Welcome to our fourth and final newsletter!

B4EST is an EU-funded H2020 project which focuses on adaptive breeding for productive, sustainable and resilient forests under climate change.

In this issue we bring you up to date with project progress, including some highlights from our international conference in June. Don't forget you can follow us on Twitter (@B4EST_EU) for regular updates!

Managing Forest Genetic Resources (FGR) for an Uncertain Future

The B4EST International Conference, Managing Forest Genetic Resources (FGR) for an Uncertain Future, was held on 20-23 June 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal at the Instituto Superior de Agronomia.

It was organised by IEFC and INRAE, with support from the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, and brought together forest researchers, stakeholders and policymakers for two days of in-depth discussions, followed by a field trip to Altriflorestal to learn about eucalyptus.

Discussions focused on:

Contributions from young scientists within the project were welcomed and featured: they acted as co-chairs for scientific sessions, and gave several flash talks and short presentations.

You can find all presentations from the conference here: https://b4est.eu/b4est-conference/conference-presentations

Our project coordinator Catherine Bastien's presentation explores transformative changes in tree breeding, giving some highlights of B4EST's work over the last 4 years to reinforce the contribution of European forests to adaptation and mitigation challenges.

Conference recordings are available on the session pages, or on the B4EST YouTube channel.

This B4EST policy brief highlights the importance of forest tree breeding to support the EU Forest Strategy, Green Deal goals and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

Forest tree breeding has a high potential not only to contribute to mitigating climate change (for example enabling the selection of faster-growing trees), but also assists the adaptation of European forests to climate change. This serves the bioeconomy, ensuring forests continue to provide a wide range of products and services, and also facilitates landscape restoration after major ecological disasters.

Climate change can increase forest vulnerability to damage and disease, reduce forest health and productivity, and cause economic losses. The policy brief explores what challenges lie ahead, and makes recommendations as to what policy changes are needed.

Download the policy brief: https://b4est.eu/b4est-policy-brief

We have also created a B4EST Nordic policy brief which focuses on specific challenges for the Nordic region, and provides recommendations for FRM management and transnational cooperation. Download it here: https://b4est.eu/policy-briefs

B4EST training courses

Two training courses for PhD students and postdocs were held in Lisbon alongside the international conference. Lively and stimulating discussions were had with students, researchers and presenters!

The presentations from all the courses, together with some video materials are available on the B4EST website - click on the links above to go to the relevant course.

New genomic tool for Scots pine research and breeding
In a recently published study, we developed a new genomic tool, PiSy50k, for use in Scots pine evolutionary research and forestry applications.  It is anticipated the tool will be important in tree breeding applications, such as when aiming to improve the important growth traits of the species via genomic selection,…

Don't forget you can find information about all the tools created by the B4EST project on our website, https://b4est.eu

New publications since June 2021


Akli, A.; Lorenzo, Z.; Alía, R.; Rabhi, K.; Torres, E. Morphometric Analyses of Leaf Shapes in Four Sympatric Mediterranean Oaks and Hybrids in the Algerian Kabylie ForestForests 202213, 508. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13040508

Juliette Archambeau, Marta Benito Garzón, Frédéric Barraquand, Marina de Miguel, Christophe Plomion, and Santiago C. González-Martínez. Combining climatic and genomic data improves range-wide tree height growth prediction in a forest treeThe American Naturalist (2022). https://doi.org/10.1086/720619 (also available as preprint: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.13.382515)

Chiara Biselli, Lorenzo Vietto, Laura Rosso, Luigi Cattivelli, Giuseppe Nervo and Agostino Fricano. Advanced Breeding for Biotic Stress Resistance in Poplar. Plants 2022, 11(15), 2032. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11152032

Zhi-Qiang Chen, Yanjun Zan, Linghua Zhou, Bo Karlsson, Hannele Tuominen, Maria Rosario García-Gil and Harry X. Wu. Genetic architecture behind developmental and seasonal control of tree growth and wood properties in Norway spruce. Frontiers in Plant Science (2022). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2022.927673

