2023 EU AgriResearch Conference

The 2023 EU AgriResearch Conference takes place in Brussels on 31 May and 1 June 2023.

This year’s edition will give participants the opportunity to engage with scientists, farmers, rural communities, industry, advisors, policymakers, citizens and NGO representatives. It will provide an overview of European research and innovation activities and their achievements in agriculture, forestry and rural development. Participants will also be invited to share their views on how to shape the future EU agricultural research and innovation agenda.

The breakout session 4 (Sustainable management for multifunctional forests) will take place on 01. June (10:00-12:00).

This breakout session will explore what research and innovation is needed to foster the sustainable management of forests so that they can deliver on their different functions.

Programme: https://agriculture.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2023-03/eu-agri-research-agenda-2023_en_1.pdf

Registration ends 1 May. More information: https://agriculture.ec.europa.eu/events/2023-eu-agriresearch-conference-2023-05-31_en

Let’s talk about planted forests: tree breeding

Read a short update from the session in the IUFRO newsletter: https://www.iufro.org/index.php?id=7526#c35475

IEFC’s Let’s talk about Planted Forests webinar on tree breeding will take place on 13 January 2023 at 1pm CET.

During this webinar B4EST project partners will comment on the main outcomes of the project that finished in 2022. This webinar will be an opportunity to discuss how tree breeding’s new tools can help to better adapt forest plantations to global change, what are the deployment recommendations and tools developed during the project, and the legal issues and policy needs identified.

To discuss this subject, the IEFC invited 3 experts. Here’s a quick overview of the speakers and topics:

  • Mats Berlin, SKOGFORSK: ”Better selection of forest reproductive material (FRM) – now and in the future”
  • Egbert Beuker, LUKE: “Legal barriers and policy needs for marketing improved forest reproductive material (FRM) in Europe”
  • Catherine Bastien, INRAE

More information and register

B4EST final meeting

The final meeting of the B4EST project will take place online on 20-21 September. This is a closed event for B4EST partners and External Advisory Board.

The first day is dedicated to the presentation of results, their dissemination and impacts. The second day will focus on reporting activities, project dissemination and legacy.

B4EST Stakeholder Meeting: Research on Maritime Pine resilience and bioeconomy

The B4EST consortium, in collaboration with the IEFC, the INRAE and the FCBA, is organizing a symposium on latest studies on maritime pine resilience and bioeconomy, July 6, 2022 at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Gradignan (Bordeaux), France. Amphi C, 1st Floor, from 13:30 to 18:00.

This event aims to review and discuss the latest research on the resilience and the bioeconomy of maritime pine, focusing on the maritime pine improvement programme. It is organized as part of a series of international events supported by the B4EST project, “Breeding for adaptation: for productive, sustainable and resilient forests under climate change”. It is intended for all stakeholders in the maritime pine sector who wish to gain relevant information and interact with research experts to learn more about the work in progress. This symposium, in French, will also be an opportunity to get an overview of ongoing initiatives abroad, such as in Galicia with the selection of material resistant to pinewood nematode (PWN).

The working language will be in French.

To register please visit: https://bit.ly/383GXBX


13h30 : Accueil

Session 1 – Programme d’amélioration génétique du Pin maritime et enjeux futurs

13h45 : Présentation de la filière du pin maritime (Sabrina Fuseliez, FIBOIS)

14h : L’amélioration génétique du pin maritime et le déploiement de variétés (Annie Raffin, INRAe)

14h15 : Enjeux pour le futur, résultats d’enquêtes auprès des professionnels : Enquête régionale et enquête B4EST (Christophe Orazio, IEFC)

14h30 : Pause

Session 2 – Travaux de recherche de B4EST

14h45 : Présentation du projet B4EST (Santiago Gonzalez-Martinez, INRAe)

15h15 : Stratégie d’amélioration à l’aide de marqueurs moléculaires (Laurent Bouffier, INRAe)

15h30 : Tests clonaux multi-provenances (Santiago Gonzalez-Martinez, INRAe)

