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Effects of silvicultural regimes on dynamics of genetic and ecological diversity of european beech forests

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Revisiting forest management

Introducing a potentially new era in European forest management, silviculture could provide answers for the long-term conversation of genetic and ecophysiological diversity in forests.


Silviculture is essentially defined as a variety of techniques for the management of forests at all levels, ensuring control of growth, composition, quality and health. Traditional forest management has mostly concentrated on extensive felling in forest areas as a means to induce new growth. It is now thought, that felling may have seriously disturbed the genetic balance of European forests, and a new approach is called for. The EC-funded DYNABEECH project evaluated the benefits of silviculture on ecological and genetic diversity, using European beech forests as a reference. Project partners initiated efforts to gain genetic profiling information and compile a list of guidelines to improve beech forest management. The genetic diversity of European beech forests was documented within the DYNABEECH framework, based on a series of genetic loci. Further investigations, included information on phenotypic traits as well as ecophysiological and structural observations. The knowledge gained was used to compile and populate a number of databases, which can serve users to improve on current forest management methodologies.

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