Scientific programme


Scientific tasks
___ • Task 1
___ • Task 2
___ • Task 3
___ • Task 4
WG plan
Related projects
Gender balance/ESR

 Task 1 – Scientific and technical information on ecological conditions including climate change impacts on MaP populations at southern limits of the species

1. Inventory of regional/national maps and/or links to web sites of climatic maps including future scenarios: all maps and data concerning estimated climate change scenarios should be collected, standardized, possibly geo-referenced in GIS and used to produce a climate scenarios map;
2. Inventory of regional/national maps and/or links to web sites concerning location of soil types and morphology: all maps and data concerning the soil, topography and geomorphology (i.e. European map of soils, maps of aspects and slopes) should be collected, possibly geo-referenced in GIS and used to produce a combined map;
3. Identification of pedo-climatic parameters characterizing species ranges

Expected deliverables:
• Maps, atlas, databases

Task 2 – Genetic information including adaptive traits of MaP populations at southern limits of the species

1. Identification of most relevant species;
2. Identification of skills and gaps in forest genetics research capacity;
3. Survey and description of conservation and mitigation methods and actions with special reference to climate change;
4. Survey and description of available FGR;
5. Survey of the existing information on variability of relevant genetic parameters by species for molecular markers and adaptive traits.

Expected deliverables:
• A web-based directory of human resources and infrastructure/organizations working or skilled on FGR of MaP populations;
• A directory of genetic resource conservation methods applied in COST and neighboring countries, with special reference to global change;
• Database of forest genetic resources for conservation and for use (genetic conservation units, basic material, genetic trials);
• Maps of the present variation of the main genetic parameters related to erosion – extinction risks by species/populations.

Task 3 – Analysis and synthesis of available ecological and genetic information and knowledge gaps highlighted in Task 1 and Task 2 and recommendations for forest managers and for national policy makers

1. Discussion on the impact of possible scenarios of environmental changes on FGR highlighting risk areas and refuge areas;
2. Inventory of most endangered populations with need for immediate conservation actions, and identification of suitable areas for rescue;
3. Development of indicators (at regional level) for monitoring FGR for conservation and sustainable forest management in the context of global change;
4. Identification of gaps on information and knowledge on species, areas of distribution and tools, for conservation and use of MaP FGR in COST and neighboring countries;
5. Preparation of Technical Guidelines for forest managers and for national policy makers for conservation of MaP FGR and forest reproductive material for climate change adaptation;
6. Facilitation of exchanges of genetic resources for conservation and research purposes among Europe and neighboring countries, according to international agreements on FGR transfer.

Expected deliverables:
• Predictive maps of changes in the distribution, composition and structure of some selected species inrelation to climate change scenarios;
• Report on scientific and technical information on the potential effects of climate change on FGR including analysis of existing comparative genetic trials;
• List of most endangered/diverse species and populations and those key for the future of the EU forest sector under global change;
• Guidelines for mainstreaming genetic diversity into sustainable forest management in the context of global change in Europe (including legal transfer issues).

Task 4 Coordination and organization of all networking, databases management, training and communication activities: web-site, organization of conferences, training schools, short term scientific missions.

In this work package, the Action interacts with end users and involves stakeholders (foresters, NGO representatives, forest owners, etc.) in project discussions and meetings. Target groups include scientists, nature conservationists, national forest managers and European policy makers. In close collaboration with Bioversity International/EUFORGEN and other EU networks, the Action is implementing the communication plan to reach stakeholders and general public. A panel of representative end users in the management community is being identified to interact with scientists involved in ongoing forum discussion and specific sessions during the course of the project.

In addition, to increase the efficiency of dissemination, the Action organizes workshops and conferences for target groups to promote and facilitate uptake of the results, at international, regional, national and local level.

Because COST Action results are expected to be of interest for a broad scientific community, their publications are targeted in broad audience journals and wide technical methods are published in more specialized ones.

At the graduate level, emphasis is being put on improving the trans-disciplinary perception of the function of FGR and, particularly MaP FGR, in securing long term adaptability of forest ecosystems. Possibilities for specialization in this field are being provided by organizing training schools.

A final meeting will be organized to present the results to the target groups, to discuss the implications of the results for the management of MaP FGR and to adopt recommendations and guidelines.

Expected deliverables:
• Conferences, workshops, training schools, open access databases, web toolbox, reports, publications, STSMs (D10).

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Scientific work plan – methods and means

The project benefits from an unprecedented multidisciplinary approach. The work plan is carried out by 4 Working Groups (WG):

WG1: Gathering of already available data and compilation of ecological, genetic and global change information, and particularly climate effects, on FGR and distribution of MaP populations (e.g. climatic scenarios and models, forest decline maps, lists of endangered materials). WG1 includes climatologists, soil scientists, ecologists and geneticists and is mainly focused on Task 1 and Task 2;

WG2: Evaluation and analysis of WG1 information (e.g. genetic diversity maps per species/populations, methodology for evaluation of FGR diversity, compilation of databases of relevant institutions, genetic material, trials and networks, gaps of information). Standardization of methods. Meta-analysis of the data to identify common and divergent trends of FGR response to global change. WG2 includes ecologists, geneticists and silviculturists and is focused on Task 2 and Task 3;

WG3: Mainstreaming genetic diversity into sustainable forest management in the context of global change, considering both conservation and use of FGR. WG3 includes breeders, geneticists, ecologists, silviculturists, forest managers and policy makers and it focuses on Task 3;

WG4: Coordination and organization of all networking, databases management, training and communication activities: conferences, workshops, training schools, web toolbox, open access databases, reports, publications, STSMs. WG4 provides the integrative approach of the Action and is focused on Task 4.

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Liaison and interaction with other research programmes

  • Scientists involved in the preparation of this proposal are already participating to some other European Union-funded projects dealing with similar topics (EVOLTREE, TREEBREEDEX, NOVELTREE, LINKTREE, AGORA, EUFGIS, TREES4FUTURE, FORGER, ERA-net/FORESTERRA) and networks (FAO – Silva Mediterranea, Bioversity International/EUFORGEN, IUFRO 2.02.13 and 2.04.01, EFIMED). This ensures a better integration of activities and prevention of redundancies.
  • The Action uses skills, data and tools generated by the above-mentioned projects and networks when relevant.
  • International bodies (CIHEAM, FAO, EFIMED, Bioversity International, IUFRO) help in training, networking and interfacing with policy makers.
  • The web-site of the Action has links with the different web sites of projects, networks and bodiesreferred above.
  • The databases will be integrated with existing platforms (EVOLTREE, EUFGIS, TREEBREEDEX etc.) for harmonizing metadata and ensuring long term and public access.
  • Joint conferences/workshops are organized when appropriate

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Gender balance and involvement of early-stage researchers (ESR)

This COST Action respects an appropriate gender balance in all its activities and the Management Committee place this as a standard item on all its MC agendas. The Action is also committed to considerably involve early-stage researchers (ESR). This item is also placed as a standard item on all MC agendas.

At the moment of the presentation of this proposal about 19/79 participants (nearly 23%) women were recorded among potential participants from COST Countries, Non-COST Countries and International Bodies.

In general Country coordinators and experts belong to the Scientists and Senior Scientists groups, given the skill requested for developing the network. Training young researchers and forest managers for improving a common mentality, common approaches and to transfer knowledge and skills among countries but also among generations is a clear objective of the network.