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Provisional Seed Zones: Indispensable Tools for Forest Conservation Assessment

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The tenth and first installment of 2018 in the Eastern Seed Zone Forum's online lecture and discussion series aimed at providing both information about the creation of seed zones in general and a forum in which professionals, experts, and interested parties discuss the possibility of drafting seed zone guidelines for the eastern United States. In this webinar, Dr. Kevin M. Potter, Research Associate Professor, North Carolina State University, will discuss how provisional seed zones can be used as a tool for assessing forest conservation.

  • Webinar
When January 24, 2018
Attendees Foresters
Nursery Owners or Managers
Regeneration Specialists
Restoration Specialists
Seed Collectors or Brokers
Seed Specialists
Extension Professionals
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Tree species exhibit a great deal of spatial genetic variation across broad scales. Understanding the degree and extent of genetic variation within species is an important component in conservation assessments both within and across tree species. Our understanding of spatial genetic variation is limited or nonexistent for most North American tree species, however. Quantifying spatial genetic variation within a single species is time-consuming and expensive, and even when such information exists, comparing between species is a challenge. Provisional seed zones – those applicable across species and determined based only on environmental information rather than direct provenance growth tests – therefore can be useful when it is important to define seed transfer areas relatively quickly and for many species. If we assume that adaptive genetic variation within species is associated with the kind of environmental conditions that define provisional seed zones, it is logical to use these zones as broad indicators of among-population adaptive variation in species. For example, a species that extends across more seed zones is likely to encompass more genetic variation than a species that occurs in fewer zones. In this webinar, Dr. Kevin M. Potter, Research Associate Professor at North Carolina State University, will describe ways in which provisional seed zones can be used in forest tree conservation assessments. One project categorizes and prioritizes species based on threats to their adaptive genetic variation. Another addresses the USDA Forest Service’s requirement under the Montréal Process sustainability reporting agreement to estimate the number and geographic distribution of forest-associated species at risk of losing genetic variation and locally adapted genotypes.

About the ESZF

The National Forest System needs your help to develop seed zones for the eastern United States! With the input of forestry and natural resource professionals like you, these seed zones have the potential to provide a common frame of reference for nurseries, arboreta, state and federal agencies, and other natural resource organizations to address sustainable forest management and ecosystem restoration challenges across regional and political boundaries. Visit easternseedzones.com for more information (ezsf.sref.info if you're using the Forest Service's VPN).

ESZF is currently in the process of developing a draft of seed zones for the eastern United States based on 8 areal divisions. If you'd like to join (or LEAD!) an Eastern Seed Zone Forum Seed Zone Team to help with this effort, please REGISTER HERE.

About Dr. Kevin M. Potter

Dr. Kevin M. PotterDr. Kevin M. Potter is a research associate professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, serving as a joint venture cooperator with the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) of the USDA Forest Service. As a landscape ecologist, conservation biologist, and population geneticist, he applies evolutionary ecology tools and concepts to assess and mitigate threats to tree species and to forest communities, particularly across broad scales. Specifically, he works to understand forest ecosystem function and resilience, to assess forest health across broad regions, and to conserve the genetic variation of forest tree species imperiled by a variety of threats. He earned a Ph.D in forestry (2006) and M.S. in natural resources (2002) from NCSU. He received his B.A. degree in journalism in 1993 from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He is a native of Denver, Colorado.

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