15h45 : Variabilité de la résistance des pins maritimes à différents agents pathogènes et évolution de leur agressivité (Cyril Dutech & Jean-Paul Soularue, INRAe)

16h : Gain économique associé au gain génétique (Christophe Orazio, IEFC)

16h15 : Analyse coût bénéfice du coût de l’amélioration génétique (Stéphane Lemarié, INRAe)

16h30 Pause

Session 3 – Déploiement des variétés améliorées

16h45 : Santé des vergers à graines (Hervé Jactel, INRAe)

17h : Problématique autour de la sélection de matériel génétique résistant au nématode (Raquel Diaz Vazquez, XUNTA)

17h15 : Modélisation de l’impact climatique sur la production (Denis Loustau, INRAe)

17h30 : Bioéconomie du massif et amélioration génétique (Alain Bailly, FCBA)

18h : Clôture

Télécharger le programme et le plan d’accès

Image by Julia Casada, Pixabay

EVOLTREE webinar series: Genomics in Practice

The next EVOLTREE online seminar series takes place in November 2021. This fall, the series’ theme is “Genomics in Practice”. Speakers include:

Wednesday 3 November 2021 16:30-18:00 CET
Prof Mike Bruford, Cardiff University
Conserving genomic diversity for climate resilience in a changing world

Wednesday 10 November 2021 09:00-10:30 CET
Dr Rebecca Jordan, CSIRO Hobart
Building resilience to change: using genomics to guide plant restoration and conservation in a changing world

Wednesday 17 November 2021 16:30-18:00 CET
Prof Emily Latch, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Genomic data improves wildlife conservation

Thursday 25 November 2021 16:30-18:00 CET
Prof Louis Bernatchez, Laval University, Québec
Genomics applied to fisheries management and conservation

More information and to register: https://www.evoltree.eu/webinars

Image: Valiphotos, Pixabay

Training course “Phenotypic plasticity and norms of reaction modelling”

Course date: October 5-7, 2021

This is one of three B4EST training courses to deliver key scientific results and tools via hands-on training events, targeting researchers, Master and PhD students and post-doctorate fellows. The course is co-organized by the SLU Breeding Network and the SLU Industry Research School of Forest Genetics, Biotechnology, and Breeding.

The training course is organized into three consecutive days, including six lectures, plus several case studies about 75 minutes per lecture/case study (3.5-4 hours per day), using Zoom as a meeting format. Some lecturers will give their lecture from North America and hands-on demonstration with R will be included in some lectures.

The following course instructors will hold the course: Harry Wu/Zhiqiang Chen (SLU, Sweden), Tongli Wang (UBC, Canada), Tore Skrøppa/Arne Steffenrem (NIBIO, Norway), Laurent Bouffier (INRAE, France), Philippe Rozenberg (INRAE, France), Marie Denis (CIRAD, France), Jean-Marc Gion/Alexandre Bosc (CIRAD/INRAE, France), Maurizio Marchi (CNR, Italy).

For more information and registration, visit www.slu.se/phenotypicplasticitycourse

Tentative Schedule

Each day will start at 9:00 and finish around 17:30 Central Europe Time (CET).

Day 1 (5th, October)

Lecture 1: From genotype by environment interactions to norm of reactions (Wu) (9:00-10:30)

Lecture 2: Climate modelling (Marchi) (10:45-12:15)

Lecture 3: Response functions – norm of reactions (Wang) (16:00-17:30)

Day 2 (6th, October)

Case study 1: Norway spruce (Skrøppa & Chen) (10:45-12:15)

Chen: Local adaptation and plasticity of Norway spruce tree height

Lecture 4: Bayesian varying coefficient model with selection: An application to functional mapping (Denis) (14:15-15:45)

Lecture 5: Integration of genetic and environmental effects into a linear mixed model or a universal response function (URF) (Wang) (16:00-17:30)

Day 3 (7th, October)

Case study 2: New modeling method on plasticity and norm of reaction for Larch and Douglas-fir (Rozenberg) (9:00-10:30)

Case study 3: Norm of reaction and genomic selection for Maritime pine (Bouffier & Papin) (10:45-12:15)

Case study 4: Reaction norms related to tree water status: a case study in eucalyptus and maritime pine (Bosc & Gion) (13:15-14:45)

A training report will be produced for the funding organization after the training course is completed. A certificate of training completion will be issued to each participant who completes the course.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773383.

