GeeDAAF - Study and expertise group on the Adaptive Diversity of Forest Trees

Conserving and enhancing the genetic diversity of trees


Conserving and making good use of the genetic diversity within forest tree species is essential to maintain the adaptive capacity and productivity of forests in the face of climate change and other adversities. Natural selection is the "engine" for the evolution of species and their adaptation to changes in their environment. This engine needs a "fuel": the genetic diversity naturally present in each species.

Fig1 : Fleurs femelle de douglas (Pseudotsuga menziesii), © G. Philippe, INRAE

Fig1 : Female Douglas-fir flowers (Pseudotsuga menziesii), © INRAE

In the face of climate change, which threatens the stability of forest ecosystems, and the uncertainties about its future impacts, it is essential to optimise the genetic diversity of trees, particularly when renewing forest plots by natural regeneration or planting. Furthermore, it is also important to develop wood production to reduce the trade deficit of the French wood industry and limit the ecological impact of massive imports from boreal or tropical forests.
Our group supports the Ministry in charge of forests in defining and implementing public policies in this field: conservation of indigenous resources, choice of seed provenances for plantations, evaluation of improved varieties.

To learn more about "Forest reproductive material: a challenge for the forests of tomorrow", a dossier is available HERE

To learn more about the conservation of forest genetic resources, you can visit the CRGF website.

Challenges and methods

Foresters need fast-growing varieties that meet market demand and have a good level of resistance to environmental hazards (diseases, pests, drought, late or early frosts, excessive heat, etc.). It is therefore necessary to study how climate change predictions can be integrated into recommendations for both prescribers of conservation measures and reforesters, while taking into account the changing needs of users and the expectations of society.

In order to sustainably conserve the adaptive capacity of forest tree species and make the best use of their genetic diversity, it is first necessary to study this diversity, and in particular that of adaptive traits such as phenology (e.g. late bud opening) and their capacity to resist climatic accidents and various diseases. This is what we are doing, both on natural populations (e.g. elms) and on varieties resulting from genetic improvement (fast growing conifers and poplars).

In addition, we provide national coordination (e.g. Secretariat of the Forest Genetic Resources Commission) and technical expertise (e.g. selection of seedbearing stands).

Team composition (permanent staff)

AnimatorAurore DESGROUX
Researchers and engineersVincent BOURLON
Technicians/Assistants-EngineersStéphane MATZ

You can find a video presentation of the team's activities HERE 

In this folder

Our expertise aims to contribute to: - promote the genetic diversity of forest trees in the long term, - selecting provenances and improved varieties for reforestation that best meet the compromise between performance and genetic diversity, - provide information to guide reforesters in their choice, without harming native resources.

Modification date: 24 January 2024 | Publication date: 16 June 2021 | By: SL