The project aims to identify tipping points in the demographic and micro-evolutionary dynamics of tree populations. It will assess how human actions interfere in the adjustment between the rate of evolution and the velocity of global change.
Forests are a major reservoir of biodiversity and trees, as keystone organisms, directly impact the diversity and functioning of forest communities. Predicting the response of trees to ongoing global change is thus a critical scientific and societal issue. Genetic adaptation is a central component of this response, particularly in trees whose high levels of diversity and long distance gene flow facilitates the spread of favourable genes. Our hypothesis is that there is a critical level of genetic diversity for stress responses, which, together with the demographic impact of stress, predicts the likelihood of adaptation or extinction.
In order to investigate this hypothesis, Tip Tree will:
- Screen the ecological and geographical margins of widespread keystone forest trees from different ecoregions.
- Identify where recent environmental changes have provoked shifts in allele frequencies at adaptive genes.
- Quantify these shifts by contrasting parent and offspring genetic and phenotypic compositions.
- Test the existence and evaluate the magnitude of tipping points for tree population dynamics at micro-evolutionary scales.
EFIMED will assist with stakeholder interaction and the elaboration of management scenarios. It will use its networks and assist with organisation and facilitation of meetings and video conferences in order to spread knowledge and share information.
Unité de Recherche Ecologie des Forêts Méditerranéennes – INRA, France
University of Montpellier, CNRS-UM, France
INRA BIOdiversity, Genes & ECOsystems, INRA-BIOECO, France
Joint Research Unit Ecology of Guiana Forests, INRA- ECOFOG, French Guyana
Philipps-Universität Marburg, UNI-MAR, Germany
Uppsala University, UU Sweden
El Centro de Investigación Forestal & Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, CIFOR-INIA, Spain
Office National des Forêts, ONF, France
European Forest Institute, EFI, International
Skogsägarna / Fed. of Swedish Family Forest Owners, LRF, Sweden
National Research Council, CNR, Italy