There is growing concern that the implementation of political agreements on climate change and biodiversity will not be enough to protect forests in the short run and up to the end of the 21st century. As mitigation efforts are lagging behind self-imposed, reasonable targets, genetic diversity will have a large and significant part to play in the process of adapting forests to climate change. Genetic diversity, the raw material of evolution, can be used for adaptation by natural selection and artificial breeding, in naturally regenerated and plantation forests alike. The 2-day scientific conference: “#rescueforests: Genetics to the rescue - Managing forests sustainably in a changing world,” addressed the genetic diversity of forests. More specifically, the conference was about natural as well as assisted adaptive processes, their spatial scale, from fine grain to landscape and ecoregions, and how much of the genome it involves. It also dealt with phenotypes and how much of their variation is determined by underlying genetic diversity. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, the conference emphasized the importance of conservation and sustainable use of this genetic diversity as a nature-based solution to adapt under the fast pace of climate change. The conference demonstrated how improved knowledge on genomic diversity and evolutionary mechanisms can help to rescue forests, either naturally or by means of management.
Fady, B.; Aravanopoulos, F.; Benavides, R.; González-Martínez, S.; Grivet, D.; Lascoux, M.; Lindner, M.; Rellstab, C.; Valladares, F.; Vinceti, B. (2020) Genetics to the rescue: managing forests sustainably in a changing world. Tree Genetics & Genomes 16: 80 ISSN: 1614-2942