Forest genetic resources

Forest genetic resources or tree genetic resources are genetic material of shrub and tree species of actual or future value. Forest genetic resources are essential for forest-depending communities who rely for a substantial part of their livelihoods on timber and non-timber forest products (for example fruits, gums and resins) for food security, domestic use and income generation. These resources are also the basis for large-scale wood production in planted forests to satisfy the worldwide need for timber and paper. Genetic resources of several important timber, fruit and other non-timber tree species are conserved ex situ in genebanks or maintained in field collections. Nevertheless, in situ conservation in forests and on farms is in the case of most tree species the most important measure to protect their genetic resources.

Understanding diversity

A better understanding of the diversity of these species is crucial for their sustainable use and conservation.[1] Monitoring ol patterns of distribution and genetic diversity of these species allows the prioritization of populations for in situ conservation, identification of populations and species most at risk and existing gaps in genebank collections.[2] This is vital information which helps tackle global challenges such as food security and climate change.

The State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources

In 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations published the first State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources.[3][4][5] The publication addressed the conservation, management and sustainable use of forest tree and other woody plant genetic resources of actual and potential value for human well-being in the broad range of management systems. It was prepared based on information provided by 86 countries, outcomes from regional and subregional consultations, and commissioned thematic studies. Amongst the ten key findings, half of the forest species reported as regularly utilized by countries are threatened by the conversion of forests to pastures and farmland, overexploitation, and the impacts of climate change.[6]

On the basis of the information and knowledge compiled by FAO for The State of World’s Forest Genetic Resources, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture developed the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources.[7] This Global Plan of Action identifies 27 strategic priorities grouped into 4 areas: 1) improving the availability of, and access to, information on forest genetic resources; 2) conservation of forest genetic resources (in situ and ex situ); 3) sustainable use, development and management of forest genetic resources; 4) policies, institutions and capacity-building.

Forest genetic resources and climate change

Even though this is a field with many uncertainties, it is evident that during the next 50–100 years climate changes will have an effect on the distribution of forest tree species and the composition of forests. Diversity of forest genetic resources enables the potential for a species (or a population) to adapt to climatic changes and related future challenges such as temperature changes, drought, pests, diseases and forest fires.[8] Though forest trees are known for showing great plasticity in their response to climate changes,[9] not all species are naturally capable to adapt at the pace necessary. For that reason human interventions, such as transfer of forest reproductive material, may be needed. This is particular important for rare and scattered distributed species and species found on the edge of its distribution range.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Dawson, I.K.; Lengkeek, A.; Weber, J.C.; Jamnadass, R. (2009). "Managing genetic variation in tropical trees: linking knowledge with action in agroforestry ecosystems for improved conservation and enhanced livelihoods". Biodiversity and Conservation. 18. doi:10.1007/s10531-008-9516-z.
  2. ^ Scheldeman, X.; van Zonneveld, M. (2010). Training Manual on Spatial Analysis of Plant Diversity and Distribution. Bioversity International.
  3. ^ "UN urges action to protect forests' genetic diversity". BBC News Science and Environment. BBC. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  4. ^ The State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources (PDF). Rome: FAO. 2014.
  5. ^ "Action needed to safeguard genetic diversity of the world's forests". FAO. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Redassranch Agriculture, gardening and forestry resources". Archived from the original on March 17, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  7. ^ Global Plan of Action for the conservation, sustainable use and development of forest genetic resources (PDF). Rome: FAO. 2014.
  8. ^ a b Kelleher; et al. (2015), Approaches to the conservation of forest genetic resources in Europe in the context of climate change, European Forest Genetic Resources Programme
  9. ^ Savolainen; et al. (2011). "Adaptive Potential of Northernmost Tree Populations to Climate Change, with Emphasis on Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.)". Journal of Heredity. 102 (5): 526–36.

External links

Abies pinsapo

Abies pinsapo, the Spanish fir, is a species of fir native to southern Spain and northern Morocco. Related to other species of Mediterranean firs, it is considered the Andalusian National Tree. In Spain, it appears at altitudes of 900–1,800 metres (3,000–5,900 ft) in the Sierra de Grazalema in the province of Cádiz and the Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra Bermeja, both near Ronda in the province of Málaga. In Morocco, it is limited to the Rif Mountains at altitudes of 1,400–2,100 metres (4,600–6,900 ft) on Jebel Tissouka and Jebel Tazaot.

Climate change

Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. The climate system is comprised of five interacting parts, the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), cryosphere (ice and permafrost), biosphere (living things), and lithosphere (earth's crust and upper mantle). The climate system receives nearly all of its energy from the sun, with a relatively tiny amount from earth's interior. The climate system also gives off energy to outer space. The balance of incoming and outgoing energy, and the passage of the energy through the climate system, determines Earth's energy budget. When the incoming energy is greater than the outgoing energy, earth's energy budget is positive and the climate system is warming. If more energy goes out, the energy budget is negative and earth experiences cooling.

