Forest genetic resources
Forests and other woodlands provide numerous goods and services that are essential to people’s livelihoods and well-being. Trees are also keystone species of forest ecosystems, which harbour the vast majority of Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forest genetic resources 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. Forest genetic resources are crucial for the adaptation and evolutionary processes of trees and other woody plant species, as well as for increasing the productivity of both natural and planted forests.
Forest genetic resources are subject to several threats. A major threat is land-use change, i.e. the conversion of forests to crop fields and pasture lands. Other threats include overexploitation, selective harvesting and high tree mortality due to extreme climatic events or outbreaks of pests and diseases. These threats can result in local population extinction and genetic erosion. Conservation and sustainable use of these resources are therefore necessary to ensure that present and future generations continue to benefit from forests and trees.
- Trees, tree genetic diversity and the livelihoods of rural communities in the tropics
- Indicators of the genetic diversity of trees – State, pressure, benefit and response
- Genetic considerations in ecosystem restoration using native species