Forest genetic resources and transboundary conservation
Second Forum on the Conservation of Forest
“Applied Forest Genetic Conservation”
Table of Contents
Forest Genetic Resources and Transboundary Conservation - F.T. Ledig, B. Jaquish &
Pan-Canadian Solutions for Genetic Resource Issues: CONFOR
Tracking Forest Genetic Resources: Expansion of the Knowledge Management System,
National and International Drivers for Gene Conservation - O. Hendrickson
Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Conservation: A Gap Analysis Approach
Gene Conservation Pressures in Ontario and the Need for Gene Conservation
A Challenge Dialogue Respecting Forest Tree Genetic Resource Conservation and
Management (GRM) in British Columbia - B. Barber
Forest Genetic Resources and Transboundary Conservation
F. Thomas Ledig1, Barry Jaquish2 and J. Jesús Vargas Hernández3
1 Institute of Forest Genetics, USDA, Forest Service and
Department of Plant Science, University of California
3 Instituto de Recursos Naturales, Colegio de Postgraduados en Ciencias Agricolas
Montecillo, Texcoco, México, C.P. 56230, MÉXICO
In the last three decades, most advocates for the conservation of forest genetic resources concluded that insitu
conservation had significant advantages over ex situ
conservation. The argument was partially basedon cost: in situ
conservation could piggyback on other uses of forests, such as recreation, research,environmental services, and even timber exploitation. The genetic advantage was that in situ
populationswere free to evolve in response to changing environments. However, rapid climate change has muddiedthe situation. In a century or less, within the span of one generation, local populations of forest trees mayfind themselves so maladapted that in situ
conservation may no longer be possible. The new call is forassisted migration, the intentional movement of genetic materials to habitats projected to be suitable atsome future date.
Assisted migration is not only necessary to maintain genetic resources of value to breeders, but also maybe necessary merely to prevent extinction. Conservation genetics is about preventing extinction. It isconcerned with the genetic conditions for survival, reproduction, and continuing evolution of species orpopulations. The term was coined by Otto Frankel who, himself, came from a background in conservationof genetic resources. Conservation genetics could be called the genetics of small populations because itdeals with loss of diversity, inbreeding, reduction in gene flow, and accumulation of deleteriousmutations, dynamics particularly critical in small, fragmented populations.
The study of rare species illustrates the problems associated with these genetic processes. Mexicanspruces (Picea
ssp.), reduced in range and population size and fragmented by warming after the lastglacial period, are case examples. They are now relicts existing only in specialized habitats. Other NorthAmerican spruces illustrate the effects of past climate change as well; some conifer species show geneticeffects of migration following the ice ages. Climate envelope models project mass displacements of theseand other species; in some cases, complete elimination from their present geographic ranges. Onlyassisted migration or ex situ
conservation will preserve these resources.
In assisted migration, it may be necessary to move populations across borders, from the U.S. to Canada orfrom Mexico to the U.S., for example. A plan for assisted migration of Brewer spruce (Piceabreweriana
), an endemic to California and Oregon, to British Columbia is an example. W hile the case ofBrewer spruce is relatively straightforward, there may be restrictions on movement of other species inother situations under provisions of the Convention on Biodiversity, CITES, the U.S. Endangered Species
Act, Canada’s Species at Risk Act, or Mexican law. Transboundary movement could conceivably createproblems by introducing potentially invasive plants or importing plant pests along with the forest speciesof interest. Nevertheless, we conclude that assisted migration will probably not be faced withinsurmountable restrictions within North America.
Transfers may also involve movement outside North A merica. Presently, many North American speciesare planted extensively in the Austral Pacific, Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe. Documentingand managing these ex situ
genetic resources is an important goal for the near future.
Dr. Ledig was a full Professor and member of the Board of Permanent Officers of Yale University for 14years. He joined the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station in 1979 as Director of theInstitute of Forest Genetics, located in Berkeley and Placerville, California. He is currently, SeniorScientist in the Pacific Southwest Research Station and adjunct professor at the University of California-Davis.
