Applied research that supplies requisite, albeit incomplete, scientific knowledge is necessary if we are to address the legal, regulatory, and social/ethical issues regarding the use of transgenic trees. The technology for creating these trees has gotten far ahead of research on the ecological and population genetics impacts that may emerge. In this paper, we propose a comprehensive, interdisciplinary scientific approach that combines experimental results with model projections. We believe that much of this work must be completed before social issues can be clarified and resolved. Broad-based failure by those in the forestry-minded scientific community to carry out this interdisciplinary research could lead either to the establishment of transgenic trees with unintended consequences, or to an inability to realize the numerous advantages that this technology may offer.