Web Conference on Genetic Basis of Quantitative Traits and Multitrait Association.

*Please note, this training course is postponed until early 2022*

The B4EST consortium, through the University of UPPSALA, INRAE, University of OULU and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, in collaboration with EVOLTREE, is hosting a web course from September 21-24, 2021. The course will present the latest extensions of Fisher’s infinitesimal model, in particular the omnigenic model and discuss their implications for breeding, association studies and evolutionary inferences.

The course will cater to PhD students and postfoctoral fellows with background in population genetics and/or quantitative genetics.

The conference will take place via zoom https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/64413807543 To register please send an email to Martin Lascoux If you have problems with this address, please contact communications @ efi.int

General course plan: Each day we shall have 2 hours lecture in the morning and 2-3 hours tutorial in the afternoon. A detailed schedule will be sent to participants later on.

Panel of Experts (preliminary list): Santiago C. González-Martínez, Juliette Archambeau, Kalle Leppälä, Tanja Pyhäjärvi, Alina Niskanen, G. Giuseppe Vendramin, Antoine Kremer, Martin Lascoux


• Day 1: From the infinitesimal to the omnigenic model

• Day 2: The omnigenic model and evolution of quantitative traits architecture

• Day 3: Consequences of the omnigenic model for genomewide, multi-traits association: what we already know and what needs to be known

• Day 4: Estimating the genome-wide contribution of selection to temporal allele frequency change: principle and an application to forest trees

First EVOLTREE Conference 2021: Genomics and Adaptation in Forest Ecosystems

The first EVOLTREE Conference, hosted by WSL Birmensdorf (Switzerland) from 14-17 September, 2021, focuses on the genomics and adaptation of trees and interacting species from evolutionary, demographic, and ecological perspectives.

Contributions that apply innovative approaches and consider the relevance of their research in the context of biodiversity conservation through natural dynamics or silvicultural interference are welcome.

Registration and abstract submission is now open! https://conf.wsl.ch/evoltree/

EVOLTREE is a European network of research institutions and universities engaged in studying the evolution and functioning of forest ecosystems, in particular trees as the foundation species in forest stands. A prime topic in the face of ongoing climate change is to elucidate how trees, together with their associated organisms such as mycorrhizal fungi, respond to rapid environmental changes.

For more details, visit our conference website:

Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for now you can register only for the online conference. In early June 2021, decisions will be made if and how many attendees can participate on-site (subject to government travel restrictions that may change at short notice). You will then be able to acquire an additional on-site package.

Image by Lukasz Szmigiel from Pixabay

EVOLTREE Second series of online Seminars: Adaptation to climate change

EVOLTREE is organizing a second series of virtual events featuring leading experts in research on climate change adaptation – both in forest trees and other organisms. The series is an opportunity to hear the latest from relevant scientists in the field, exchange ideas and discuss potential collaborations and projects.

You can participate in the discussions that follow the presentations by registering through the links below or follow the seminars on the EVOLTREE YouTube channel


14 April 2021, 11:00-12.30 CEST: “Building genetic resilience in a rapidly changing world” Ary Hoffmann, Melbourne University, Australia

21 April 2021, 16:30-18.00 CEST: “Integrating niche evolution with life history theory can help us better understand the consequences of climate change” Ophélie Ronce, University of Montpellier, France

5 May 2021, 16:30-18.00 CEST: “Locally-adaptive mutations and their relevance for climate change ecology” Moisés Expósito-Alonso, Carnegie Institute for Science & Stanford University, California

More information

The seats in the live sessions are limited to 150. All seminars will be streamed on the EVOLTREE YouTube channel and recorded to be available afterwards.

