Gene Conservation of Tree Species – Banking on the Future

Dates and Location 

A photo of the Gene Conservation 2016 logo May 16- 19, 2016, Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL, USA


About the Workshop

The purpose of the workshop is to facilitate the exchange of the latest information, research, and action on genetic conservation of tree species, especially those species at risk from stressors such as insects, diseases, drought, and development.  The workshop will highlight risk assessments that help to inform genetic conservation strategies as well as major actions taken by organizations for long-term conservation of tree genetic material.  Using this information, participants will develop a set of actions during the meeting that can be used to form and strengthen partnerships, and foster collaboration to accelerate genetic conservation efforts.


Who Should Attend

This workshop is open to individuals and organizations with interest in tree genetic conservation, including state and federal resource managers, conservation groups, botanic gardens, forest industry and scientists from public and private institutions.


Plenary Speakers

Tom Tidwell  (Welcome Address), Chief, USDA Forest Service, Washington DC

Rob Mangold  Pacific Northwest Research Station Director, USDA Forest Service, Portland, OR

Kayri Havens  Director, Plant Science and Conservation, Chicago Botanic GardenGlencoe, IL

Paul Smith  Secretary General, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, London, UK

Christopher Richards  Research Plant Geneticist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, CO

Hosny El-Lakany  Director, International Forestry Program, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sir Peter Crane (Banquet Speaker, “The Future of Trees”)  Dean, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT


Workshop Structure

The workshop will include invited, contributed presentations and posters, and a field trip.


Workshop Topics

The workshop will address the following topics:

  • In- Situ Conservation
  • Ex-Situ Conservation
  • Identification of ecosystems/species to be conserved
  • Restoration of species/ecosystems of conservation concern
  • Tools and techniques for Tree Genetic Conservation 


Workshop Agenda

Download the current provisional agenda (PDF, 120 KB)


Special Sessions, Exhibits, Meetings, and Working Groups

To foster collaboration and networking, multiple spaces will be available on Tuesday afternoon (5/17/16) for affiliated groups, organizations, or chapters to host meetings, exhibits, or special sessions to promote their work.

Meeting rooms to accommodate 25-100 people can be reserved for 1 hour time blocks up to 4 hours. Space will be available on a first-come first-served basis. Meetings, exhibits, and special events should be open to all workshop attendees. If you are interested in holding a special event, please contact Andy Bower (; 360-956-2405) to coordinate. 

Download the Affiliated Meeting Proposal Form here.


Submit Abstract

Submission deadline for ORAL presentation abstracts has been extended to DECEMBER 21, 2015. To date we have received ca. 70 abstracts that we are in the process of reviewing.  However, we wish to accommodate people who have expressed interest in presenting but were unable to make the initial deadline. Download the Abstract Template here.

Submission deadline for POSTER presentation abstracts is MARCH 14, 2016. Download the Abstract Template here.

All submissions should be made online at A case-sensitive passcode is needed to enter the site:  WFCA-Upload1

We encourage you to submit abstracts related to the following workshop topics:

  • In- Situ Conservation
  • Ex-Situ Conservation
    • Designing seed collections
    • Establishing and managing gene banks
    • Role of urban forests, arboreta and botanic gardens in tree genetic conservation
    • Maintenance of sample health ex situ
  • Identification of ecosystems/species to be conserved
    • Threats and risk assessments
  • Restoration of species/ecosystems of conservation concern
    • Assessing long term Impacts of tree conservation projects
  • Tools and techniques for Tree Genetic Conservation
    • Databasing and managing information for germplasm (genetic conservation)

Submissions dealing with any aspect of the conservation of trees are also welcome.

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations will have 20-minute time slots clustered by theme.  Talks should last 15-minutes to allow time for questions and answers.

Poster Presentations

The maximum dimension for posters is 36” wide by 36” tall.  Handouts to accompany posters are welcome and can be placed on tables at the poster boards.


Presentations made at the workshop will be made available online, with the addition of audience comments if agreeable to the speakers.

Manuscripts will be reviewed, edited and published online as Proceedings.  Authors who submit manuscripts should expect to provide reviews of colleague’s contributions. Manuscripts must be received before May 31, 2016. 

Manuscripts should be submitted as MS Word documents, all figures and tables should be embedded.



The workshop will be held at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, Chicago, Illinois (350 West Mart Center Drive, Chicago, IL 60654).  Hotel website:

The Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza is holding a block of sleeping rooms under US FOREST SERVICE – GENE CONSERVATION until April 18, 2016.  The hotel is honoring the GSA per diem rate.  All reservations will need to be guaranteed by individual credit card.  Check-in time is after 3pm and check out time prior to 12 noon.  Self-parking for all registered guests is offered at $35 inclusive per day.

For Reservations, please call the hotel directly at 855-268-0372 between 7AM and 5PM.


Workshop Registration

Click Here to register online.

Registration fees cover one copy of the program, refreshments, field trip including lunch and dinner, and the reception on Monday evening.

Registration Fee    
Early-bird Until December 31, 2015 US$ 350
Regular January 1 – April 1, 2016 US$ 400
Late After April 1, 2016 US$ 475
Student --------- US$ 250

Registration hours for the Workshop at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza will be:

11:00am - 5:00 pm on Monday, May 16, 2016.

The cost to register a guest for just the Wednesday night banquet is $40/person;  the cost for a guest to join the full Wednesday fieldtrip (including transportation, entry, lunch and dinner) is $60/person. Please contact Amanda Mattern (Western Forestry and Conservation Association, 503-226-4562, to register for just the dinner or just the field trip and make payment using a credit card.


Field Trip Information

On Wednesday, May 18, 2016 there will be a field trip to visit Fermilab and The Morton Arboretum. In the evening, we will have a banquet dinner at the Arboretum and a presentation by Sir Peter Crane (Dean, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University) who will discuss “The Future of Trees”.  


Forest Service Organizing Committee

Gary Man, US Forest Service, Washington DC

David Gwaze, US Forest Service, Washington DC

Matt Horning, US Forest Service, Bend OR

Richard Sniezko, US Forest Service, Cottage Grove, OR

Andy Bower, US Forest Service, Olympia WA

Valerie Hipkins, US Forest Service, Placerville CA

Keith Woeste, US Forest Service, West Lafayette, IN

Richard Zabel, Western Forestry and Conservation Association, Portland OR



  • USDA Forest Service
  • The Morton Arboretum
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Botanic Gardens Conservation International
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • Western Forestry and Conservation Association
  • American Public Garden Association
  • Global Trees Campaign


Contact Information

Valerie Hipkins, US Forest Service,, 530-622-1609

David Gwaze, US Forest Service,, 202- 205-0854