Our History

2000 — Westvaco Corporation, International Paper Company, Fletcher Challenge and Genesis Research and Development in New Zealand agree to combine their significant research expertise to create a world class research organization with over 50 years of combined tree improvement and biotechnology forestry research and development.  Seeing the potential for biotechnology in forestry, these companies consolidated their biotechnology research programs and leading germplasm in ArborGen.

2002 — With a strong scientific and commercial background in biotechnology, Dr. Barbara Wells is named President and Chief Executive Officer.  ArborGen announced that its international headquarters would be in Summerville, South Carolina.  First biotechnology field test permit approved.

2004 — Extensive varietal testing program established.  ArborGen opens an office in Campinas, Brazil.

2005 — The first field test permit approval of biotechnology Eucalyptus product with modified lignin occurs in Brazil.  First field testing of Short Rotation Loblolly Pine and Freeze Tolerant Eucalyptus products in the Southeastern United States.

2006 — The first varietal pine products are sold by ArborGen.

2007 — MeadWestvaco (formerly Westvaco), Rubicon Limited (formerly a part of Fletcher Challenge) and International Paper Company contribute to ArborGen substantially all of the commercial nurseries and orchards and related research and development programs.  ArborGen becomes a fully operational business with operations spanning more than 20 locations in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil and includes more than 175 employees.  ArborGen is now the leading tree improvement company with more than 250 million in annual tree stock sales. ArborGen is named a partner in the Department of Energy’s new $125 million bioenergy research center seeking new ways to produce bioenergy.  ArborGen and New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited (Scion) sign a product collaboration arrangement relating to research and development in gene discovery and molecular breeding for forest trees.

2008 — ArborGen submits a petition for deregulation to the United States Department of Agriculture, which is required prior to commercializing its Freeze Tolerant Eucalyptus in the United States.  Freeze Tolerant Eucalyptus is the first and only biotechnology forestry product under review by the USDA.  ArborGen requests permission to allow flowering of its Freeze Tolerant Eucalyptus product in field tests for continued research.  With extensive financial experience, Geoffrey Clear is named Chief Financial Officer.

2009 — ArborGen and Clemson University signed an agreement to develop purpose grown woody biomass as feedstock for the biofuels industry. ArborGen extends its relationship with New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited (Scion).