Please register for each webinar separately here

Image: Enrique Lopez Garre, Pixabay

Summer school on scientific writing, reviewing and publishing & forest genetic monitoring knowledge transfer into practice

LIFE project LIFESySTEMiC, EVOLTREE and COST Action(s), in collaboration with the Slovenian Forestry Institute, is organising its 8th summer school on scientific writing, reviewing and publishing & forest genetic monitoring knowledge transfer into practice this coming August 9 to 14.

The summer school aims to provide Ph.d students, as well as junior and senior researchers training sessions on the production, the submission and the reviewing process of scientific publications.

For more information please visit Evoltree

credits: image by rawpixel.com

7th IUFRO Workshop on Genetics of Tree-Parasite Interactions in Forestry

Understanding forest tree-antagonistic interactions in a
changing world

September 20-24, Pontevedra, Spain

More information

Managed and natural forests provide essential ecosystem services worldwide. Due to the free of movement of people and goods across biogeographical zones, tree species are increasingly challenged by emergent invasive biotic threats. We can see large range expansions of pests and diseases, as well as sudden shifts to naïve host species. Moreover, climate change is also increasing abiotic tree stresses, which synergistically interact with tree resistance leading to negative effects on tree survival and forest resilience.

Although forest tree species are known to harbour high levels of genetic variation, most remain fairly unstudied, particularly in traits related to host tolerance and resistance to biotic and abiotic stressors. To understand such variations, within the framework of the genetics of tree-antagonist interactions, is necessary to forecast the survival and prevalence of forest populations in a changing environment. This knowledge can also be exploited in breeding programs aiming to improve forest health.

The scientific community is pushing for an urgent multidisciplinary and coordinated effort to solve these challenges, making use of current and new knowledge, strategies and technologies. Geneticists, evolutionary biologists, ecologists, phytopathologists, entomologists, plant physiologists, breeders and managers are all involved in this challenge. This workshop will provide the ideal forum for updating knowledge, evidences, solutions and failures between scientific, academic and practical approaches. It is also an opportunity to enhance the dialogue of long experienced expertise with the new generations of scientists, which will provide creative and new solutions in the near future.

Photo: Pixabay/adege

Virtual schools on Climate Data Use for Impact Assessments

The IS-ENES consortium is organising its Second and Third IS-ENES3 virtual School on Climate Data Use for Impact Assessments.

The aim of the School is to help researchers make better use of available climate data and knowledge, in order to produce higher quality research outputs and services. This, in turn, will help to combat and adapt to climate change. Other aims are to develop a network of researchers who can turn to each other in the future for advice and cooperation. 

The two schools will be organized as a virtual course with online sessions during six weeks combined with self-study and case studies in small groups.

Spring School : from 2 March to 16 April, 2021

Summer School from 19 May to 25 June, 2021

Participants can be PhD students, Postdocs, professionals, consultants, including climate services providers. An MSc in the natural sciences is required for fruitful participation.

More information and how to apply

Image: Pixabay/Tama66

Special Issue of Forests: “Genetic Control of Forest Tree Traits”

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907) will focus on Genetic control of forest tree traits and their interaction with the environment.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 August 2021.

Guest editor: Dr. Rosario Garcia Gil

We call for research works in the field of forest genetics that advance our understanding on the genetic control of forest tree traits of economic and ecological value, and their interaction with a changing environment. We encourage research works that provide novel models for the implementation of genomics and remote sensing tools to accelerate and assist forest genetic adaptation to secure production and biodiversity.

More information: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/forests/special_issues/tree_traits_gene

Image: Kurt Bouda, Pixabay

EVOLTREE Online Seminar Series on Polygenic adaptation

EVOLTREE has launched a series of online seminars about polygenic adaptation in trees and other organisms. The events will be streamed on YouTube and recorded.

Variation in complex phenotypic traits, like growth, is known to be driven by many genes. For example, it has been shown that the height of humans is associated with thousands of regions in the genome. Approaches for detecting polygenic signals from genomic data, however, are still scarce and rarely applied. This seminar series aims to promote an exchange of knowledge among scientists working on polygenic adaptation in disparate organisms with the objective of facilitating development and wider uptake of the latest approaches.


