Mediterranean forest genetic diversity and adaptive conservation strategies

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What are the chances that Mediterranean forests have towards climate change? What will happen to their genetic diversity? How will evoluiton work? What should be done?

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Mediterranean forest genetic diversity and adaptive conservation strategies

  1. 1. Mediterranean forest genetic diversityand adaptive conservation strategies Aristotelis C. Papageorgiou Forest Genetics Laboratory Democritus University of Thrace Orestiada, Greece
  2. 2. Genetic component of biodiversity  ...is a total of meaningless mathematic expressions…  Perlman & Adelson 1997  …should not be given priority, since its measurement is complicated and expensive…  Dobson 1995  Misunderstandings:  “Laboratory analysis is the first step of any gene conservation method”  “The object of conservation programmes are the genes we see in the laboratories”2 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  3. 3. Importance of genetic diversity  Main condition for adaptation under new environments  Maintenance of populations and species  Stability of communities and ecosystems  Constant production of goods and services  Biological information base  Is transferred over generations and rearranged through mating system  Influenced by population size  Changes and promotes adaptation  Is imported and exported3 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  4. 4. The genetic system of a forest Genetic diversity is maintained when the genetic system is working!4 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  5. 5. Forest genetic diversity in the Mediterranean is high Petit et al. 20035 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  6. 6. Glacial refugia6 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  7. 7. Possible impacts of climate change on tree populations  Direct impacts  Tree populations will need to adapt in a rapidly changing environment  Indirect impacts  Forest fires  Outbreaks of insects and disease  Human induced impacts  Deforestation  Mismanagement  Land use change7 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  8. 8. Genetic consequences  Extinction of species and populations  Loss of rare species  Loss of valuable populations  Loss of connectivity – fragmentation  Adaptation of populations  Reduced population size and density  Genetic drift & inbreeding  Change of allele frequencies  Increase of specialization – possible reduction of gene diversity & adaptability  Migration to the north or to higher altitudes  Founder effect & bottlenecks  “nowhere to go” – increased probability of extinction8 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  9. 9. Changes of geographical range Quercus petraea9 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  10. 10. Adaptive conservation & management  Adaptation is the only option  Migration will not work  Increase adaptability of current populations of forest trees in the Med  Target: not genetic diversity itself, but the mechanism producing & maintaining diversity  Genetic system10 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  11. 11. Strategies  In situ: dynamic, allow evolution on site  Forest management  Secure pollen & seed movement  Promote natural regeneration  Expand management in non productive forests  Landscape connectivity  Restoration  Local seed or best adapted seed  Protected areas – networks  Main forest species & their ecotypes  Climate refugia & primary forests  Estimated new refugial areas11 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  12. 12. New approach in forest management12 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  13. 13. Adaptive conservation & management  Ex situ: to preserve current genetic structures for future needs  Frequent collection of reproductive material from selected forests  Restore in gene banks  Keep in plantations in different locations  Seed orchards for restoration purposes  Adaptive breeding13 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  14. 14. Some often discussed options  Evacuation and transfer to the north (?)  Will probably not work  For small number of populations only  Founder effect  Breeding targeting adaptive genotypes (?)  Will probably not work  Takes time  Application will be restricted  Could reduce diversity in populations14 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  15. 15. What is needed?  Collaboration with various partners  New forest management approach  Effective forest protection framework  International synergy  Awareness about the importance of the forest for society and economy15 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  16. 16. Mediterranean forests  Have accumulated adaptation potential through  Different climatic fluctuations in the past  Spatially diverse environments  Human pressure  Best strategy: protect and manage them to maintain adaptation mechanisms16 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
  17. 17. Thank you17 14/02/13 Mediterranean Forest
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