SUSTREE : WPC: D.C.2.1  Press Release No.3

Building cooperation for adapting forests to climate change.

Climate change adaptation and the protection of the environment are important challenges presently faced by many European countries. With forest ecosystems being highly vulnerable to climatic change, utilization of the intrinsic adaptive capacity of tree species is considered to be a promising adaptation strategy. SUSTREE is a transnational project which promotes climate change adaptation and the utilization of genetic diversity of forest trees in Central Europe.

Starting in 2016, the SUSTREE project is now in its second and final phase of work. Therefore, we are launching a series of events to be held in Prague, Czechia, from 26th to 29th March 2019.

Most importantly, the SUSTREE documentary movie titled “Borderless Forests” will be premiered at the Svetozor cinema in Prague in the evening of 28th March. It is produced by the SUSTREE partner, Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) with the aim to inform stakeholders and the broader public about the challenges of climate change and the need of transnational cooperation for guiding the deployment of adapted forest planting material. This movie will be made available online on YouTube after this event.

Further information about transnational seed transfer in climate change has been condensed into the SUSTREE policy brief, which will be presented and shared with policymakers as well as forestry and conservation stakeholders. The key messages included in the Policy brief are :

  • Forest trees exhibit manifold local adaptations to the climate of their habitat guaranteeing optimal growth and survival under stable environmental conditions.
  • Climate change disrupts the link between climate and local adaptations thereby challenging the “local is best” paradigm.
  • Regions of Provenance, defined within European and National legislation, differ among countries and do not reflect climate conditions nor support adaptive management in climate change.
  • Legislations governing reforestation and seed transfer should be based on a range-wide local adaptation of trees to assist management of genetic resources under climate change.

The launch of the movie and the Policy-brief is accompanied by a workshop on “Assisted gene flow of trees to mitigate climate change” in which researchers and students from 10 different countries across Europe will participate. SUSTREE has organized this event jointly with the EVOLTREE network (a network of European Research Groups on EVOLution of TREEs as drivers of terrestrial biodiversity).

Besides transnational outreach, project partner CULS is organizing a side event for Czech conservation managers in order to share knowledge on the awareness of climate change adaptation and genetic diversity of forest trees among conservation practitioners.

SUSTREE is funded by the Interreg Central Europe Programme and aims at conservation and sustainable utilization of forest tree diversity in Climate Change. It is a collaboration of eight partner institutions from six Central European countries comprising of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. The lead partner is the Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) which is an Austrian federal, multidisciplinary research and education center based in Vienna.

For more information on the project and ongoing activities please visit our website, and ;