Common Beech for Forestation and Diversification: Development of Forestation Techniques and Assessment of the Genetic Variation in Reproductive Material
Project code: REFORDAT-54, FAIR961464
Contract period: 01.01.1997 - 31.12.2000
Budget: 1,300,000 Euro
Purpose of research: Applied research
Common beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) is an important tree species of Europe, mainly western and Central Europe. It has been gradually reduced in its area already since the middle ages, mainly due to agriculture, but also forestry. Often foresters have replaced beech forests by pure conifer stands like Norway spruce.,Beech forests were regenerated mainly naturally, while planting was not common. Because Common Agriculture Policy results in the abandoning of large areas of agricultural lands, much of this land is to be forested. From the soil and climate index often beech is best suited. Techniques of replanting beech on open abandoned agricultural lands have failed frequently because of adverse soil conditions (due to agricultural soil management) and missing protection by a tree canopy. Also, a suitable provenance has to be chosen because at a given'site no trees of the original adapted provenance are left. Beech is and will be increasingly used to stabilise pure coniferous stands by intermixing this tree species. For both, forestation on open farmland and intermixing of conifer stands, techniques are not available to ensure successful forestation at reasonable prices. Another problem is intermittent seed production of beech with 4-8 years elapsing between seed sets. This makes reproductive material of beech a precious commodity. Therefore it is important to prolong its storability from the present maximum time of about 5 years while maintaining viability of the seeds. Objectives of the proposal are: (1) Improvement of methods for procurement of reproductive material, (2) development of efficient forestation methods, and (3) study of the genetic variation and adaptedness of beech provenances to be able to select highly qualified and adapted reproductive material for the various sites to forested.