He led two binational gene conservation projects – with Mexico and Australia and served on the PolicyAdvisory Board of the University of California's Genetic Resources Conservation Program (1987-92). Hewas a member of the scientific committee of the Bull Foundation for conservation (1992-95) and of theUniversity of California-Davis W orking Group on Conservation Biology and Agriculture (1988). He wasa participant in the Keystone National Policy Dialogue on Biological Diversity (1989-91) and aconsultant for the National Academy of Science/National Research Council on management of forestgenetic resources (1988-90) and for the Office of Technology Assessment on their report, "Preparing foran Uncertain Climate" (1992-93).
Dr. Ledig is a Fellow of the American Association for the A dvancement of Science (AAAS) andSecretary (1985- ) of the UN/FAO/North American Forest Commission's Forest Genetic ResourcesW orking Group. He holds memberships in the IUCN Species Survival Commission/Conifer SpecialistGroup, Society for Conservation Biology, International Society of Tropical Foresters, Botanical Societyof America, California Botanical Society, Society of American Foresters, and A merican Society of PlantTaxonomists.
He has over 120 publications in genetics and physiology. His current research interests are in populationgenetics and evolution of Mexican and Californian conifers, the role of genic diversity in naturalpopulations, and conservation biology.
Pan-Canadian Solutions for Genetic Resource Issues:
Challenges to Canada's forest genetic resources transcend jurisdictional boundaries creating the need for a
coordinated approach to planning conservation activities, and assembling and reporting information on
the status of forest genetic resources. CONFOR
GEN (a Canadian programme for CONservation of
FORest GENetic resources) is an initiative of a Canada-wide network of forest tree genetics experts and it
provides a framework for such a coordinated approach. CONFOR
GEN was formally initiated at the
Forum on the Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources in Charlottetown, July 2006. The steering
committee consists of representatives from provincial Forest Genetics Councils, provincial governments,
one territorial government, First Nations, and Natural Resources Canada. As well, a Standing Technical
Committee, consisting of provincial, federal, and academic experts, has been established to oversee
projects. Two subcommittees were named to work on specific tasks. CONFOR
GEN has been recognized
by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM ) as a source of information for national reporting
GEN has embarked on four areas of work. First, we are improving and re-conducting a survey
to evaluate the status of native tree genetic resource conservation needs across Canada. This was done
previously by CONFOR
GEN members and we expect that each iteration will provide more detailed
information. Second, we are working with CAFGRIS (Canadian Forest Genetic Resource Information
System) in the compilation, summary, and presentation of Canada-wide genetic resources conservation
data. CAFGRIS will be available as a platform for use by provinces, industry, universities, and others, to
synthesize relevant forest genetic resources information and to assist in developing strategies to respond
to climate change. Third, we plan to extend a data-based, geo-referenced gap analysis that will determine
the status of native tree genetic resources and the gaps in their conservation across Canada. Finally, we
have begun to develop science-based guidelines for assessing and conserving Canada’s forest tree genetic
resources that are impacted by threats from climate change and other stressors.
Judy Loo is a Research Scientist with Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, located in
Fredericton, New Brunswick. She obtained her PhD at Oklahoma State University in 1986 and worked as
a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia for four years before joining CFS. Her
primary interest is in conservation of forest genetic resources. Her research includes determining levels
and patterns of genetic diversity of native tree species, and understanding and breeding for genetic
resistance of American beech to beech bark disease. She chairs CONFOR
GEN, a Canada-wide initiative
for conservation of forest tree genetic resources.
