Description of the programme is available at the website of the National Park Service. The Gene Conservation of Trees workshop was organised by the Working Group on Global Change of the North American Society of Landscape Architects (NASS) and the Gene Conservation of Trees Forum (GCFT), a non-profit organisation.
Gene conservation refers to the fact that species of tree is not as vulnerable to destruction from humans as other organisms in the same environment. Gene conservation does not imply that the human population will be satisfied with the present level of trees, nor does it mean that the present levels of biodiversity will remain the same over the next few centuries.
Description of the programme provides a platform for discussing and presenting findings and achievements in gene conservation of trees, particularly those of North American. The main participants were Mr Donald B. Young, a member of the Working Group on Global Change; Mr. John C. Loeffler, of the University of California, Berkeley; and Ms. Karen T. C. Loeffler.
Description of the programme was organised around a theme of gene conservation and showed a focus on tree loss and the subsequent loss of the diversity of species within forests. It was noted that tree loss was a significant factor for species richness in areas that are rapidly increasing urban populations. It is estimated that there are about eight million tree species in North America alone, making it important to preserve their distribution and their biological diversity.
Presenting the findings was quite a challenge, as the participants did not wish to discuss their work before their term of office had expired. In addition, they felt that they would not get full credit for their work if they had submitted their paper for publication before they had left their job.
The second presentation involved the use of the results of the research presented in the workshop to develop strategies and programs for future management. The aim of this section was to look at future programmes that could be implemented to help prevent the loss of biodiversity in North America. The presentation involved a discussion on whether or not planting trees was still important, if so how many trees should be planted and what type, location and type of plantings were required.
Description of the programme also included the presentation of a map of areas that are threatened by loss of biodiversity and are expected to be lost in the future. It was noted that in order to stop the decline in biodiversity in these areas it would be necessary to restore the species diversity within the areas in question.
The participants were reminded that tree planting should be done with a view to protecting the biodiversity, rather than just to provide a visual aesthetic advantage. Therefore, the planning and development of future programmes should include tree planting and its benefits such as preventing the loss of biodiversity and improving the ecological balance within the forest.
The third and final part of the programme concerned the consideration of the social and environmental impact of tree planting. The participants were asked to discuss the various effects of planting trees on wildlife and vegetation and on human populations.
Presenters were asked to consider the ecological and social impacts of a number of different species of tree, which include a broad range of tree species, including those with large roots and leaf litter. They were asked whether or not the type of tree planted would affect animal species and what the effects would be on humans who may be dependent upon the animal species. such as birds, mammals and insects.
The discussion was also given as to the importance of continuing current research and future programmes. Future programmes should be developed that can prevent the extinction of some of the world’s most common species.
The workshop and presentation were noted as one of a series of projects aimed at ensuring a balanced relationship between science and society. It was noted that there would need to be a balance between the needs of the environment and the preservation of biodiversity.