THE NORTH AMERICAN FOREST COMMISSION:
Forest Genetic Resources--About Us

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The Working Group has participated in efforts to conserve Guadalupe Island pine (Pinus radiata var. binata), a unique variety of Monterey pine that is in serious decline as a result of browsing by goats.

Introduction:
Forest Genetic Resources The Forest Genetic Resources Working Group (FGRWG) is one of seven Working Groups established by the North American Forestry Commission (NAFC), and the NAFC is one of six Forestry Commissions established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The FGRWG was established by the NAFC in 1961 and held its inaugural meeting in 1965 as the Working Group on Forest Tree Improvement. It became the Working Party on Forest Tree Improvement in 1966, and was changed to the Study Group on Tree Improvement by the NAFC in 1970. In 1993 the name was changed by vote of the delegates to Forest Genetic Resources Working Group and approved by the NAFC to better reflect the group's long-term focus.

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Mandate:
Generate, share and disseminate knowledge that is crucial for the conservation and the sustainable use of North American forest genetic resources to the benefit of present and future generations.

The rare Chihuahua spruce (Pinus chihuahuana) has been the subject of conservation efforts by Working Group members for several years.
Impacts
  • Increased awareness of the role of genetic diversity for the sustainable management of forest ecosystems and their resiliency;
    • Guidelines and recommendations for specific actions like seed source transfer,
    • Specific tools for decision makers and forest managers,
    • Publications,
    • Training sessions.
  • Increased awareness on climate change threats on forest genetic resources;
    • Guidelines for assisted migration,
    • Model scenarios,
    • Conferences,
    • Training sessions.
  • Information on North American forest genetic resources to international organizations;
    • Contribute to FAO’s integration of the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources,
    • Contribute to other Regional Networks on conservation of forest genetic resources [eg ConFORGen, LAFORGEN (Latin America Forest Genetic Resources Network), etc.].

Objectives:

  • To promote the collection, exchange, and dissemination of information about forest genetic resources so that in situ and ex situ programs of conservation and sustainable use are based on sound scientific knowledge.
  • To promote cooperation and coordinate research, conservation, training, and knowledge exchange among member countries on genetic resource conservation problems.
  • To facilitate the international exchange of forest genetic resources.
  • To encourage and promote genetic improvement programs for important commercial forest species as a component of forest conservation and as a contribution to the economic welfare of North Americans.

Operating Strategy
The FGRWG identifies tasks relevant to its objectives and assigns a task force to accomplish the aims of the task. Each task force is appointed by the chairperson and usually includes one representative from each of the three member nations. Accomplishments are evaluated during the Working Group's periodic meetings. Tasks are either continued until completed, or terminated if further progress seems unlikely. The Working Group provides the NAFC with a two-year work plan and accounts for its actions with activity reports.


Samples were collected for studies of the phylogeny and genetics of Mexican spruces as a cooperative endeavour of the Working Group and the Centro de Genética Forestal, the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, the Universidad Autónoma agraria Antonio Narro, and the Colegio de Postgraduados.

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