Tasmanian Times


Volker to Colbeck?

Reports are emerging that a senior forester with Forestry Tasmania, and past President of the IFA, (Institute of Foresters of Australia), Dr Peter Volker, FIFA RPF, will commence as an Advisor to Senator Richard Colbeck (Tasmania), Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture in the Federal Liberal Government on 9 December 2013. Senator Colbeck has national portfolio responsibilities for forestry and fisheries as well as agriculture in Tasmania. Dr Volker will be his primary advisor on forestry.

It is understood Dr Volker informed Forestry Tasmania and his colleagues on Monday that he would not be seeking to renew his current contract.

Dr Volker recently gave a presentation to a conference in Canada, ( http://iufro2013.forestry.ubc.ca/2013/02/peter-volker/ ) and has worked in China and Chile. He maintains strong associations with colleagues in blue gum plantation forestry in Portugal, Spain and southern France.

Dr Volker has published articles in oldtt.pixelkey.biz
An Occasional Correspondent

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Karl Stevens

    December 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Peter Volker. I appreciate your honesty. If not for you nobody would know that XXXXX was involved in the Ridgley Project, a fact he strenuously denied before reading your thesis.
    Your statement ‘there are no GMO eucalypts in Australia with which I have been involved’ is also very honest.
    It proves you really were not involved in the other modified eucalypt plantations.
    Your research into what ‘might’ express traits in trees would find a welcome ear with Senator Colbeck.

  2. David Obendorf

    December 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Peter Volker, thanks for engaging with a personal comment on this article.

    You write: [i]I can categorically confirm there are no GMO eucalypts in Australia [b]with which I have been involved.[/b][/i]

    Can you provide the same categorical confirmation for the rest of the GM eucalypt researchers in Australia (and New Zealand) that were collaborating in international development with a view to commerialisation of some of these genetic insertions?

    Thank you.

  3. William Boeder

    December 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Hello Peter Volker, welcome to Tasmanian Times.

    In the past Tasmanian Times has been very busy in seeking out the truth to many of the claims originating from Forestry Tasmania, more particularly so when your former employer had appointed that former word-twisting obfuscating rumour-spreading spell-caster …

    I note you are a member of that same organization that has allowed Mark Poynter into its club-house, Mark is one of the frequent comment authors on Tas Times that seems to me to have as his agenda, forever advocating for the destruction of the Old Growth Forests here in Tasmania and throughout his present State (Victoria) Forested Highlands.

    I understand that Hancock’s Timber, (a rather invasive American timber company that is forever on the rampage for what gains and or enormous benefits that they can obtain via the logging activities throughout Victoria) are somehow tied in with the doings of Vic-Forests, (they representing the Victorian equivalent of Forestry Tasmania, a poorly directed State government GBE known for its money wasting drain upon each of the State’s taxpayers.)

    But then you would know all about the antics of Forestry Tasmania in their being your former employer.

    Victoria’s faunal emblem (Leadbeater’s Possum) is pushing into its soonest extinction … So if you are a true environmentalist you may well know of this tiny creature’s plight.

    Are you able to tell me or even be able to obtain from elsewhere the remaining numbers of the ‘Brush Tailed Phascogale’ that also dwells in the Victorian Forests?

    Both creatures mentioned here are having their habitats and population numbers increasingly threatened.

  4. Peter Volker

    December 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    To set the record straight here are my qualifications:

    BSc(Forestry) ANU
    GradDipSc (Forestry) ANU
    PhD (UTas) – thesis title: Quantitative genetics of Eucalyptus globulus, E. nitens and their F1 hybrid. (available from UTas ePrints – I’d be happy for people to download it and read it).
    MBA (Professional) UTas (only just finished), specialising in Environmetal management (yes I have an abiding care for the environment)..

    I also have been recognised as a Fellow of the Institute of Foresters of Australia and am a Registered Professional Forester with specialist expertise in genetics, tree breeding and plantation silviculture.

    I am also a past member of the Australia Committee of IUCN and attended the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona a few years ago.

    I have provided answers to Senator Bob Brown’s questions in the Senate about GMO eucalypts on at least two occasions in the past 15 years in Australia. I can categorically confirm there are no GMO eucalypts in Australia with which I have been involved. I was involved in a CSIRO lead project on examination of eucalypts for sterility and insect resistance, which was a laboratory based project, much of which has been published in internationally recognised journals by the scientists involved (a simple literature review would reveal all the outcomes). The project has not been active since its demise about 15 years ago.

    If people are interested in GMO eucalypts they might be interested to know that an FSC certified company in Brazil is currently in negotiations with their FSC certifier to allow GMO euacalypts to be released on commercial scale for use in Brazil and probably elsewhere on the South American continent by 2015.

