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Consulting stakeholders for better conservation of forest genetic resources in Europe

Participants analyse various contraints to conservation of forest genetic resources. Photo: E.Hermanowicz/Bioversity International

On 6 April 2017, GenTree invited EUFGIS national focal points to a consultation held in Rome (Italy), to discuss what are the factors affecting the amount and quality of data available in national forest genetic resources (FGR) inventories and in the EUFGIS portal, and what are the main constraints to achieve optimal in situ conservation of forest genetic resources in the different European countries.

The ongoing FGR conservation efforts at the European level are currently documented in the EUFGIS portal, a platform linking information about where dynamic in situ conservation of FGR is carried out at national level in European countries, and about what species are targeted. The portal is maintained by the European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN) and updated by national focal points from 35 countries in charge of reviewing the data and supplying new information.

To improve conservation of FGR in Europe, GenTree will use next-generation sequencing, high-throughput phenotyping and environmental monitoring to contribute new scientific data and identify gaps in the current network of in situ dynamic conservation units.

According to the participants to the event, the main constraints affecting in situ FGR conservation in Europe are the lack of support by policy-makers and lack of awareness on the importance of FGR conservation among decision-makers, forest practitioners and the general public. Other constraining factors considered important, but less critical, are knowledge gaps and an insufficient translation of research findings into management guidelines.

All these issues are considered important targets for the initiatives implemented by EUFORGEN and by ongoing research projects, such as GenTree.

You can access the full report here