Forest genetic resources (FGR) are the heritable materials maintained within and among tree and other woody plant species that are of actual or potential economic, environmental, scientific or societal value. They are crucial to the adaptation and protection of our ecosystems, landscapes and production systems, yet are subject to increasing pressures and unsustainable use. Conservation and sustainable management of FGR is therefore a must to ensure that present and future generations continue to benefit from forests and trees.

The contribution of forests and trees to meeting the present and future challenges of food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable development depends on the availability of rich diversity between and within tree species. Genetic diversity is needed in order to ensure that forest trees can survive, adapt and evolve under changing environmental conditions. It also maintains the vitality of forests and provides resilience to stresses such as pests and diseases. Furthermore, genetic diversity is needed for artificial selection, breeding and domestication programmes for the development of adapted varieties or to strengthen useful traits.

FAO’s activities on FGR are an integral part of the FAO Forestry Programme and contribute to FAO’s efforts to realize its Strategic Objective 2, to “increase and improve provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry and fisheries in a sustainable manner”.

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last updated:  Friday, July 29, 2016