Amandine Cornille, Mathieu Tiret, Adriana Salcedo, Huirun R Huang, Marion Orsucci, Pascal Milesi, Dmytro Kryvokhyzha, Karl Holm, Xue-Jun Ge, John R Stinchcombe, Sylvain Glémin, Stephen I Wright, Martin Lascoux. The relative role of plasticity and demographic history in Capsella bursa-pastoris: a common garden experiment in Asia and Europe. AoB PLANTS, Volume 14, Issue 3, June 2022, plac011. https://doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plac011

de Miguel, M.Rodríguez-Quilón, I.Heuertz, M.Hurel, A.Grivet, D.Jaramillo-Correa, J. P.Vendramin, G. G.Plomion, C.Majada, J.Alía, R.Eckert, A. J., & González-Martínez, S. C. (2022). Polygenic adaptation and negative selection across traits, years and environments in a long-lived plant species (Pinus pinaster Ait., Pinaceae)Molecular Ecology312089-2105. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16367 (also available as preprint: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.02.974113)

Maurizio Marchi, Sara Bergante, Duncan Ray, Roberto Barbetti, Gianni Facciotto, Pier Mario Chiarabaglio, Jari Hynynen, Giuseppe Nervo. Universal reaction norms for the sustainable cultivation of hybrid poplar clones under climate change in Italy. iForest – Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 15, Issue 1, Pages 47-55(2022) https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3989-015

Duncan Ray, Mats Berlin, Ricardo Alia, Leopoldo Sanchez-Rodriguez, Jari Hynynen, Santiago González-Martínez, Catherine Bastien. Transformative changes in tree breeding for resilient forest restoration. Front. For. Glob. Change (2022). https://doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2022.1005761

Tore Skrøppa. Epigenetic memory effects in Norway spruce: are they present after the age of two years? Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, Volume 37, 2022 – Issue 1. https://doi.org/10.1080/02827581.2022.2045349 

Sterck L. et al. (2022) Maritime Pine Genomics in Focus. In: De La Torre A.R. (eds) The Pine Genomes. Compendium of Plant Genomes. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93390-6_5

Wade AR, Duruflé H, Sanchez L, Segura V. eQTLs are key players in the integration of genomic and transcriptomic data for phenotype prediction. BMC Genomics. 2022 Jun 28;23(1):476 https://doi.org/10.1186%2Fs12864-022-08690-7


Chedly Kastally, Alina K. Niskanen, Annika Perry, Sonja T. Kujala, Komlan Avia, Sandra Cervantes, Matti Haapanen, Robert Kesälahti, Timo A. Kumpula, Tiina M. Mattila, Dario I. Ojeda, Jaakko S. Tyrmi, Witold Wachowiak, Stephen Cavers, Katri Kärkkäinen, Outi Savolainen, Tanja Pyhäjärvi. Taming the massive genome of Scots pine with PiSy50k, a new genotyping array for conifer researchThe Plant Journal. (2021) https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.29.450162

Agathe Hurel, Marina de Miguel, Cyril Dutech, Marie-Laure Desprez-Loustau, Christophe Plomion, Isabel Rodríguez-Quilón, Agathe Cyrille, Thomas Guzman, Ricardo Alía, Santiago C. González-Martínez, Katharina B. Budde Genetic basis of growth, spring phenology, and susceptibility to biotic stressors in maritime pineEvolutionary Applications. (2021) https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.13309

Hallingbäck Henrik R., Burton Vanessa, Vizcaíno-Palomar Natalia, Trotter Felix, Liziniewicz Mateusz, Marchi Maurizio, Berlin Mats, Ray Duncan, Benito Garzón Marta. (2021) Managing Uncertainty in Scots Pine Range-Wide Adaptation Under Climate ChangeFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol.9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.724051

Jose Alberto Ramírez-Valiente, Luis Santos del Blanco, Ricardo Alía, Juan J. Robledo-Arnuncio, Jose Climent. (2021) Adaptation of Mediterranean forest species to climate: Lessons from common garden experimentsJournal of Ecology, British Ecological Society. June 16, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13730

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