Optimizing the management and sustainable
use of forest genetic resources in Europe

Training workshop on “Concepts and tools for optimum selection in forest tree breeding”

28-30 October 2019, HÖÖR, Sweden
A laptop running POPSIM near an old Scots pine trial. Photo credit: Torgny Persson (Skogforsk).


Tree breeders must often consider conservation of genetic diversity, while at the same time they attempt to maximize genetic response to selection. This challenge is common to management of populations for both gene conservation and elite breeding, as well as to assembly of deployment populations, such as seed orchards and mixtures of selected clones. GenTree has developed several tools and advanced methods for addressing this challenge.

Course objectives

The purpose of this course is to provide participants with the background and user-skills necessary to apply these tools correctly in the context of applied forest tree breeding programs. Different tools for “optimum selection” will be presented, such as “OPSEL”, which uses state-of-the-art mathematical approaches to optimize selection with a specified constraint on gene diversity. Other approaches include managing genetic diversity at the genomic level to guarantee short- and long-term genetic gains or levels of fitness, notably under genomic-evaluation scenarios.

After “optimizing” genetic contributions to a selected population, the practitioner still faces the daunting task of preparing mating plans that respect these contributions, while avoiding excessive relatedness between parents. A generalized tool “XDesign” makes this task straightforward, allowing the user to specify a threshold on the maximum acceptable coancestry between mates.

The training will show the concepts and functioning of several strategies to account explicitly for diversity across the genome of candidates during selection and mating steps in the context of breeding and conservation programs. Breeding strategy evaluation will be addressed with R-scripts and the simulation package “POPSIM’.

Who is the training for?

Forest managers and practitioners, forest breeders.

Requirements on participants:

  1. PC-compatible laptop with USB and WIFI connectivity, with “Administrator” account privileges

  2. The following software packages installed:

  3. The following software packages will be provided on USB and installed during the course, but can be obtained for free and installed beforehand:


Schedule (tentative):

Monday, 28 Oct
19.00: ice-breaker and registration

Tuesday, 29 Oct
8.00: registration of late arrivals
8.30 -17.00: classroom sessions (coffee breaks and lunch provided)
19.30: Social dinner (free for all participants and course sponsors)

Wednesday, 30 Oct
8.30-17.00: classroom sessions (coffee breaks and lunch provided)
17.00-17.30: wrap-up and course assessment



Stiftsgården Åkersberg, HÖÖR, Sweden (the closest airport is Copenhagen)

To apply

Registrations are now closed. We have received almost 50 applications for a total of 30 places. We will be in touch shortly with successful applicants.

Deadline for application:

15 June 2019


Confirmation of successful application by organizers:

5 July 2019



Some financial support (max. 600 euro/ person) can be provided to applicants from countries that are not involved directly in the GenTree and/or B4EST projects. In particular, but not exclusively, we encourage participation from the following countries: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and the Balkans region.



Tim J. Mullin, Senior Scientist, Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden)
Leopoldo Sanchez, Senior Researcher, INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research)



For more information on the programme: Johan Westin (Skogforsk, johan.westin@skogforsk.se)
For administrative aspects: Barbara Vinceti (Bioversity International, b.vinceti(at)cgiar.org)