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FOREST EUROPE Publishes Expert Studies on Forest Genetic Resources

foresteuropeFebruary 2016: The European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN), operating in the framework of FOREST EUROPE, has published a series of studies on genetic conservation, genetic monitoring, use and transfer of forest reproductive material, forest genetic resource conservation in the climate change context, and policy implications.

The 'Pan-European strategy for genetic conservation of forest trees and establishment of a core network of dynamic conservation units' presents the findings and recommendations of a EUFORGEN working group. For each pilot tree species, the strategy calls for a core network of dynamic conservation units. These units are not interconnected by geneflow, but together capture the current genetic diversity across the European continent.

The study on 'Genetic monitoring methods for genetic conservation units of forest trees in Europe' presents the findings and recommendations of a working group, which concluded that a system for genetic monitoring of the genetic conservation units would be an invaluable tool for conservation of forest genetic resources and for sustainable forest management. The working group assessed existing practices and suggested specific approaches to: identify regions for genetic monitoring; identify units for genetic monitoring within these regions; design genetic monitoring plots in the selected units; and select indicators and verifiers for genetic monitoring.

The study on 'Use and transfer of forest reproductive material in Europe in the context of climate change' argues that the selection of suitable forest reproductive material has assumed a new importance both because trees are long-lived species and because rapid climate change will have an impact on the environmental conditions of the trees as they grow and mature. Climate change is one reason why countries need to re-evaluate and modify their policy framework and guidelines on the use of forest reproductive material. The working group that drafted the study concluded that transfer of forest reproductive material is a valuable option to adapt forests to climate change. At the European level, recommendations on forest reproductive material transfer must be revised and harmonized and at the same time, all stages of production and marketing should be more stringently controlled.

The study on 'Approaches to the conservation of forest genetic resources in Europe in the context of climate change' presents the findings and recommendations of the working group on climate change and conservation of forest genetic resources. It presents the current state of knowledge on the implications of climate change for conserving forest genetic resources, and provides recommendations for further action, focusing on: establishing additional genetic conservation units specifically to respond to climate change; enhancing cooperation among countries and enlarging the pan-European collaboration on conservation of forest genetic resources; the need for continued and expanded monitoring and data sharing; and further research on aspects of assisted migration and on marginal and peripheral tree populations.

The study on 'The implications of global, European and national policies for the conservation and use of forest genetic resources in Europe' provides an overview of global agreements and commitments, including under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), as well as European and sub-regional initiatives with implications for forest genetic resources, and identifies options for incorporating forest genetic resources into national forest programmes and other relevant national policies and strategies. [FOREST EUROPE Press Release, including links to studies] [Publication: Pan-European strategy for genetic conservation of forest trees and establishment of a core network of dynamic conservation units] [Publication: Genetic monitoring methods for genetic conservation units of forest trees in Europe] [Publication: Use and transfer of forest reproductive material in Europe in the context of climate change] [Publication: Approaches to the conservation of forest genetic resources in Europe in the context of climate change] [Publication: The implications of global, European and national policies for the conservation and use of forest genetic resources in Europe]