Nordic cooperation for adaption: forests and fields in climate change

Project: Adaptation, mitigation and breeding of trees and crops for future climate Genes4Change, organised a scientific seminar in Oulu, 18th-19th March, 2019.

The aim of the Genes4Change network is to combine Nordic researchers and stakeholders to discuss adaptation, mitigation and breeding of trees and crops for future climate. Climate will be similar for plants and trees, and enhancing collaboration will be beneficial for both.

Text: Katri Kärkkäinen, research prof in Forest Genetics, LUKE

 

The network gathered together people from different disciplines to discuss together adaptation, mitigation and breeding of trees and crops for future climate in Oulu Science Garden  in 18th-19th March, 2019. The number of participants was limited to 80 due to space, but excellent representation from both agricultural and forestry side, high quality invited speakers together with excellent contributors.

Genetics is crucial

Basic research on local adaptation is increasing our understanding on possibilities to mitigate the effects of climate change. Genetics of most crucial issues on climate change: changes in growth rhythm and increasing need for resistance against biotic and abiotic factors were discussed, influencing both forest tree species and for agricultural plants.  Methodologies already used in model species to study genes and gene networks are becoming available also for other species. Need for large scale international collaboration with multidisciplinary approaches is evident.

It takes time

While evolutionary process needs several generations, the studies on genetics of local adaptation, breeding and optimal deployment of genetic material are also time demanding, and should continue across several generations of researchers.

In the meeting, we also celebrated long careers of outstanding researchers in the field, Outi Savolainen, University of Oulu, Bengt Andersson-Gull, Skogforsk, and Antoine Kremer, INRA, who all have contributed much to our understanding on genetics of local adaptation, and possibilities to mitigate effects of climate change via breeding and optimal deployment.

In the panel, the honorary speakers presented their views on climate change: what have we learned and how to proceed, and discussed these issues  together with “next generation researchers”, JP Verta (University of Helsinki) and Delphine Grivet, INIA,  The honorary speakers’  take home messages were recorded and stored in the web.

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