A genetic resources strategy for Europe was presented in Brussels on Tuesday (30 November) as part of Slovenia’s EU presidency.
The strategy is a policy framework facilitating a transition to effectively protect genetic resources and their sustainable use in the EU, the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food said in a statement.
The strategy was presented upon completion of the three-year GenResBridge project, which featured several partners from different countries, coordinated by the European Forest Institute and co-funded with €3 million from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.
“The strategy will contribute to improving our understanding of the current situation and trends in development, conservation, communication, integration of genetic resources of agricultural plants and their ‘wild’ relatives, domestic animals and forest trees,” Minister Jože Podgoršek said as he addressed the event via video link.
The ministry sees the new strategy as a basis for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources, which was launched alongside the strategies for plant, animals and forest genetic resources for Europe.
Two Slovenian partners have taken part in the project – the Forestry Institute and the University of Ljubljana, which Podgoršek said “was no coincidence since Slovenia has long been aware of the role of conservation of genetic resources and their sustainable use”.
Before GenResBridge, another project, Lifegenmon, was carried out in Slovenia, Germany and Greece starting in 2014 to provide support for preserving the ability of trees to adapt to changes in the environment by developing forest genetic monitoring.
Lifegenmon also produced the first manual for forest genetic monitoring, the ministry said, adding that preserving the biotic diversity of forests is of fundamental importance to sustainable, natural and multi-purpose forest management.
The Forest Service is another partner from Slovenia taking part in genetic diversity projects, first and foremost in the transfer of know-how from academia to practice.
Both the Forest Service and Forestry Institute also take part in Life Systemec, a forest management project managed by the Italian University of Florence and running until 2023.