EVOLTREE stands for EVOLution of TREEs as drivers of terrestrial biodiversity. It is a network of excellence that was launched in April 2006 and financially supported by the European Union within the 6th framework programme. Since the 1st January 2011, the network has been extended under the umbrella of the European Forest Institute’s (EFI) network. The overall goal of the Network is to link four major disciplines (Ecology, Genetics, Genomics and Evolution) to address global issues that European forests are currently facing as environmental changes, erosion of biodiversity. The new consortium is now made up of 23 research groups in 13 European countries.
The network activities are the core activities for which the EVOLTREE network will secure the maintenance by finding internal resources, regardless of the availability of external funding. It has been agreed to concentrate on the following five tasks:
- e-Resources (EVOLTREE portal and eLab)
- Infrastructure (repository centre, intensicve study sites and genotyping/sequencing systems)
- Training (summer schools and mobility)
- Dissemination (PA material, external newsletter, etc)
- Coordination of activities
One morning scientific session of this year's IUFRO Forest Tree Breeding Conference (August 26th, Prague) was devoted to EVOLTREE.
The session was chaired by Dr Giovanni Vendramin, director of the EVOLTREE partner organisation the Institute of Plant Genetics in Florence (Italy), and started with two invited speakers:
Dr Martin Lascoux (University of Uppsala) with a talk on the clinal variation and genetic basis of adaptive traits in trees, and Dr. M.J.M. (René) Smulders (Wageningen UR), talking about community genetics of poplar as a keystone species for insect and fungal species.