Silva Mediterranea

Over 90 years of Mediterranean forest management

IUFRO task force “Strengthening Mediterranean nursery systems for forest reproductive material procurement to adapt to the effects of climate change” 

The task force coordinated by Fulvio Ducci (coordinator of the working group on forest genetic resources of Silva Mediterranea) has been launched at the IUFRO Enlarged Board meeting on 26-27 September 2019 ahead of the XXV IUFRO World Forestry Congress in Curitiba, Brazil.

 This Task Force reflects aims and targets of WG4 "Forest genetic resources in the Mediterranean Region" in the framework of the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry questions of FAO Silva Mediterranea (SM). It may seem very technical and perhaps ambitious, but this relatively neglected topic is addressed to make basic scientific information available to maintain diversity in the forest nursery production chain, to apply serious and scrupulous certification criteria and, finally, to support the adaptation of future forests to environmental changes. This adds a further value to the ecosystem services provided by silviculture.

The accelerated degradation of forests in the Mediterranean-like regions, due to the interaction of multiple natural and anthropogenic stressors, poses a serious threat to the diversity of forest genetic resources (FGR). The risk of irreversible losses of many endemic forest tree species/populations or unique marginal peripheral ecotypes is becoming nowadays more intense in these frequently biodiversity hot spot regions, due to the climate change effects. The socio-economic instability of the regions contributes also to the intensification of these effects.

Faced with this alarming situation, national and international relevant bodies (EU, FAO, EFI, IUFRO...) require research outputs to develop strategies and actions for implementing conservation and proper management of forest genetic resources in view of future scenarios. In this socio-ecological context, however, the high importance of the nursery supply chain of the forest reproductive material (FRM) is largely neglected in both planning and applications, despite of its short-term effectiveness compared to the generally long times and uncertainties of the forest sector. The nursery chain needs to be better supported by new technologies, such as based on GIS and MAS (Marker Assisted Selection).

Those who know Mediterranean-type environmental conditions in the world, also know how often the application of nursery practices is disregarded and not enough attention is paid to preserve and certify diversity and variability of reproductive forest materials. Thus, forest nursery needs to be recognized for its significance, be strengthened in the genetic diversity hot spot regions and be decisively directed towards achieving a high adaptive value, through maintaining and enlarging genetic diversity of forest trees. These concepts are stressed by the FAO Global Plan of Action for forest genetic resources (2014) and by the Convention on Biological Diversity (2009), by the FAO COFO XXIV statements: However, the Task Force will be a source of knowledge also for other socio-ecological contexts in the world and a global perspective will be given by the participation of relevant IUFRO Units.

An effective nursery supply chain, beside the agronomic nursery techniques, should nowadays consider the whole process, from the genetic improvement through the selection of different forest basic materials up to the development of decision tools for the proper management of FRMs in relation to the future scenarios.

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last updated:  Monday, October 14, 2019