Kjersti Bakkebø Fjellstad

Senior Scientific Advicer, Norwegian Genetic Resource Center

(+47) 905 06 661
kjersti.bakkebo.fjellstad@nibio.no

Place
Ås R9

Visiting address
Raveien 9, 1430 Ås

Abstract

Forests and wooded land cover 39% of the land area of Norway, with two conifer species, Picea abies and Pinus sylvestris, dominating the forest area. Twenty-five of 35 native forest tree species have their northern limit in this country. The genetic resources of 18 species are considered to be vulnerable or threatened either at a local or national level. Genetic information is available for 13 of the native species, with Picea abies being the species that has been most thoroughly characterised. The National Programme for Forest Genetic Resources is administered by the Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre. This programme covers four major areas: generating knowledge and monitoring processes influencing genetic resources; in situ and ex situ conservation activities; sustainable use and development of forest genetic resources; and networking, coordination and dissemination of knowledge. In situ conservation of genetic resources of forest tree species is carried out in nature reserves. Twenty-three gene conservation units, covering ten species, have been established in such reserves. Ex situ conservation of forest genetic resources is achieved through collections in arboreta and botanical gardens and in the long-term field plantations of research and breeding programmes. In addition, seed samples of selected forest tree species are stored at Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Forests in Norway are regenerated both by natural and artificial means. A revised tree breeding strategy, with emphasis on Picea abies, has been developed to improve climatic adaptation, growth and quality, without decreasing the genetic diversity in future forests or the potential for adaptation to future climatic conditions.