The GenTree project owes much of its strength to its interdisciplinarity. Researchers approach the same basic problems – how to make the best use of forest genetic resources in Europe – from many different points of view. Each informs the others, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
So, for example, tree breeders have to understand how the environment can affect the way genes express themselves in the way the tree grows. Conservation of useful parent plants is more effective if the past history of those trees, and the environmental challenges they have overcome, is known in detail. A deeper understanding of how trees have grown in the past, meshed with past climates, can identify more adaptable populations. And breeding, to improve forests, needs to be aware of how genetic diversity allows trees to adapt.