Translating conservation genetics into management: Pan-European minimum requirements for dynamic conservation units of forest tree genetic diversity

Koskela, Jarkko; Lefèvre, Francois; Schueler, Silvio; Kraigher, Hojka; Olrik, Ditte C.; Hubert, Jason; Longauer, Roman; Bozzano, Michele; Yrjänä, Leena; Alizoti, Paraskevi; Rotach, Peter; Vietto, Lorenzo; Bordács, Sándor; Myking, Tor; Eysteinsson, Thröstur; Souvannavong, Oudara; Fady, Bruno; Cuyper, Bart de; Heinze, Berthold; Wühlisch, Georg von GND

This paper provides a review of theoretical and practical aspects related to genetic management of forest trees. The implementation of international commitments on forest genetic diversity has been slow and partly neglected. Conservation of forest genetic diversity is still riddled with problems, and complexities of national legal and administrative structures. Europe is an example of a complex region where the distribution ranges of tree species extend across large geographical areas with profound environmental differences, and include many countries. Conservation of forest genetic diversity in Europe has been hampered by a lack of common understanding on the management requirements for genetic conservation units of forest trees. The challenge resides in integrating scientific knowledge on conservation genetics into management of tree populations so that recommendations are feasible to implement across different countries. Here, we present pan-European minimum requirements for dynamic conservation units of forest genetic diversity. The units are natural or man-made tree populations which are managed for maintaining evolutionary processes and adaptive potential across generations. Each unit should have a designated status and a management plan, and one or more tree species recognized as target species for genetic conservation. The minimum sizes of the units are set at 500, 50 or 15 reproducing individuals depending on tree species and conservation objectives. Furthermore, silvicultural interventions should be allowed to enhance genetic processes, as needed, and field inventories carried out to monitor regeneration and the population size. These minimum requirements are now used by 36 countries to improve management of forest genetic diversity.

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Koskela, Jarkko / Lefèvre, Francois / Schueler, Silvio / et al: Translating conservation genetics into management: Pan-European minimum requirements for dynamic conservation units of forest tree genetic diversity. 2013.

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