Forest genetic resources
The Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) highlighted the importance of supplementing the assessment of the status of forest genetic resources worldwide through the analysis of trends and key issues affecting the conservation and management of FGR in the world.
Nine thematic studies, listed in the table below, are being prepared or completed under the coordination of FAO. The objectives of the thematic studies are to review available knowledge and experience in addressing the key issues and trends identified, and to identify actions required, including research needs and priorities. As a result of information and consultation efforts by FAO, in collaboration with Bioversity International, more than 40 scientists, from 20 countries and 2 CGIAR centres agreed to contribute to the elaboration of the thematic studies on a voluntary basis. Thematic study groups and their coordinators were established on the basis of their interest and knowledge in the subject, availability and willingness to contribute, commitment to deliver, regional coverage and, for coordinators, experience in coordination of joint reviews and publications.
List of thematic studies
This publication provides information and guidance to policymakers and practitioners on embedding genetic considerations into ecosystem restoration activities, highlighting the key role of native tree species. Genetic aspects are often overlooked both by restoration scientists and practitioners, yet are crucial to rebuilding resilient landscapes and ecosystems.
The study was coordinated by Bioversity International as input to FAO’s first report on The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources (June, 2014). Editors include Michele Bozzano, Riina Jalonen, Evert Thomas, David Boshier, Leonardo Gallo, Stephen Cavers, Sándor Bordács, Paul Smith, and Judy Loo.
Indicators of forest genetic diversity, erosion and vulnerability
Rationale: Lack of indicators at global and national levels that are scientifically sound, realistic and policy relevant, for defining baseline and for monitoring.
Scope: Review of existing knowledge, experience and efforts to suggest the way forward to develop appropriate indicators.
Coordinator: Lars Gradual, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Understanding genetic diversity of tropical species in natural forests
Rationale: Knowledge on life-history traits and genetic diversity is lacking or inadequate for most species to define and implement conservation strategies.
Scope: Review and syntheses of available knowledge and experience. Proposal of research programmes to improve knowledge on genetic diversity of priority species.
Coordinator: Stephen Cavers, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Natural Environment Research Council, UK
New Technologies and approaches to support conservation of FGR
Rationale: Many forest species are difficult to conserve in situ and/or ex situ, because of their biological characteristics.
Scope: Review of knowledge and experience. Assessment of technologies available and their effectiveness for conservation in situ and ex situ of genetic resources of priority species, and suggest the way forward.
Coordinator: Hugh Pritchard, Head of Research, Seed Conservation & Kew Senior Science Group, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK
Use and transfer of FGR
Rationale: Transfer and exchange are regulated under international agreements, which, in some cases, can result in constraints for programmes that improve knowledge on, and develop FGR.
Scope: Review of legal and phytosanitary frameworks, schemes for the transfer of reproductive material, their implementation and impact on transfer of FGR. Recommendations to facilitate safe movement of FGR.
Coordinator: Jarkko Koskela, Bioversity International, Italy
FGR role in adaptation to biotic and abiotic factors, with a focus on climate change
Rationale: The role of FGR is generally acknowledged, but needs to be better characterised, along with the vulnerability of species to biotic and abiotic events and process.
Scope: Resilience and resistance. FGR in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
Coordinator: René Alfaro, Canadian Forest Service, Canada
Use of FGR in decentralised development for food security, poverty reduction and livelihood improvement
Rationale: Decentralised/local management of forest resources is gaining importance, involving new approaches and technologies in management of FGR. The experience gained in this new area is useful to the analysis of successes and failures.
Scope: Experience and results in local, participatory conservation and improvement of species for different uses. Role and capacity of stakeholders. Identification of needs and gaps.
Coordinator: Ian Dawnson, ICRAF, Kenya
Effects of management practices on forest genetic diversity
Rationale: It is generally acknowledged that silvicultural practices influence the genetic structure of the species. Knowledge available on some species and silvicultural systems should be synthesised and efforts expanded to cover a broader array of key species and situations.
Scope: Review and synthesise available experience and knowledge. Identification of gaps. Proposals for action concerning key species and management systems.
Coordinator: Wickneswari Ratnam, University Kebangsaan Malaysia
Trends in management of FGR by the private/corporate sector
Rationale: The role of the corporate private sector in management of FGR is increasing. Current and potential impact of this trend should be analysed to define actions needed.
Scope: Corporate priorities and policies and their consequences: i.a. short term vs. long term, productivity vs. diversity, short life span, volatility of corporate investment and potential threats due to discontinuity. Capacity. Role of public sector.
Coordinator: Zheng Yongqi, Chinese Academy of Forestry, China