About 10 million hectares of forest are lost every year. Many reforestation efforts can go to waste if diversity is not involved in the process.
Integrating genetic biodiversity in trees is a vital component that plays a huge role in the success of forest restoration. Trees with the same species cannot multiply and produce new seeds. This means that when planting trees, there must be different species that can thrive in the same environment.
A study found that exerting effort and resources to ensure seedlings are genetically different can potentially reduce reforestation expenses by up to 11 percent. Planting fast-growing trees in denuded forests on a large scale is also not the best solution since this can lessen genetic diversity and impair the overall efforts.
Some of the risks that forests with low genetic diversity may face are low adaptability to effects of climate change, low production of seeds and fruits, and higher vulnerability to pests and pathogens.
Genetic diversity is eyed as a cost-efficient, long-term resolution to the global problem. Investing a bit more in genetic diversity at the early stage of restoration would provide positive impacts in the long run, said an expert.
Researchers now suggest integrating genetic and species diversity in restoration policies to ensure the effectiveness and success of preserving the forests.