Genes4Change: Adaptation, mitigation and breeding of trees and crops for future climate

Coordinator: Katri Kärkkäinen katri.karkkainen@luke.fi


Period: 2018-2019

Sun shining through branches in forest. Photo.

Climate changes puts pressure on trees and crop plants, they have to adapt to new conditions. At the same time, bioeconomy increases the need of biomass. Genes might be the solution.


As climate changes, southern Europe will become unproductive due to high temperatures and reducing precipitation. Northern parts of Europe will be more important for bioeconomy, both for production of food and biomass. Researchers is searching for solutions for adaption to new conditions in the genes of plants.

Building bridges

When the climate is getting warmer and growing season longer, the trees and crop plants need to change their growth rhythm. A lot of research is being done to study adaption to climate change, measuring the processes of adaption and molecular and genetic aspects of it. All of that is important and contributes to the understanding of adaption and breeding in the future, and when researchers with different kinds of views meet and interact, there will maybe be some minor miracles.

The SNS network Genes4Changes aims to strengthen the sectors of forestry and crops by joining them – answers to the demanding challenges have to be searched in large coalitions. The network will be the arena for painting a common picture of our present knowledge about adaption and mitigation to climate change, and to identify the knowledge gaps of the area.

Hands on

It will also be a project to transfer knowledge into practice by linking researchers to other stakeholders and get all material and methods in use for mitigating the effects of climate change. End users of research is, and more will be invited to be, part of the network and there will be some work done to engage commercial companies who play an important role in breeding. Hopefully there will be a highway built when connecting science and stakeholders that will fasten the process of making practical use of theoretical knowledge!

Climate will be similar to whatever trees and crop plants there are under the sky so joining the forces will be beneficial for both sectors and will also make the Nordic area stronger in EU. In the Nordic countries forestry and agriculture are studied in the same institutions, so collaboration will be a natural development. Tools used by researchers in one sector can easily be used of the other too, so synergies are also likely to occur as the network activities are getting started.



These are the partners


LUKE: research institute
University of Oulo: genetics
University of Helsinki: plant breeding
Finnish Forest Industries Federation
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry



SLU: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
SkogForsk: research institute



NIBIO: research institute

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