Project acronym: LIFE SySTEMiC
Coordinating Beneficiary: Universita degli Studi di Firenze
Total budget: 2.976.245,00 EUR
According to The State of the Worlds Forest Genetic Resources published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2014 roughly half of forest species are at risk or subject to genetic erosion, leaving forests less resilient to changes in environmental conditions. Meanwhile, over 60% of forest habitat types identified by the Habitats Directive are reported to be in ‘unfavourable conservation status’. Threats include climate change, air pollution, unsustainable forest management, invasive species, urbanisation and forest fragmentation. All these reduce forest biodiversity, may adversely affect genetic diversity and put at risk the ability of EU forests and their ecosystems to adapt and sustain themselves. They could also threaten wood supplies and the environmental and social services forests provide.
Making an informed choice of a silvicultural system is key to forest planning, and can have major consequences for sustainability and forest ecosystem biodiversity. But variations in forest resources and the impacts of different management measures over time pose complications when assessing forestry practices. Forest genetic resources are the basis of the long-term evolutionary processes to maintain the adaptive potential of forests.
LIFE SySTEMiCs main objective is to create a selection of the best silvicultural practices for sustainable forest management, taking into account forest genetic resources, resilience to climate change, and forest productivity over time. The project will use a combination of landscape genomics, genetics and silvicultural methods and build an innovative genetic biodiversity and silvicultural model (GenBioSilvi) to be used for sustainable forest management. The selected silvicultural practices will then be implemented in three European countries, in three different European forest types, with the support of local stakeholders.
LIFE SySTEMiC will contribute to the new EU Forest Strategy: For Forests and the Forest-based Sector, the Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, the Habitats Directive and the EU Adaptation Strategy by increasing the resilience of forests to climate change.
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