Oaks have always been economically esteemed. For hundreds of years seeds of high quality provenances have been transported throughout Europe. Especially in Flanders, since the Middle Ages the most densely populated region of Europe north of the Alps, forests have suffered from an exceptional high human impact, including import of allocbthonous seeds. Consequently, autochthonous oaks are extremely rare and threatened nowadays. An inventory aiming at the localisation of autochthonous growth sites of woody plants in Flanders revealed a number of places where old coppice stools of both native oak species Quercus robur and Q. petraea survive. Because these relics hold valuable historical and autochthonous genetic information, conservation strategies are indispensable. Preservation acts include the delineation of autochthonous provenance areas as conservation units for both species based on cpDNA haplotypes. The production of autochthonous forest reproductive material is an instrument to spread the genetic information. Therefore, old coppice stands are approved as official seed sources, which allows appropriate certification and commercialisation. In addition, the coppice practice is being reinstalled on a small scale as a response to historical ecological concerns. Finally, ex situ gene conservation is attained by vegetative propagation of the largest stoois and thereby creating living gene banks that can serve as future seed orchards.
|Gepubliceerd - 2003
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