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The State of the world's forest genetic resources


Forests cover nearly one-third of the world’s land area. They provide vital environmental services such as soil and water protection, regulate the climate and preserve biodiversity, produce valuable raw materials and food, and sustain the livelihoods of millions of people.
Forest genetic resources – the heritable materials maintained within and among trees and other woody plant species – are essential for the adaptation and the evolutionary processes of forests and trees as well as for improving their resilience and productivity. The conservation of forest genetic resources is more topical than ever at a time when the world is increasingly confronted with challenges from increased human population, landuse changes and climate change. These pressures, and related increases in unsustainable use, wildfire, pests and diseases, as documented in the Climate change 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are causing losses of forest cover and of forest biodiversity, both among and within species. Lack of information limits the capacity of many countries and the international community to develop appropriate policy tools to address the issues or to integrate forest genetic resources management into relevant cross-cutting sectorial policies.

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