Final Conference 'Genetics to the rescue - managing forests sustainably in a changing environment', 27-31 January 2020, Avignon, France
The final conference showcasing the project results took place at the University of Avignon and welcomed almost 200 participants. Apart from the four thematic sessions, it included training events on genomics and Wikipedia as well as a stakeholders consultation on research needs in the area of forest genetic resources.
The aim of the event was to take stock of the scientific findings presented during the final GenTree conference (see above), identify critical issues not yet addressed by research and formulate research priorities for future collaborative work in the area of forest genetic resources conservation and sustainable use. These ideas will be conveyed to funding bodies and implementing agencies.
The aim of this science-to-policy event was to present and discuss the relevance and implications of recent research findings and guidelines for policy and practice. The main focus was the role of forest tree biodiversity, in particular genetic diversity, for the adaptation of forests to climate and land use change.
This event was jointly organized by four European research and implementation projects - GenTree, SUSTREE, SPONFOREST and LIFEGENOMON – and the EUFORGEN programme.
The purpose of this training workshop for graduate students, postdocs and early-career biologists was to provide conceptual background and hands-on experience in the analysis of molecular and quantitative genetic data, and of trait-based species distribution models (ΔTraitSDM), for conservation genetics-related problems. Emphasis was on statistical and modelling tools, rather than on the data acquisition process.
Tree breeders must often consider conservation of genetic diversity, while at the same time they attempt to maximize genetic response to selection. The purpose of this course was 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” were presented, such as “OPSEL”, which uses state-of-the-art mathematical approaches to optimize selection with a specified constraint on gene diversity.
Assessing how genetic diversity at potentially adaptive loci is structured in natural forest tree populations, is a complex matter. Demographic processes and natural selection interact to produce genomic signatures that need to be disentangled.
The course showed how genomic data sets can be analyzed to yield information on how environmental factors shape local adaptation and how genomic variation affect phenotypic diversity and how this can be used in breeding programs.
Part of research carried out within GenTree and implemented within LIFEGENMON project is addressing a challenging task of forest genetic monitoring for a large number of tree species across Europe. The LIFEGENMON project, aims at producing a science-policy communication plan for the long-term support to conservation of forest genetic resources and forest genetic monitoring. Within the GenTree project, the type of indicators selected for genetic monitoring, and how they will be implemented in everyday forest management, will impact forest adaptation models and forest dynamics scenarios.
The event on the topic of genetic monitoring was organized in collaboration with LIFEGENMON project.
Three-day summer school at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) to learn about methodologies to detect polygenic adaptation from genomic data. These approaches can be applied to tree species investigated in GenTree and offer new tools to decipher the role of genetic diversity and environmental variability in shaping adaptive traits in trees.
Consultation of EUFGIS focal points on conservation of genetic resources in their respective countries discussed during a dedicated session at the EUFGIS training workshop.
Participants from key areas related to forest reproductive material - forest owners, managers and nurseries personnel - across Europe discussed with scientists about choices in forest regeneration and forest reproductive material to prioritize issues for policy, practice and research.
The conference was jointly organised by the four working parties of IUFRO subdivision 2.4 (Genetics) and sponosored by Gentree. There were two side events: Genomic Selection workshop & IUFRO Task Force meeting to present and discuss new scientific findings in the area of population, quantitative and evolutionary genetics and how they can be applied in genetic resource conservation and breeding.
Final project meeting, Avignon, France, 27 January 2020
Third annual meeting, Thessaloniki, Greece, 5-7 June 2019
First annual meeting, Madrid, Spain, 6-10 March 2017.
Kick-off meeting, INRA, Domaine Saint-Paul, Avignon, France, 20-22 April 2016