28 October 2020, 16:30-18.00 CET
Jonathan Pritchard: ‘Architecture and adaptation of human complex traits’

4 November 2020, 16:30-18.00 CET
Emily Josephs ‘The evolutionary forces shaping gene expression variation’

18 November 2020, 16:30-18.00 CET
Sam Yeaman ‘A tale of two architectures: Local adaptation under migration-selection balance’

25 November 2020, 16:30-18.00 CET
Neda Barghi: ‘Polygenic adaptation in Drosophila’

More information

Registration: here.

The seats in the live sessions are limited to 100. All those registered participants who won’t make it to the virtual room because of the limited places are invited to follow the seminar on the EVOLTREE YouTube channel.


Image: Pete Linforth, Pixabay

Webinar: The Planter’s Guide: a benchmark for climate-adapted FRM deployment recommendations


Our B4EST webinar held on 10 December introduced the Planter’s Guide.

The Planter’s Guide is a web-based decision support tool for improved Scots pine forest reproductive material (FRM) in Sweden and Finland. By selecting a regeneration site, the Planter’s Guide ranks all available seed orchards according to their predicted areal production over a rotation. However, as both growth and survival ability are shown separately the user can use this information for a more detailed selection.

Find out more about the Planter’s Guide


Introduction: Rach Colling, European Forest Institute

Presentation: Mats Berlin, Skogforsk 

Live testing of the tool: Mats Berlin, Skogforsk



Download Mats’ presentation

Background paper:
Scots pine transfer effect models for growth and survival in Sweden and Finland

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwqYVy8PxeM


Genetics to the rescue: Managing forests sustainably in a changing world

January 27 – 31, 2020 – University of Avignon, Avignon, France

The international scientific conference “Genetics to the rescue: managing forests sustainably in a changing world” is for scientists in the fields of evolutionary biology, genomics, functional ecology, conservation genetics and political sciences interested in forests as model organisms and in applying results of these fields to the global challenge of sustainable forest management.

The conference is organized in four sessions, over two days (January 28 and 29, 2020).

Session 1: Genomes and the environment
Session 2: Local adaptation of climate change-related traits
Session 3: Conserving and using genetic diversity
Session 4: Evolutionary management of forests

The stakeholder event, following the conference, is aimed primarily to forest managers and policy makers, and focuses on the importance of genetics in forest management. During the stakeholder event, the implications of the conference findings for sustainable forest management and policy will be discussed.

A training session on how to use genomics resources and principles for forest ecology targets Master’s and PhD students and early stage researchers.

Finally, a Wikipedia session will train participants on how to edit Wikipedia pages and use the opportunity to edit those pages relevant to forest genetics and sustainable forest management.

More information: https://colloque.inra.fr/confgentree2020/

The conference is organized by the H2020 project GenTree.

Image: skeeze/Pixabay

XXV IUFRO World Congress, 2019

The XXV IUFRO World Congress will be held in Curitiba, Brazil from 29 September to 5 October 2019.

Several researchers involved with the B4EST project will be presenting at the Congress:

  • 1.10.2019 Agathe Hurel, INRA

Genetic variation, trade-offs and association genetics for growth, bud burst and pathogen susceptibility in maritime pine

This work is related to both WP1 (genetic variation) and WP2 (trade-offs)

  • 5.10.2019 Santiago C. González-Martínez, INRA

Negative selection and polygenic adaptation in maritime pine

This research is part of the work done in maritime pine for WP2, in collaboration with INIA and CNR (among others).

  • 5.10.2019 Mateusz Liziniewicz, Skogforsk

The status of forest trees breeding in Sweden and realized genetic gain in Norway spruce breeding program


Several sessions are of interest to the B4EST community:

Further details can be found here: http://iufro2019.com/technical-sessions/


Image of Botanic Gardens: Hezaro, Pixabay

EVOLTREE Scientific seminar: genetic adaptation research for future forests

17 September 2019, Aberdeen

The EVOLTREE Scientific Seminar will explore the ways in which forest tree genetics can be applied to increase local adaptation and resilience in future forests.

