Plant Genetics and Biotechnology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Akademicka 2, PO Box 39A, 95007 Nitra (Slovakia)
(16)
Donatella Paffetti
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science, Agricultural Genetics Section, University of Florence, P. le delle Cascine 28, 50144, Florence (Italy)
(17)
Jorge AP Paiva
iBET, Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica, Apartado 12, 2780-901 Oeiras, Portugal & Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT), Biotrop, Rua da Junqueira, 30, 1349-007 Lisboa (Portugal)
(18)
Conchi Sanchez
Nieves Vidal
Instituto de Investigaciones Agrobiológicas de Galicia (CSIC), La Coruna (Spain)
(19)
Sandra Sharry
Universidad Nacional de la Plata, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias y Forestales, Av.60 y119-c.C. 31, La Plata (Argentina)
(20)
Mirjana Šijačić-Nikolić
University of Belgrade, Faculty of Forestry (Serbia)
(21)
Noemi Tel-Zur
French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negar, Sede-Boqer Campus, 84990 Midreshet Ben-Gurion (Israel)
(22)
Donatella Paffetti
Cristina Vettori
Institute of Bioscience and Bioresources (IBBR), Division of Florence, v. Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, FI (Italy)

Corresponding author

 
Vassiliki Kazana
vkazana@gmail.com

Citation

Kazana V, Tsourgiannis L, Iakovoglou V, Stamatiou C, Alexandrov A, Araújo S, Bogdan S, Bozic G, Brus R, Bossinger G, Boutsimea A, Celepirović N, Cvrčková H, Fladung M, Ivankovic M, Kazaklis A, Koutsona P, Luthar Z, Máchová P, Malá J, Mara K, Mataruga M, Moravcikova J, Paffetti D, Paiva JAP, Raptis D, Sanchez C, Sharry S, Salaj T, Šijačić-Nikolić M, Tel-Zur N, Tsvetkov I, Vettori C, Vidal N (2015). Public attitudes towards the use of transgenic forest trees: a cross-country pilot survey. iForest 9: 344-353. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1441-008

Academic Editor

Cristina Vettori

Paper history

Received: Sep 08, 2014
Accepted: Jul 04, 2015

First online: Nov 20, 2015
Publication Date: Apr 26, 2016
Publication Time: 4.63 months

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