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Forest genetic resources under spotlight at Forests Asia Summit

Douglas McGuire, Judy Loo and Riina Jalonen at Forests Asia Summit that took place in Jakarta, Indonesia in May 2014.

Forest scientists urge for the Global Plan of Action for Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources to be woven into national and international programmes and strategies.

Forest scientists from Bioversity International and FAO urge for the Global Plan of Action for Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources to be woven into national and international programmes and strategies.

On 5 May, researchers and colleagues from Bioversity International and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) spoke at a co-organized side-event at the Forests Asia Summit.

An enthusiastic group came together to learn about the first ever State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources Report and the associated Global Plan of Action, which, if implemented fully, will greatly improve the outlook for forest sustainability and their valuable tree genetic resources.

The Bioversity International and FAO speakers recommended that the Strategic Priorities of the Global Plan of Action for Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources should be integrated into national programmes and strategies, and international processes and conventions.

Judy Loo, Senior Scientist at Bioversity International stressed the urgency for resources to be mobilized for implementation of the Global Plan of Action for forest genetic resources at multiple levels, including funding for research and monitoring. 

The first ever State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources Report will be released on the first half of 2014.

Policymakers, researchers and forest managers have a lot of work on their hands to increase awareness of the importance and vulnerability of forest genetic resources and options for improving livelihoods through its use; and strengthen capacity for conserving, managing and equitably sharing benefits of forest genetic resources.

"Forests are expected to play a key role in climate change mitigation, but they will only be able to fulfill that role if the trees themselves are able to survive and adapt to changing climate conditions. Genetic diversity provides the necessary material for natural selection under a changing climate. Genetic diversity in planting material is the foundation for its good growth, reproduction and resilience over generations," said Riina Jalonen, Associate Forestry Scientist at Bioversity International.

Photo: Douglas McGuire, Judy Loo and Riina Jalonen at Forests Asia Summit that took place in Jakarta, Indonesia in May 2014. Credit: Bioversity International/M.Millere

Bioversity International’s forest research contributes to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry: Livelihoods, Landscapes and Governance, leading the theme on management and conservation of forest and tree resources.

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