Tracking Forest Genetic Resources: Expansion of the Knowledge Management
In 2005, the geospatial-based knowledge management system CAFGRIS (Canadian Forest Genetic
Resource Information System, ) was developed to integrate and
synthesize relevant geospatial data for assessing, reporting, and making decisions on the status and
management of native tree species. In particular, the resilience of native tree species to the cumulative
impacts by which they are currently threatened, the identification of conservation requirements, the
success of conservation efforts for these species requiring attention, and tools for predicting future
conservation needs under changing climate scenarios will be addressed. In 2006, funding was received for
expanding CAFGRIS and further development is on-going, with a completion date of 2009. Specifically,
this expansion phase will develop the application necessary for accessing sources of information over the
Internet, that pertain to: 1) assessment of the current status of native tree species by ecozones, 2) predict
what the future status may be under a variety of climate change scenarios (using the climate change
model Seedwhere), 3) assessment of the current conservation status of these species (including ex
conservation efforts), and 4) predict the future conservation requirements. In addition, the
project will identify: 1) data deficiencies and uncertainties in the species’ status and threats to the species,
2) stimulate cooperative research efforts to obtain the information necessary to evaluate species status and
threats, and 3) foster voluntary efforts to conserve the species before official species listing is warranted.
CAFGRIS is a collaborative effort including members from the provinces, universities, NGOs, and
Tannis Beardmore is a Research Scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, in Fredericton, NB. Her areaof expertise includes seed science and molecular biology. She obtained her MSc and PhD at theUniversity of Guelph in 1988 and 1991, respectively. She did a Post-Doc with the CFS in Petawawa,Ontario following which she was hired by the CFS and has been working there for 12 years. Her currentresearch interests are in gene identification and gene conservation, in particular in developingmethodologies for the ex situ
conservation of hard-to-store or recalcitrant seeds.
National and International Drivers for Gene Conservation
Numerous government agencies (federal, provincial), academic institutions, private companies, and non-government organizations within Canada are involved in forest gene conservation activities. At theinternational level, two organizations have a particularly strong influence on current policy developments:the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD). Considerable technical expertise resides in other organizations such as IUFRO and BiodiversityInternational.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment has identified five major direct drivers of biodiversity loss: landuse change, climate change, invasive alien species, overexploitation, and pollution. All five drivers affectgenetic diversity and should be considered in developing applied forest gene conservation programs.
The FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources was established in 1968 with a mandate to "helpplan and coordinate FAO's efforts to explore, utilize and conserve the gene resources of forest trees and,in particular, help prepare detailed short- and long-term programmes of action, and to provide informationto Member Governments". The Panel reviews work in the field of forest genetic resources worldwide anddiscusses priorities for action at national to global levels based on information received from membercountries. It has developed a powerful database to recommend proper seed sources for reforestation andtree planting and has strong support from member countries.
In its most recent report the Panel highlighted several forest gene conservation "drivers", notably:
coping with the challenge of mitigating and adapting to global change;
addressing world-wide deforestation; and
addressing potential great losses of diversity from invasive pests.
The Panel recommended that top priority be given by FAO to preparing the first country-driven Reporton the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources
. It agreed that this Report should include all forestspecies of socio-economic importance - both major planted species and species with important values forlocal communities.
The Panel also expressed concern that while forest genetic resources are under great pressure globally,and national programmes and local communities need technical advice and support, FAO's forest geneticresources program has been repeatedly downsized in recent years and lacks sufficient resources to act inan effective and timely manner.
The FAO's Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture recently formulated a multi-yearprogram for its future work. It recognized that its work on plant and animal genetic resources is now wellestablished, and that its future work should deal, in a planned and staged approach, with biodiversity forfood and agriculture in its broadest sense, including crop, forest, animal, fish, and micro-organism
genetic resources for food and agriculture.
However, the reality is that forest tree species of commercial importance are grown mainly for timber,not for food and agriculture. While the proposed Report on the State of the World’s Forest GeneticResources
should be a significant milestone, FAO will likely always give less attention to forests thanagriculture or fisheries, given global food supply concerns.
W here else can scientists concerned about forest gene conservation turn for policy support and policyinfluence?
