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The final GenTree project conference will showcasing its project results around four topics: genomes and the environment; local adaptation of climate change-related traits; conserving and using genetic diversity, and evolutionary management of forests.
The conservation and sustainable use of forests is one of the major challenges of the twenty-first century, in a context of environmental change of uncertain magnitude and scale. Society demands that forests provide a wide range of potentially conflicting ecosystem services, from timber products, raw materials and renewable energy, to climate change mitigation and sociocultural amenities and habitats for nature conservation.
Genetic diversity is a key component of resilience and adaptability. Overall, forest tree populations are genetically very diverse, conferring them an enormous potential for genetic adaptation via such processes as gene flow and natural selection. What remain largely unknown are the scale and pace at which local adaptation occurs in forest trees and whether adaptation and resilience for some traits conflicts with adaptation and resilience for others. Without this basic knowledge, innovative and science-based management and policy approaches will lag behind the pace of environmental and societal constraints.
Access to large scale genomic, phenotypic, environmental and policy data have the potential of opening new dimensions in how adaptation and resilience is studied. Focusing primarily but not exclusively on forest trees, the conference will showcase some of the key results made during the past few years in the field of evolutionary sciences that can inform sustainable forest management and policy.