As this energy moves through Earth's climate system, it creates Earth's weather and long-term averages of weather are called "climate". Changes in the long term average are called "climate change". Such changes can be the result of "internal variability", when natural processes inherent to the various parts of the climate system alter Earth's energy budget. Examples include cyclical ocean patterns such as the well-known El Niño–Southern Oscillation and less familiar Pacific decadal oscillation and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Climate change can also result from "external forcing", when events outside of the climate system's five parts nonetheless produce changes within the system. Examples include changes in solar output and volcanism.

Human activities can also change earth's climate, and are presently driving climate change through global warming. There is no general agreement in scientific, media or policy documents as to the precise term to be used to refer to anthropogenic forced change; either "global warming" or "climate change" may be used. The first describes the average effect on a global scale, whilst the second describes how different geographical regions are affected differently.

The field of climatology incorporates many disparate fields of research. For ancient periods of climate change, researchers rely on evidence preserved in climate proxies, such as ice cores, ancient tree rings, geologic records of changes in sea level, and glacial geology. Physical evidence of current climate change covers many independent lines of evidence, a few of which are temperature records, the disappearance of ice, and extreme weather events.

European Forest Genetic Resources Programme

European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN) is an international network that supports the conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic resources in Europe. The programme’s tasks include to coordinate and promote in situ and ex situ conservation of forest genetic resources, to facilitate the exchange of information, and to increase public awareness of the need to conserve forest genetic resources.EUFORGEN is funded by member countries and operates through working groups formed by experts from across Europe who meet to exchange knowledge, analyse policies and practice, and develop science-based strategies to improve the management of forest genetic resources. EUFORGEN was established in 1994. Its secretariat, hosted by the European Forest Institute, is located in Bonn, Germany.

Fagus orientalis

Fagus orientalis, commonly known as the Oriental beech, is a deciduous tree in the beech family Fagaceae. It is native to Eurasia, in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Forest management

Forest management is a branch of forestry concerned with overall administrative, economic, legal, and social aspects, as well as scientific and technical aspects, such as silviculture, protection, and forest regulation. This includes management for aesthetics, fish, recreation, urban values, water, wilderness, wildlife, wood products, forest genetic resources, and other forest resource values. Management can be based on conservation, economics, or a mixture of the two. Techniques include timber extraction, planting and replanting of various species, cutting roads and pathways through forests, and preventing fire.

Forest reproductive material

Forest reproductive material is a part of a tree that can be used for reproduction such as seed, cutting or seedling. Artificial regeneration, carried out through seeding or planting, typically involves transferring forest reproductive material to a particular site from other locations while natural regeneration relies on genetic material that is already available on the site.Technical opportunities and challenges to ensure quality and quantity of forest reproductive material can be found in the activities of identification, selection, procurement, propagation, conservation, improvement and sustained production of reproductive material. The use of low quality or poorly adapted forest reproductive material can have very negative impact on the vitality and resilience of a forest.In Europe, much of the material used for artificial regeneration is produced and transferred within a single country. However, forest reproductive material, usually in the form of seeds or cuttings, is increasingly traded across national borders, especially within the European Union.


Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, using, conserving, and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands. The science of forestry has elements that belong to the biological, physical, social, political and managerial sciences.Modern forestry generally embraces a broad range of concerns, in what is known as multiple-use management, including the provision of timber, fuel wood, wildlife habitat, natural water quality management, recreation, landscape and community protection, employment, aesthetically appealing landscapes, biodiversity management, watershed management, erosion control, and preserving forests as "sinks" for atmospheric carbon dioxide. A practitioner of forestry is known as a forester. Other common terms are: a verderer, or a silviculturalist. Silviculture is narrower than forestry, being concerned only with forest plants, but is often used synonymously with forestry.

Forest ecosystems have come to be seen as the most important component of the biosphere, and forestry has emerged as a vital applied science, craft, and technology.

Forestry is an important economic segment in various industrial countries. For example, in Germany, forests cover nearly a third of the land area, wood is the most important renewable resource, and forestry supports more than a million jobs and about €181 billion of value to the German economy each year.


Germplasm are living genetic resources such as seeds or tissues that are maintained for the purpose of animal and plant breeding, preservation, and other research uses. These resources may take the form of seed collections stored in seed banks, trees growing in nurseries, animal breeding lines maintained in animal breeding programs or gene banks, etc. Germplasm collections can range from collections of wild species to elite, domesticated breeding lines that have undergone extensive human selection. Germplasm collection is important for the maintenance of biological diversity and food security.

In-situ conservation in India

In-situ conservation is the on-site conservation or the conservation of genetic resources in natural populations of plant or animal species, such as forest genetic resources in natural populations of Teagan species. It is the process of protecting an endangered plant or animal species in its natural habitat, either by protecting or restoring the habitat itself, or by defending the species from predators. It is applied to conservation of agricultural biodiversity in agro ecosystems by farmers, especially those using unconventional farming practices.

Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education

The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) is an autonomous organisation or governmental agency under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Headquartered in Dehradun, its functions are to conduct forestry research; transfer the technologies developed to the states of India and other user agencies; and to impart forestry education. The council has 9 research institutes and 4 advanced centres to cater to the research needs of different bio-geographical regions. These are located at Dehradun, Shimla, Ranchi, Jorhat, Jabalpur, Jodhpur, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Allahabad, Chhindwara, Aizawl, Hyderabad and Agartala.

Juniperus foetidissima

Juniperus foetidissima, with common names foetid juniper or stinking juniper, is a juniper tree species in the Cupressaceae family.

Larix decidua

Larix decidua, the European larch, is a species of larch native to the mountains of central Europe, in the Alps and Carpathian Mountains as well as the Pyrenees, with disjunct lowland populations in northern Poland and southern Lithuania. Its life span has been confirmed to be close to 1000 years (with claims of up to 2000 years) but is more often around 200 years. It is claimed that one of the larches planted by the second Duke of Atholl at Dunkeld in 1738 is still standing.

Liquidambar orientalis

Liquidambar orientalis, commonly known as oriental sweetgum or Turkish sweetgum, is a deciduous tree in the genus Liquidambar, native to the eastern Mediterranean region, that occurs as pure stands mainly in the floodplains of southwestern Turkey and on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Malus sylvestris

Malus sylvestris, the European crab apple, is a species of the genus Malus, native to Europe. Its scientific name means "forest apple" and the truly wild tree has thorns.

Populus nigra

Populus nigra, the black poplar, is a species of cottonwood poplar, the type species of section Aigeiros of the genus Populus, native to Europe, southwest and central Asia, and northwest Africa.

Populus tremula

Populus tremula, commonly called aspen, common aspen, Eurasian aspen, European aspen, or quaking aspen, is a species of poplar native to cool temperate regions of Europe and Asia, from Iceland and the British Isles east to Kamchatka, north to inside the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia and northern Russia, and south to central Spain, Turkey, the Tian Shan, North Korea, and northern Japan. It also occurs at one site in northwest Africa in Algeria. In the south of its range, it occurs at high altitudes in mountains.The English name Waverly, meaning "quaking aspen", is both a surname and unisex given name.

Pyrus pyraster

Pyrus pyraster (syn. Pyrus communis subsp. pyraster), also called European wild pear, is a species of pear belonging to the Rosaceae family.

This wild pear and Pyrus caucasica (syn. P. communis subsp. caucasica) are thought to be the ancestors of the cultivated European pear (Pyrus communis subsp. communis). Both the wild pears are interfertile with domesticated pears.

It is sometimes difficult to distinguish Pyrus pyraster from a common pear. Pyrus pyraster can reach an age of 100 to 150 years.

Quercus suber

Quercus suber, commonly called the cork oak, is a medium-sized, evergreen oak tree in the section Quercus sect. Cerris. It is the primary source of cork for wine bottle stoppers and other uses, such as cork flooring and as the cores of cricket balls. It is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. In the Mediterranean basin the tree is an ancient species with fossil remnants dating back to the Tertiary period.It grows to up to 20 m (66 ft), although it is typically more stunted in its native environment. The leaves are 4 to 7 cm (1.6 to 2.8 in) long, weakly lobed or coarsely toothed, dark green above, paler beneath, with the leaf margins often downcurved. The acorns are 2 to 3 cm (0.79 to 1.18 in) long, in a deep cup fringed with elongated scales.

In the Portuguese town of Águas de Moura is located near the Sobreiro Monumental (Monumental Cork Oak), a tree 234 years old, 16 metres (52 ft) tall and with a trunk that requires at least five people to embrace it. It has been considered a National Monument since 1988, and the Guinness Book of Records states it as the largest and oldest in the world.

Sustainable forest management

Sustainable forest management is the management of forests according to the principles of sustainable development. Sustainable forest management has to keep the balance between three main pillars: ecological, economic and socio-cultural. Successfully achieving sustainable forest management will provide integrated benefits to all, ranging from safeguarding local livelihoods to protecting the biodiversity and ecosystems provided by forests, reducing rural poverty and mitigating some of the effects of climate change.The "Forest Principles" adopted at The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 captured the general international understanding of sustainable forest management at that time. A number of sets of criteria and indicators have since been developed to evaluate the achievement of SFM at the global, regional, country and management unit level. These were all attempts to codify and provide for independent assessment of the degree to which the broader objectives of sustainable forest management are being achieved in practice. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests. The instrument was the first of its kind, and reflected the strong international commitment to promote implementation of sustainable forest management through a new approach that brings all stakeholders together.

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