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The well-being of billions of people depends on the provisioning services that trees deliver, including food, shelter, fuel, fibre, medicine and income. Forest and tree diversity is also important for planetary health, regulating climate, water, soil, supporting biodiversity and increasing the resilience of ecosystems to climate change.

Despite the vital role that trees play, the genetic diversity within and among species is severely threatened by over exploitation, land-use change, fragmentation of populations, climate change, invasions of exotic species and over-grazing by domestic livestock.


Bioversity International’s forest genetic resources interdisciplinary team work globally to build an evidence base, decision support tools and capacity to support safeguarding and sustainable use of diverse forest resources, as well as resilient restoration of degraded landscapes using tree diversity. Through this work we contribute to delivery of multiple sustainable development goals.

Thematic research areas

Why forest genetic diversity matters

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Trees for nutrition

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Sustainable use of forest diversity

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Safeguarding forest diversity

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Forest restoration

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Gender in forest research

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Highlight: Mapping the threats to 16 food tree species

The continued survival of many tree species, a vital source of income and nutrition in rural households, is under threat. Overharvesting, development, mining and climate change are just some of the pressures they face. A question asked by many conservation practitioners is how to effectively target the species that are both the most vulnerable and the most valuable to local communities?

A study in Burkina Faso of 16 important food tree species and the threats they face provides some answers.

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Tropical fruit trees

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Trees for Seeds

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Bringing our forests back to life

Bioversity International and partners are guiding resilient forest restoration efforts by collecting lessons learned and developing decision-support tools, in Latin America and beyond.

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Global partnerships

Bioversity International led the establishment of three regional networks, which provide powerful platforms for knowledge sharing and cooperation among stakeholders in order to strengthen regional, national and local capacity for the effective conservation and use of forest genetic resources.

  • Asia Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN)
  • European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN)  
  • Latin American Forest Genetic Resources Network (LAFORGEN)
  • Sub-Saharan African Forest Genetic Resources Programme (SAFORGEN)


Email: Christopher Kettle
Science Domain Leader, Forest Genetic Resources and Restoration

Meet the Forest Genetic Resources Team

Forest Genetic Resources Training Guide

Available in English and Spanish, the Forest Genetic Resources Training Guideis a tool for teaching and learning about forest genetic resources issues in formal education or on-the-job training. Through its modules, you will learn about the links between sustainable forest management and forest genetic resources, covering areas such as conservation strategies, trees outside forests, seed supply chains, and forest management, forest restoration and logging.


Bioversity International's research on forest genetic resources is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry and is supported by CGIAR Trust Fund Donors. We lead a cluster on safeguarding forest genetic diversity.

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