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Gene conservation in California's forestsAuthor(s): Constance I. Millar
Source: Fremontia 14(1): 6-7
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionThe University of California's Wildland Resources Center has established a new program of forest gene conservation to ensure that California's rich and diverse forests maintain their vigor and productivity in the face of human activities. At an international level, conservation biologists recognize the importance not only of protecting rare species from extinction by safeguarding habitats, but of caring for the genetic diversity of established forests. In some parts of the world past neglect, insufficient knowledge of genetics, and indiscriminate forestry practices have resulted in forests that are impoverished by a loss of genetic diversity. These practices include repeated harvesting of the best trees, leaving poorer specimens to reproduce; planting species and individuals that are poorly adapted to local soil and climatic conditions; allowing exotic weed trees to escape into forests; and excessively logging areas with steep slopes or unusual soils. All of these practices result in reduced levels of productivity and lowered long-term genetic adaptability, including greater susceptibility to infestations of pests. Recognizing this vulnerability of trees to man's interventions, forest geneticists have mounted a worldwide effort to protect threatened and sensitive forest areas and to prevent future misuse of forests still in wild condition.
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CitationMillar, Constance I. 1986. Gene conservation in California''s forests. Fremontia 14(1): 6-7
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