Department of Forest Growth and Silviculture
Mitarbeiter suchenSuche

Genetic diversity of forests across national boundaries

The Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) starts an international project promoting climate change adaptation of forest ecosystems. Eight partner institutions from six countries of Central Europe share their expertise in the SUSTREE project, to enable transnational management of forest genetic resources. 

Central Europe’s major tree species are under pressure as a changing climate is expected to modify the species composition of our forest ecosystems.
This brings new challenges and offers new opportunities. To sustain the forests’ ecological and economic functions, adaptive silvicultural practices are required that make use of alternative tree species, species mixtures and the full adaptive capacity of our Central-European trees. The utilization of seed material from warmer regions of the tree species distribution is expected to buffer forest stability against global temperature increase.

Plants are not limited by national borders

National boundaries are poor descriptors of tree species distributions and their local adaptation. Instead, adaptive genetic variation follows topographical structures and climate zones. Thus, the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE-project SUSTREE brings together experts on forest provenance research and breeding from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Objective of the transnational cooperation is to identify endangered genetic diversity and to discuss cross-boundary seed transfer to use the best genetic material fit for climate change in the forests of Central Europe.
photo: oak in seedling nursery

Trend-setting solutions 

Close collaboration with forest enterprises ensures real-time implementation of the research project outcomes. Tools and apps for practitioners will be developed, based on models of the adaptive capacity of trees and their seed provenances. Transnational seed recommendation schemes in climate change are expected to support forest nurseries and orchards to adapt to the new climatic situation. The aim is to demonstrate promising strategies for adaptive management of forests, building on transnational seed transfer regulations. 
Silvio Schüler and his team of the department for forest growth and silviculture (BFW) are leading the project and are in charge of the work package communication.

photo: spruce seedlings in nursery

first row: Magdalena Lackner (BFW), Lea Henning (TI), Debojyoti Chakraborty (BFW), Christina Bouissou (BFW), Szilvia Jakab (NAIK ERTI), Dagmar Bednarova (NLC), Alexandra Kulmer (CENTRAL EUROPE Programme Joint Secretariat), Lubor Jusko  (CENTRAL EUROPE Programme Joint Secretariat) second row: Roland Baier (ASP), Andreas Bolte (TI), Silvio Schüler (BFW), Ervin Rasztovits (NAIK ERTI), Thomas Geburek (BFW), Martin Cabrada (CULS), Jan Stejskal (CULS), Thomas Thalmayr (BFW) third row: Roman Longauer (NLC), Jan Kowalczyk (IBL), Laszlo Nagy (NAIK ERTI)

Project partners:
  • University of Life Sciences Prague CULS
  • National Forest Centre Slovakia NLC
  • National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre Hungary NAIK ERTI
  • Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Bundesforschungsinstitut für Ländliche Räume, Wald und Fischere TI
  • Forest Research Institute Poland IBL
  • Österreichische Bundesforste AG ÖBf 
  • Bayerisches Amt für forstliche Saat- und Pflanzenzucht ASP
Project members: 
The Forests of the Czech Republic, State Enterprise (LCR), The Forest Management Institute Czech Republic, Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, LIECO GmbH & Co KG, Federal Office for Agriculture and Food Germany, Public Enterprise Sachsenforst, Competence Centre for Wood and Forestry, General Directorate of State Forest Poland, Seed Office Agency Poland, The Forests of the Slovak Republic, state enterprise, Technical University in Zvolen, Faculty of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture Hungary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic, Section of Forestry and Wood Processing, Bavarian State Forests, European Forest Institute Central-East European Regional Office (EFICEEC)

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