    Marker aided selection is a tool that has become available to assist quantitative genetecists. It merely identifies sections of chromosomes that MIGHT play a part in expression of traits such as growth, disease resistance etc., which are under control of multiple genes. Once again a simple literature search would reveal thousands of articles on how it works and how it is utilised. Unfortunately intellectual laziness seems to prevail on these pages.

    Peter Volker

  5. john hayward

    November 30, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    And what sort of traits will be sought in GM trees? And what are the odds that these traits will be without potentially serious environmental consequences? And the odds that the industry will be, for the first time, honest and open about those consequences?

    We need GM humans to do anything commercial scrupulously.

    John Hayward

  6. David Obendorf

    November 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    No evidence from Volker; just a flat denial, Hugoagogo.

    Please do your research on global R&D on GM Eucalypt pulp trees Hugoagogo.

    Go read Prime Minister Paul Keating’s Statement on GE Eucalypt research on 5 August 1992 at the UTAS Hobart…. and maybe just wait for others to sniff out the evidence.

  7. hugoagogo

    November 30, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Stop your whinging.

    Volker tried repeatedly to convince you with evidence and valid argument.

    He tired of the predictable reaction of a few rusted-ons so he’s speaking truth to power instead.

    Can’t handle that? Get the gig yourself.

  8. Karl Stevens

    November 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    When you consider the astonishing amount of money spent in Tasmania developing ‘super trees’ you have to ask ‘why didn’t the gene cowboys build a tree from the ground up’?
    Instead, Tasmania’s genetic uberlords tried to fine tune the primordial work of evolution itself …
    Come-on guys, lets see you build a totally artificial tree instead of doodling in the margins of the life force? All you have done is weaken something you could never produce in a million years.

  9. David Obendorf

    November 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

    [i]Absence of evidence[/i] is not the [i]evidence of absence[/i].

    Our Government knows that if community science cannot categorically prove a pathway of risk/exposure then the job of maintaining the status quo is relatively easy for them.

    Drs [b]Scammell and Bleaney[/b] were tied up in bureaucratic and political knots by such command & control and lack of tranparency on this very issue for the best part of 6 years.

    It was ever thus… there are more political scientists as advisors to government than scientists with competency in specific fields – chemistry, biochemistry, biology, ecology, physics, oncology, etc.

    And when all else fails Government calls community critics – ‘Conspiracy Theorists’

    Welcome to Taz-mania!

  10. Karl Stevens

    November 28, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Very odd that a forestry minister would be advised by a plant geneticist. Then again the Liberals are very odd people. They carried out the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq while 2 high-level Australian agencies were bribing Saddam Hussein.


  11. Just Frank again

    November 28, 2013 at 2:40 am

    More and more of the same old aggressive – more of the same E. nitens story…
    The development of better ‘super suckers continues – actually just amazing how history goes around and around like in a washing machine or the old dusty record.
    Interesting outlook for Australia – yes just give us more …
    I just wonder who wants to see their children select to work in a simplistic monoculture tree factory in Tasmania’s sloping terrain? – that is not the kind of workmanship that deals with real forests.

    Senator Richard surrounds himself with the minds of his choice, or is it a party position?
    Has MIS Eric nominated Peter for the job?
    Who is going to run the future of landscape restoration I wonder?
    Shorter, faster tree crop rotations will result in even more erosion.

  12. David Obendorf

    November 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Dr Volker’s abstract to the International Union of Forest Research Organisations [i]Breeding for more resilient plantations[/i] doesn’t mention the the non-Politically Correct words ‘genetic modification’ or ‘genetic engineering’ but does allude to ‘marker-aided’ selection… a brave new world, hey Peter!

    [i]Tree breeding and forest genetics has always been regarded as a means of finding dramatic productivity increases that eventually lead to plantations being seen as providing the primary wood resource for the future. Tree breeding has evolved in sophistication from simple phenotypic selection techniques, through the applied use of quantitative genetics to the [b]use of marker-aided selection which have become increasingly sophisticated over the past 30 years[/b]. Plantation expansion has been the catalyst for the focus on breeding, where genetic advances are able to be exploited in a timely manner. Initial breeding focus on growth improvement has been successful, but has sometimes led to deterioration in wood quality and adaptive traits. This highlighted the need for multi-trait breeding the need to find ‘correlation breakers’, those genotypes that broke the mould of adverse genetic correlations between traits. The push to expand plantation species into new environments resulted in increased interest in hybrid development, often accompanied by vegetative propagation techniques and culminating in clonal forestry. While productivity improvements have been spectacular there is concern that changing climate and [b]the ever present threat of exotic pests and diseases[/b] could lead to disaster for some plantation programs. This paper will explore the changing circumstances faced by tree breeders in terms of climate, markets for plantation products, breeding techniques and tools and the general support for breeding as part of plantation forest management around the world.[/i]

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