Dynamic conservation of forest genetic resources in 33 european countries

Bart De Cuyper, François Lefèvre, Jarkko Koskela, Jason Hubert, Hojka Kraigher, Roman Longauer, Ditt C. Olrik, Silvio Schüler, Michele Bozzano, Paraskevi Alizoti, Remigijus Bakys

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    Dynamic conservation of forest genetic resources (FGR) meansmaintaining the genetic diversity of
    trees within an evolutionary process and allowing generation turnover in the forest.We assessed the network of
    forests areas managed for the dynamic conservation of FGR (conservation units) across Europe (33 countries).
    On the basis of information available in the European Information System on FGR (EUFGIS Portal), species
    distribution maps, and environmental stratification of the continent, we developed ecogeographic indicators,
    a marginality index, and demographic indicators to assess and monitor forest conservation efforts. The
    pan-European network has 1967 conservation units, 2737 populations of target trees, and 86 species of
    target trees. We detected a poor coincidence between FGR conservation and other biodiversity conservation
    objectives within this network. We identified 2 complementary strategies: a species-oriented strategy in which
    national conservation networks are specifically designed for key target species and a site-oriented strategy
    in which multiple-target units include so-called secondary species conserved within a few sites. The network
    is highly unbalanced in terms of species representation, and 7 key target species are conserved in 60%
    of the conservation units. We performed specific gap analyses for 11 tree species, including assessment of
    ecogeographic, demographic, and genetic criteria. For each species, we identified gaps, particularly in the
    marginal parts of their distribution range, and found multiple redundant conservation units in other areas.
    The Mediterranean forests and to a lesser extent the boreal forests are underrepresented. Monitoring the
    conservation efficiency of each unit remains challenging; however, <2% of the conserved populations seem to
    be at risk of extinction. On the basis of our results, we recommend combining species-oriented and site-oriented strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalConservation Biology
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)373-384
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Thematic List 2020

    • Forest

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