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Genetic implications of forest management in the Mediterranean
 

Genetic implications of forest management in the Mediterranean

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Mediterranean forests are characterized by high complexity and biological richness at all levels. Genetic diversity of Mediterranean forest species has been found to be higher than the one of central ...

Mediterranean forests are characterized by high complexity and biological richness at all levels. Genetic diversity of Mediterranean forest species has been found to be higher than the one of central and northern Europe. It is important for the maintenance of forest cover and the adaptation of forests under adverse conditions towards environmental change. Genetic diversity in the Mediterranean forests has been shaped by the climatic and the geographical history of the region. However, the most important factor influencing diversity is the presence of human in the region. The impact of forest management techniques and other human activities on genetic diversity is analyzed. Sustainable forest management in the Mediterranean should take this information in account and include measures for the maintenance of genetic diversity of forest species. This will then secure the long-term character of forestry in the region and the production of goods and services for the society.

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    Genetic implications of forest management in the Mediterranean Genetic implications of forest management in the Mediterranean Presentation Transcript

    • Genetic Implications of Forest Management in the Mediterranean Aristotelis C. PapageorgiouDepartment of Forestry, Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece Solsona 2004
    • Presentation plan• Genetic diversity in Mediterranean forests• Factors influencing genetic diversity• Impact of forest management• SFM and genetic diversity• Research and policy prioritiesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 2
    • What is so special about the Med?• Biological, cultural, social, historical diversity• Biological diversity: – rich mosaic of changing ecosystems and land use patterns (from alpine to tropical) – Large amount of species (especially plants) – high endemism – Populations of species with a broader distribution are the most variable in terms of genetic diversityApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 3
    • Genetic diversity• Differentiation among individuals and groups of individuals (populations) exists.• Differentiation at the gene level can be inherited = genetic variation• Key for adaptation in changing environments over space and time• Connection between generations• Is usually measured in traits that are not important for forestry (e.g. DNA markers)April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 4
    • Genetic system of a forest population Hattemer & Gillet 2000April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 5
    • Generations of forest treesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 6
    • Genetics of Mediterranean forests• Disjunct distribution of populations and species – high differentiation• Usually high genetic variation within populations – comparison with N/C Europe• Many small populations• Large distributions of species over different environments (e.g. Pinus species)• Unique alleles and races• Paradox of variation in several casesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 7
    • Genetic diversity of forest species Petit et al. 2003April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 8
    • Reasons for high diversity• The relief of the Mediterranean basinApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 9
    • Reasons for high diversity • The Mediterranean climate • The existence of tectonic microplates and their moveApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 10
    • Reasons of high diversity• The glaciations era – refugiaApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 11
    • Human and forests • Most ancient human cultures • Centre of the “known world” • Organized trade and land use • First “globalized” economiesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 12
    • Direct use of plant speciesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 13
    • Direct use of plant speciesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 14
    • Human shaping natureAgriculture, grazing,fuelwood collection, etc.shape the landscape…April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 15
    • “Mosaic” - forest landscapeApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 16
    • Mediterranean forests• Forest includes terrestrial ecosystems in a broad sense• Natural forest ecosystems – mixed forests – complex agestructures – connection between generations• Mainly small scale activities – high land use diversity –fragmentation – mixed with other activities• Degradation – desertification – loss of ecosystemproductivity – land abandonment• High protective role against erosion, drought – socialimportance for rural development• Recreation – quality of life – Non Wood Goods• Culture – spiritualityApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 17
    • Human impact on gene diversity• Far-reaching / global – Emission of air pollutants – Greenhouse gases – Policy processes• Local – Forest destruction (land conversion) – Forest fragmentation – Forest management • Introduction of new species & populations • Silvicultural activities • Other forms on management (e.g. grazing)April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 18
    • Destruction and fragmentation• Forest destruction (deforestation) – Loss of species with small scale (e.g. Abies nebrodensis, Quercus euboica, Cedrus brevifolia) – Loss of populations (differentiated – adapted)• Forest fragmentation – Reduction of effective population size – drift effects – genetic bottlenecks – Increase vulnerability of populations – Caused by development, agriculture, grazingApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 19
    • Genetic bottleneck 1400 1200 1000 RECOVERY 800 N 600 400 CRASH 200 0 Bottleneck TIMEApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 20
    • Example: Pinus leucodermis in Italy• Only a few small populations remaining – fragmented – no connection possible• Low genetic variation – large differentiation among populations Morgante & Vendramin 1991April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 21
    • Artificial regeneration• Adaptation on the final site in question – Different adaptations at the original site – Adaptation in nurseries• Genetic variation (evolutionary adaptability) reduced due to drift effects – Harvest from small number of plants (founder) – Unknown material – provenance ignored• Possible impact on surrounding forests due to gene flow• However: development of new land races (e.g. Quercus rubra in France)April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 22
    • Example: Cupressus sempervirens• Low genetic variation of planted stands• Canker attack in planted stands• Gene flow from planted stands in natural populations Papageorgiou et al. 1994April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 23
