Forest genetic resources (FGR) form the base for adaptation of European forests to future environmental conditions and societal demands. Appropriate use and sustainable management of FGR is therefore of utmost importance. Past decades have shown: (i) an immense progress in detecting patterns of genetic diversity, due to fast technological advances, (ii) increased knowledge on the modelling of responses of tree species to changing environmental conditions; (iii) increased awareness by policy makers across Europe, leading to increased efforts for the conservation of FGR in all European member states. E.g. by the establishment forest stands with the aim to conserve genetic diversity. However, currently there is no sound management on the sustainable use of FGR neither in these gene conservation units nor in production forests, to meet future changes.
The FORGER project aims at integrating and extending existing knowledge to provide science-based recommendations on the management and sustainable use of FGR for EU-policy makers, national stakeholders, forest managers, and managers of natural areas. The project will galvanize around five interconnected objectives: 1) synthesise and further develop knowledge from European FGR inventories by linking and extending existing databases to provide the knowledge base to sustain FGR at the pan-European level for stakeholders; 2) deliver a general monitoring system of forest genetic diversity that can be efficiently and economically applied by all EU Member States; 3) assess current and future distribution of genetic diversity under a number of forest management scenarios and climate change; 4) provide an overview of past and current transfer of forest reproductive material across Europe and its consequences for local adaptation; 5) formulate guidelines and recommendations to sustain forest genetic resources in both gene conservation units and production forests to meet the challenge of a changing environment and societal needs.