The UN Forum on Forests has not dealt with forest gene conservation to date. Its recent "Non-legallybinding instrument on all types of forests" is silent on genetic diversity. Nor have Canada and othercountries addressed forest gene conservation in their pursuit of a legally-binding forest instrument.
The CBD's program of work on forest biological diversity addresses forest gene conservation in detail. Itsets an objective for Parties to "Develop effective and equitable information systems and strategies andpromote implementation of those strategies for in situ
and ex situ
conservation and sustainable use offorest genetic diversity, and support countries in their implementation and monitoring."
Eight activities are suggested to achieve this objective, including:
assessing the diversity of forest genetic resources, taking into consideration the identification ofkey functional/keystone species populations, model species, and genetic variability at the DNAlevel;
developing an action plan to protect genetic resources of the most threatened forest ecosystems;
understanding patterns of genetic diversity and its conservation in situ
, in relation to forestmanagement, landscape-scale forest change, and climate variations;
monitoring developments in new biotechnologies for compatibility with the objectives of theConvention on Biological Diversity with respect to forest biological diversity, and developingand enforcing regulations for controlling the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)when appropriate; and
implementing activities to ensure adequate and representative in situ
conservation of geneticdiversity of endangered, over exploited, and narrow endemic forest species; and complementingthis with adequate ex situ
The CBD work program also identifies a need for increased understanding of the effects of pollution onforest genetic diversity. It calls upon Parties to develop legislation, administrative or policy measures onaccess and benefit-sharing (ABS) for forest genetic resources, taking into account the Bonn Guidelineson Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of theirUtilization. CBD Parties are currently in the midst of negotiating an international ABS regime. It willlikely have legally-binding elements and will supplement the voluntary Bonn Guidelines.
Another objective in the CBD forest work program - "Promote the fair and equitable sharing of benefitsresulting from the utilization of forest genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge" - isrelevant in this context. It encompasses three activities:
to establish mechanisms to facilitate the sharing of benefits at local, national, regional, and globallevels;
to strengthen capacity of indigenous and local communities to negotiate benefit-sharingarrangements; and
to promote dissemination of information about benefit-sharing experiences through the clearing-house mechanism and appropriate means at the local level.
Given Canada's large Aboriginal forest-dwelling populations, a focus on benefit-sharing arrangementswith Aboriginal communities should be a priority. A 2008 CBD technical report, Access and Benefit-Sharing in Practice: Trends in Partnerships across Sectors
, contains a series of relevant case studies(although none are from Canada). One study describes Aboriginal involvement in sandalwood harvestingand processing in A ustralia, in partnership with Aveda Corporation, a US-based personal care productscompany. Aveda and an Australian industry partner helped create a national Aboriginal corporation basedon the philosophy “that by active participation in supporting and facilitating equitable commercialpartnerships between the Indigenous and business communities, based on the sustainable use of naturalresources and Indigenous cultural knowledge, positive change will occur.” Natura, a Brazilian personalcare products company, has done similar work on sustainable, community-based sourcing of rawmaterials for its products. It regards Forest Stewardship Council certified raw products as an importantelement of its "EKOS" product line.
Negotiating benefit-sharing arrangements can be difficult. The San people of South A frica obtained acommunity benefit-sharing agreement related to the hunger-suppressing plant, Hoodia,
only aftercommercialization of their knowledge of its use was well advanced. The CBD report cautions that theSan now face a major challenge in channelling their new flow of income in a fair and equitable way. Itcites other cases illustrating "the potentially divisive impact that natural product trade can have inindigenous communities."
Researchers in academia and industry have also voiced concern about the negative impact A BS is havingon basic science and on traditions of trust and collaboration among scientists. While scientific andtechnological developments have improved our ability to study and use genetic resources, ABS laws andregulations are being implemented in a fashion that decreases the availability of organisms to researchers,including in countries with extremely threatened ecosystems where the future of these organisms isuncertain. Some researchers warn that countries are isolating themselves and setting back their owncapacity and development. Craig Venter remarked at a recent public lecture, “If Darwin were alive today,he would not have been able to have done his research.”