    • Natural regeneration• Connection between generations - maintenance of dynamics of genetic structures in life cycle of forest trees – evolution goes on• How many individuals participate in the next generation? Where? – Natural processes (very improbable in the Med) – Non-forestry activities (e.g. grazing) – Forestry operations (e.g. light felling)• Limited potential for changes of genetic structures – No safeguard against unintentional & random changes of genetic structures, losses of genetic variationApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 24
    • Silvicultural treatments• Low population densities• Reduced gene flow – Possible founder effects (a few seeder trees) – Increased inbreeding – low germinability – Inbreeding depression• Threshold values for – Population sizes – Population densities• Problem for scattered species – Particularly in species-rich mixed forests – Species with “peculiar” mating system (Taxus baccata)April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 25
    • Example: Abies cephalonica• Higher values of inbreeding levels in uneven aged forests with lower population densities Fady & Conkle 1993April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 26
    • Selective cutting• Selection against superior phenotypes – Selective logging with short cutting cycles – Exclusion of superior phenotypes from reproduction• Reduction of mating trees – effective population size – Inbreeding• Coppice forests – Clear cuts with a few remaining treesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 27
    • Is genetic diversity at stake?• Disturbance of human – nature balance• The dynamic systems are broken (genetic, ecological, nutrients, water, energy, etc.)• Ecosystem are not able to provide goods and services in the long term – desertification.• Main problems occur mainly from factors outside SFM• The maintenance / restoration of the ability of Mediterranean ecosystems to continue their dynamic function should become the target of any conservation effort in the regionApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 28
    • Forest managementApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 29
    • Forest management in the Med• Management strategies & techniques imported from the central and northern counties of Europe - production of timber is priority in most cases• Apply on the more temperate forests of the Mediterranean region - ignore the non-productive terrestrial ecosystems (e.g. maquis)• Fail to capture the complexity of Mediterranean forests & land use systems• The spatial reference of SFM is the stand and not the broader landscape - more appropriate for the description of the human - nature dynamicsApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 30
    • Protection of forest biodiversity SFM as a tool to achieve biodiversity conservation Protects BD elements, including genes & provenancesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 31
    • Forest protection in the Med• Protection concepts and strategies imported from northern counties with empty spaces and productive forests - human influence on BD is ignored• Based mainly on the “set – aside” principle• Focus on absolute protection or special management of specific biological entities (e.g. genes) or spatial units – miss the broader picture• Restricted to reserves and networks• Selection of protected items – majority remains unprotectedApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 32
    • Forest conservation genetics• Forest genetic resources – Included in broader BD policies & plans – Most under-represented part of BD – Based in “genetic inventories” (assessments)• In situ – Actions of strict protection of rare or endangered entities – Gene reserves (special management allowed) – Conservation in managed ecosystems (Namkoong).• Ex situ – Protection of endangered or rare tree species – Storage of “useful” genes (gene banks)April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 33
    • An important gap• “Other wooded land” – not protected, not managed• The classical protection / SFM approach – has a spatial gap of about 50% – cannot cope with the dynamic nature of Mediterranean forests• Conservation of forest genetic diversity cannot be seen separately from the general use and management of forest resources• Inventories possible in a few cases only (no time, no money for “total inventories”)April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 34
    • Linking SFM and BD• Environmental agencies consider BD as a priority in all management activities• Forestry parties see the economic aspect of forestry as a priority.• BD conservation and SFM can be linked: – Complexity of both concepts – Long term character• “Ecosystem approach” & “close to nature” forestry• Tools, such as SFM certification, “criteria & indicators”, Special Management plans, NFPApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 35
    • The challenge• Maintaining adequate levels of genetic diversity of tree (& other) species is crucial for adaptation and adaptability processes• Dynamic processes must maintain their role for the maintenance of productivity of goods and services• Genetic diversity is not just another goal of SFM, but the means to achieve it• We need: Management techniques that will prevent disturbances in critical ecological and genetic processesApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 36
    • The challengeApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 37
    • Future research priorities• Develop inventory systems for genetic diversity status of terrestrial ecosystems (stand types) – Use results of existing genetic research projects – Plan future genetic research – Use models to simulate evolution under forest management scenarios – Connect gene diversity with stand & age structure, density, mating system, etc.• Develop criteria & indicators for genetic diversity – adjust existing efforts to the Mediterranean – introduce genetic criteria into existing SFM C&Is (certification standards, MCPFE criteria, etc.)April 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 38
    • Future research priorities• Connect specific management techniques of Mediterranean forests with the previous steps – Give a “genetic grade” for each technique – Evaluate human impact on genetic diversity• Set priorities for SFM considering genetic diversity• Extrapolate of appropriate strategies for most taxa from the results of studies of a few model cases• Identify genetic aspects that may become limiting for certain types of species and ecosystems• Monitoring and evaluationApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 39
    • SFM for the Med• Develop management plans for the Mediterranean beyond the classical forestry approach, including broader ecosystems and activities, based on the maintenance of genetic diversity• Protecting biodiversity through management and planning, following rules that need minor assessmentsApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 40
    • Thank you for your attentionApril 4, 2004 MEDFOREX meeting 41