Roger A. Sedjo
Resources for the Future, Washington, DC.

Although anticipation of a biotechnology revolution has led to expectations of high rates of adoption and substantial financial returns, one area that has been slow to develop is that of tree biotechnology, particularly genetically engineered (GE) trees designed for the production of wood for industrial purposes (e.g., lumber and paper). Although the costs associated with transgenic trees are substantial, GE trees have the potential to provide substantial financial and economic returns under a variety of conditions. This paper examines the likely relative costs and returns in industrial and developing countries related to the introduction of GE trees. It suggests that certain developing countries have attributes that may impart a comparative advantage in investments in adopting and planting transgenic trees.

Key words: Economics, fiber, genetic engineering, plantations, trees, wood.