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Effects of silvicultural regimes on dynamics of genetic and ecological diversity of European forests

Traditional forest management of European beech forests consists of large-scale felling, leaving few remaining trees to produce the next generation. This may have significantly disturbed the genetic and ecophysiological diversity as, in general, a higher diversity is assumed to be very important for the adjustment to environmental changes. As a result of the project, guidelines will be made available through the integration of genetic and ecophysiological results by the modelling and development of alternative management scenarios. End-users involved in the project will evaluate the guidelines for economic and practical implications in their field of forest management.

DynaBeech aims to assess the impacts of previous silvicultural regimes on genetic and ecophysiological diversity within beech forests in Europe. It will provide guidelines for both the optimisation of the adaptive potential and the in situ conservation of the diversity of beech forests through appropriate silvicultural regimes. Dynabeech aims to contribute to Key Action 5.3.1. by:
1) providing tools for evaluating biodiversity
2) understanding the functioning and diversity of forest ecosystems
3) assessing the interactions with forestry activities.

The work of the project was divided into four sections: Ecology, Genetics, Modelling, and Forest management. The ecological measurements and genetic diversity studies were performed on five sites in five countries, each consisting of two plots with different intensities of forest management. Three sites were studied more intensely. The French, Austrian and German sites were used for plant performance and ecophysiological experiments. In the French and Austrian sites gene flow was studied and phenological observations were carried out. At these locations the most natural beech forests found in Europe were compared to plots with a long history of traditional forest management. In addition, half-sib families (a French population) were used to estimate heritability for adaptive traits and a full-sib family (Italian population) were used for a QTL search. Both populations were already established before the DynaBeech project started. The modelling section integrated the information obtained in the ecological and genetic sections in a spatial explicit model that included gene flow, selection and tree growth and could evaluate forest management options required for the forest management section. In the latter section the results and conclusions of the ecological, genetic and modelling sections were evaluated for their usefulness by end-users representing different forest sectors. This resulted in the technical guidelines and recommendations to fulfill the objectives of the project.


Scientist responsible for the project

Droevendaalsesteeg 3 A Box 23
6700 AA Wageningen
Netherlands (The) - NL

Phone: +31 317 477894
Fax: +31 317 424988


Project ID QLRT-1999-01210
Organisation ALTERRA Green World Research
Area 5.3.1
Start date 01 February 2000
Duration (months) 48
Total cost 2 334 606 €
Total EC contribution   1 259 457 €
Status Completed

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