Scientists are beginning to address these concerns and there is reason for optimism that they will beaddressed in the international ABS regime (negotiations are supposed to conclude by 2010). TheConsortium for the Barcode of Life is organizing a November 2008 international workshop on basicresearch and ABS. It will propose guidelines for DNA barcoding that will include abiding by local lawsin obtaining samples, trying to increase the capacity to carry out barcoding when carrying out studies indeveloping countries, and protecting rather than exploiting genetic resources.
Canada, as both a user and provider country for genetic resources, is struggling to develop a nationalpolicy on ABS. The 2008 CBD report recommends that provider countries undertake nationalconsultations to address the range of issues that touch upon ABS, including patenting of life forms,relationships with external companies, and implications of new biotechnology. The scope of Canadianconsultations is yet to be determined, including the question of whether researchers will be involved. TheCBD Report also recommends a regional or international clearing house for information on commercialuse of biodiversity. It would include information on sectors undertaking research on genetic resources,including scientific and technological developments, demand for access, trends in benefit sharing, andnew ABS agreements. It would help Parties stay abreast of the commercial activities they seek toregulate.
Engagement of the forest sector in developing Canada's ABS policy is critical. The agricultural sectorwill likely not play as active a role as might be expected in light of the importance of genetic resources toagriculture, as the legally binding International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food andAgriculture has already been negotiated in harmony with the CBD and has come into force. Parties to the
Treaty have established a Multilateral System, encompassing a list of genera of food and forage crops,designed both to facilitate access to relevant genetic resources and share the benefits arising from theiruse. If a company commercializes a product that uses these resources and restricts its access for furtherresearch and breeding, it pays a fixed percentage of the sales of the commercialized product into a trustfund established by the FAO. The Treaty foresees a funding strategy to mobilize these funds, especiallyto help small farmers in developing countries.
W hile ABS is the "hot" current policy issue related to genetic resources, an emerging policy issue thatwarrants more attention is ecosystem services (or "ecological goods and services"). These are defined bythe Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) as "the benefits people obtain from ecosystems." Theyinclude provisioning services
such as food, water, and timber; regulating services
that affect climate,floods, disease, wastes, and water quality; cultural services
that provide recreational, aesthetic, andspiritual benefits; and supporting services
such as soil formation, photosynthesis, and nutrient cycling.
The MA classifies genetic resources as provisioning services (or "ecological goods"). They are traded at amodest level (e.g., tree seeds). Unlike other ecological goods, such as food and timber, the level of tradeis low and provides only a weak economic incentive for their conservation. Furthermore, the degree towhich genetic diversity underpins other ecosystem services - particularly soil formation, photosynthesis,and nutrient cycling - is not well taken into account either in the MA's conceptual framework or in ourcurrent economic system:
Most resource management decisions are most strongly influenced by ecosystem servicesentering markets; as a result, the non-marketed benefits are often lost or degraded. These non-marketed benefits are often high and sometimes more valuable than the marketed ones.
Growing awareness of the social and economic benefits of ecosystem services has spurred interest in avariety of incentives to address market failure. These include removal of subsidies that encourageoverexploitation, carbon trading markets, certification and ecolabeling schemes, payments for ecosystemservices, and biodiversity offsets. So-called "framework incentives", such as information provision,scientific capacity building, education and awareness raising, economic valuation, and local stakeholderinvolvement are also important.
Gene conservation should be more strongly addressed in both these emerging initiatives and in theconceptual framework for ecosystem services. If ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration receivedisproportionate attention (e.g., in carbon markets), gene conservation will be short-changed and theproblem of market failure will persist. Conversely, provision of genetic resources is one of manyecosystem services, and there is a risk of focusing too narrowly on their commercialization (e.g., underABS schemes). To maximize human well-being, economic incentives should take into account the fullsuite of ecosystem services, and the role played by genetic diversity in providing them.
Ole Hendrickson works for Environment Canada as Senior Science Advisor in the BiodiversityConvention O ffice, which deals with matters related to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
He coordinates Canadian participation at meetings of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technicaland Technology Advice (SBSTTA), and acts as lead negotiator for a range of scientific issues at meetingsof the SBSTTA and the CBD's Conference of the Parties. He is engaged in a broad range of scienceissues, including biological information management, forest ecology, invasive alien species, impacts ofclimate change on biodiversity, and incentive measures. He led Canadian government participation in theMillennium Ecosystem Assessment, a major international initiative to assess the consequences ofecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for action on conservation andsustainable use.
Prior to his current position, Dr. Hendrickson was Science Advisor, Biodiversity, in the Science Branchof the Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada) in Ottawa (1990 to 2000). In 1993 and 1994he was a member and then chairman of the International Tropical Timber Organization's Expert Panel fortechnical appraisal of project proposals. He worked as a Research Scientist at the Petawawa NationalForestry Institute (Canadian Forest Service) from 1983 to 1990 and published over 25 journal articles onforest ecology and forest soil microbiology. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Guelph in1981-1982. He holds a BS in Environmental Studies (1973) from the University of Wisconsin, and a PhDin Ecology (1981) from the University of Georgia. His PhD research was on nutrient filtering by riparianforest soils in agricultural watersheds.
Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Conservation:
A Gap Analysis Approach
A central element of gene conservation planning at both the provincial and national levels is a network ofin situ
genetic reserve forests. To be effective, multiple reserves should represent locally adaptedpopulations of species with some redundancy to ensure against simultaneous loss of all reserve forests.
Minimum effective population sizes must be maintained in reserves to ensure against loss of geneticdiversity through genetic drift. Both the required reserve size and the degree of redundancy can bedetermined with stochastic methods.
It is unclear, however, whether a static network of forest reserves is a suitable conservation strategy underchanging environments in the long-term. Over the past three decades, boreal and sub-boreal forest regionsin western Canada have experienced a warming trend of 0.8°C and a reduction in precipitation by 20%,resulting in disease epidemics and stress-related dieback of forest trees. This raises the question ofwhether populations protected in genetic reserve forests can survive and adapt under a continued warmingtrend that is predicted to be around 0.4ºC per decade.
A gap analysis approach is used to evaluate the vulnerability of tree populations in protected areas undervarious climate change scenarios. Using botanical inventory and sample data, interpolated climate data,and topo-edaphic information we derive an approximate ecological niche space for each tree species.
Subsequently, this niche space is spatially projected under 20 climate change scenarios using severalmodeling methods. With these habitat projections we determine where and for how long species habitat issustained in current protected areas (e.g., reserve X contains at least 250 ha of suitable habitat for speciesY under 80% of the scenarios until 2050).
Dr. Hamann graduated from the State University of New York, Syracuse, with a MSc degree in ForestResource Management in 1995, and obtained his PhD degree in 2001 from the University of BritishColumbia in Forest Science. He served as Assistant Director at the Center for Forest Gene Conservationat UBC before taking up a faculty position at the University of Alberta in 2005. His research programfocuses on ecological genetics and climate change impacts and adaptation strategies.
Gene Conservation Pressures in Ontario and the Need for Gene Conservation
Forest Genetics Ontario (FGO) is the provincial association mandated to be the lead organizationcoordinating forest genetic resource management work in Ontario. We have three regional associationmembers: Superior-W oods Tree Improvement Association, Northeast Seed Management Association, andForest Gene Conservation Association.
In the two northern regions, current pressures on forest genetic diversity are largely due to harvesting andcan be controlled through good forest management practices set by the Crown. Past harvesting practiceshave left a legacy of lost diversity among some species, and climate change threatens the adaptation oflocal genetic material to future conditions.
In the southern region, pressures are enormous with 80% of its 12.6 million ha privately owned. Thepopulation of 11 million creates pressures such as:
land use change, including more than a century of forest clearing
poor forest management and logging practices
introduction of non-native species – plants, diseases, insects
The effects of some of these pressures on the genetic diversity of some of Ontario’s tree species will be
described, as well as actions being undertaken by the Forest Gene Conservation Association and FGO to
forestall genetic diversity loss in the face of these pressures. Work on gene conservation guidelines on the
national level is progressing through CONFOR
GEN’s subcommittees and participants, and there is an
enormous need for such guidelines to help with Ontario’s efforts.
Kathleen Brosemer is the provincial coordinator for Forest Genetics Ontario, the forest genetic resourcemanagement cooperative in Ontario. Her scientific background is in geology and soil science,supplemented with broad experience leading nonprofit organizations. She also holds a Commercial pilotcertificate.
A Challenge Dialogue Respecting Forest Tree Genetic Resource Conservation and
Management (GRM) in British Columbia
British Columbia's forest genetic resources are the foundation for maintaining healthy productive forestecosystems and a globally competitive forest industry. BC is fortunate in having a strong, multi-sectoralcommunity of practice involved in conserving and managing its forest genetic resources. However, anumber of social, economic and environmental drivers, such as the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic andclimate change, challenged us to re-examine the assumptions, objectives, activities, and desired outcomesthat guide Forest Tree Genetic Resource Conservation and Management (GRM) in BC.
In 2006–08, under the sponsorship of Jim Snetsinger, Chief Forester, and Craig Sutherland, Deputy ChiefForester, representatives from Tree Improvement Branch, Research Branch, and the Forest GeneticsCouncil of BC (FGC) undertook a Challenge DialogueTM 1 with members of the GRM community ofpractice, stakeholders, and interested members of the public to develop a collective vision and strategy forguiding GRM activities over the next decade.
A Challenge D ialogue is an iterative process whereby questions and draft statements are prepared forcomment, and then based on feedback, improved upon. This dialogue afforded persons the opportunity toparticipate, learn, share, and wrestle with ideas regarding GRM. As a result, the process of engagingpersons in this Dialogue was just as, if not more, important than its final products.
A new vision, scope, sets of assumptions and guiding principles, and objectives for G RM in BC wascompiled by the project champions and supporters in March 2008 based on the diverse and rich inputreceived through various meetings, responses to two challenge papers, and a workshop. The final reportcan be downloaded a
This final report will serve to guide the development of business plans and the FGC's next 5-year strategicplan (2009–2014). The latter will include performance measures necessary to achieve the desiredobjectives for the 3 core business areas of GRM: Conservation, Resilience, and Value, and their enablers:Research, Policy, Decision Support, and Extension.
1 Challenge Dialogue is a trademark of Innovation Expedition Inc
Brian T. Barber is the Acting Director, Tree Improvement Branch, Ministry of Forests and Range (MFR),in Victoria, BC. Tree Improvement Branch's mission is to conserve and manage BC's forest geneticresources through excellence in policy, planning, seed production, cone and seed services, and extension. Brian received a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University ofBritish Columbia in 1987 and a Master of Arts in Environment and Management from Royal RoadsUniversity in 2007. His master's thesis was titled "Reforestation strategies for adapting British Columbia'smanaged forests to climate change: policy barriers and opportunities”. Brian, a registered professionalforester, has worked for the MFR in various policy and planning positions over the past 16 years. Incollaboration with colleagues in the MFR and the Forest Genetics Council of BC, Brian oversees thedevelop and implementation of many of BC's forest genetic resource management strategies, policies,operations, and decision support systems. Brian is married with 3 children and enjoys forest history,exercise, playing hockey, and travel.
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