Written by Silvio Oggioni
In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike -Paulo Coelho-
are ecosystems full of life, probably the richest on the planet. They host trees,
shrubs, grasses, mammals, birds, insects, fungi, in short hundreds of living
species. And they are vast: just think that one third of the surface of Europe
is covered by forests, and is constantly increasing, according to the State of Europe’s Forests Report of 2015.
there are thousands of trees, each one slightly different from its neighbour.
Trees from different species are obviously different, but even among those
belonging to the same species are unique individuals, just like you and me. Each
tree is special: more or less resistant, more or less beautiful, with better
fruits or more productive. Forest genetics studies the variability of intrinsic
traits in a species or individual that can be transmitted to the next
generations, which is the very basis of diversity in the forest world. And it
is this diversity that allows the dynamic equilibrium on which is based all life
in the forests. Protecting genetic diversity of species and individuals is the
basis for sustainable management of forest ecosystems. In Europe, more than 50%
of woodlands are designated to protect water, soil and the ecosystems!