New genetic and genomics approaches, including new-generation breeding strategies, have great potential to harness natural genetic variation to promote forest health and productivity, in particular in the face of global disturbances, such as climate change, land fragmentation and emerging pests and diseases.

Speakers include:

Delphine Grivet (INIA) – “Using genomics to characterize evolutionary potential for conservation”
Christophe Orazio (EFI) – “REINFFORCE: First results from 35 forest tree species plasticity assessment in common gardens along the Atlantic Coast, from Portugal to Scotland”
Duncan Ray (Forest Research) – “Using climate projection uncertainty to select FRM for future forest sites”
Santiago C. González-Martínez (INRA) – “Gene networks and polygenic adaptation in two conifers with contrasted demography, maritime pine and English yew”

Sue Jones (The James Hutton Institute) – “Could viruses pose a threat to native tree species?”
Markus Müller (University of Göttingen)- “Investigation of adaptive genetic variation in European beech by means of candidate gene and transcriptome analyses”
Emma Bush (CEH) – “Tropical tree phenology in a time of change’”
Lindsay Banin (CEH) – “Intra- and interspecific leaf trait variation, decomposition processes and the ‘home-field advantage’ in European woodlands”

More information

View the programme


Photo: Felix Mittermeier/pixabay

Training workshop on Methods in forest conservation genetics

December 10-13, 2019 at INIA, Madrid, Spain

As part of Gentree project (www.gentree-h2020.eu) dissemination and training activities, this workshop aims to provide a general conceptual background and hands-on experience in the analysis of molecular and quantitative genetic data, and of trait-based species distribution models (ΔTraitSDM), for conservation genetics relevant problems in tree species. Emphasis will be on statistical and modelling tools, rather than on the data acquisition process.

Topics will cover: summary of relevant population genetic parameters in conservation; estimation of effective population size and inbreeding; estimation of genetic connectivity and introgression; surveying genome-wide molecular diversity in natural populations; inferences of selection and historical demography; design and analysis of common garden experiments to assess adaptive quantitative genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity; estimation of additive genetic variance, heritability and evolvability; trait-based species distribution models (ΔTraitSDM) as forecast tools for genetic conservation.

Registration is free and the organization will cover the accommodation expenses, breakfast and lunches of up to 20 students.

The application deadline is July 25th, please visit the workshop’s website below for application instructions, the list of instructors, contact information, and other details:


Photo: Markus Spiske, Unsplash

Training workshop on “Concepts and tools for optimum selection in forest tree breeding”

28-30 October 2019, HÖÖR, Sweden
More information

Organised by the GENTREE project.
Participants: forest managers and practitioners, forest breeders
Deadline for application: 15 June 2019

Tree breeders must often consider conservation of genetic diversity, while at the same time they attempt to maximize genetic response to selection. This challenge is common to management of populations for both gene conservation and elite breeding, as well as to assembly of deployment populations, such as seed orchards and mixtures of selected clones. GenTree has developed several tools and advanced methods for addressing this challenge.

The purpose of this course is to provide participants with the background and user-skills necessary to apply these tools correctly in the context of applied forest tree breeding programs. Different tools for “optimum selection” will be presented, such as “OPSEL”, which uses state-of-the-art mathematical approaches to optimize selection with a specified constraint on gene diversity. Other approaches include managing genetic diversity at the genomic level to guarantee short- and long-term genetic gains or levels of fitness, notably under genomic-evaluation scenarios.

After “optimizing” genetic contributions to a selected population, the practitioner still faces the daunting task of preparing mating plans that respect these contributions, while avoiding excessive relatedness between parents. A generalized tool “XDesign” makes this task straightforward, allowing the user to specify a threshold on the maximum acceptable coancestry between mates.

The training will show the concepts and functioning of several strategies to account explicitly for diversity across the genome of candidates during selection and mating steps in the context of breeding and conservation programs. Breeding strategy evaluation will be addressed with R-scripts and the simulation package “POPSIM’.

More information: Johan Westin (Skogforsk, johan.westin@skogforsk.se)

Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay