Identifying seed sources for highly adaptable oak forests in a changing climate
Given the pace of climate change, the question is raised whether local gene pools of forest trees will be able to adapt to the changing environmental conditions. Transfer of forest reproductive material (FRM) from arid sites might improve tree fitness under increasing drought and heat.
Source populations for such plantations may be selected in lower latitudes or from arid sites within a larger region. However, current guidelines for FRM are strongly focused on local seed sources.
The international BiodivERsA project ACORN aims to identify oak populations capable to cope with future drought-stress due to climate change.
The main objectives of ACORN are:
To detect signatures of adaptation to drought at the regional and continent-wide scale in the genome of oaks.
To investigate physiological and morphological traits involved in drought tolerance and address their genetic background.
To address whether FRM transfer at the regional/continental scale will significantly increase the adaptive capacity of future forests.
To assess which strategy of FRM transfer is optimal to increase benefits and decrease risks of such transfers.