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TREEBREEDEX: a working model network of tree improvement for competitive, multifunctional and sustainable European forestry

Project code : 26076 Contract period : - 2011
Total budget : 2800000 Euro

Through creation of improved varieties, forest tree breeders have largely participated to the improvement and the sustainability of cultivated forests in Europe. Over decades, they have built up huge collections of trees for most economical species and vast networks of experimental trials. As well, they have continuously developed original methodology in genetics and in related sciences to recombine, test, evaluate, analyse, select and mass-produce forest tree species. All this, together with specific facilities and equipment, represents a unique set of infrastructures based on a biological material particularly original. Unfortunately, this resource and the teams concerned are scattered all over Europe and do not reach the critical mass for efficiently conducting their activities. In addition, tree breeding R&D activities have become even more complex over years due to new environmental concerns (climatic changes, pressure from natural disaster, allergy), socio-economic pressures (multi-functionality) and development of new technologies (genomics, somatic embryogenesis). Rare are the teams who can now compete alone with these new conditions. The main aim of this proposal is therefore to create a European Virtual Tree Breeding Centre: to foster co-operation and complementarity among teams, to enhance the excellence level of R&D activities across Europe, to progressively integrate tree improvement research into co-operative programmes activities, and to open infrastructures to a larger scientific community in forestry and agriculture (ornamentals, fruit trees) but more broadly in biology including pharmacology, medicine. Networking activities will include website and discussion forums, databases, exchange of expertise and methodology, common protocols, etc. It will allow substantial economy-of-scale and reinforcement of competitiveness and it will serve as a unique link with the forestry wood chain, stakeholders, policy-makers and the public.

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Management of the Coordination Action

Creation of a virtual Tree Breeding Centre for a better integration, education and dissemination of forest tree improvement R&D activities

Geographical Structure of Genetic Diversity of Species: towards the delineation of adaptive environments and breeding zones at European level

Structure, Organisation and Long-Term Management of Forest Tree Breeding Material: towards a joint management of breeding populations

Optimisation of breeding strategies: networking breeders’ experimentation tools and methodology for a joint development of breeding activities and genetic research

Optimisation of Improved Variety Mass-Production and Deployment in Forests: share of expertise for a more efficient dissemination of varieties

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