Institute of

Forest Genetics

Secretariat Großhansdorf

Irene Joraszik

Sieker Landstraße 2
22927 Großhansdorf
Phone: +49 4102 696 0
Fax: +49 4102 696 200

Location manager Waldsieversdorf

  • Volker Schneck

Secretariat Waldsieversdorf

Stefanie Mordau

Eberswalder Chaussee 3a
15377 Waldsieversdorf
Phone: +49 33433 157 0
Fax: +49 33433 157 199


Healthy, productive, legally managed forests – worldwide

As a global leader, we develop methods and reference data to determine the species and origin of timber through genetic testing. This is an important step towards stopping illegal logging and promoting sustainable forest management.

Our goal is to achieve legally managed, sustainable forests that are productive and resilient to natural and anthropogenic disturbances.

By means of a continually developed Germany-wide network of over five hundred field trials, we test on a long-term basis the growth potential and resistance of differing seed sources of the predominant tree species in Germany. Under controlled conditions in greenhouses and climate chambers we additionally test different resistance characteristics of affected tree species against novel pathogenic agents.

Generation cycles of trees vary from 5 to 40 years depending on the species. Their genetic improvement takes much longer than in the mostly annual plants cultivated in agriculture. There are therefore no private investors in this field. However, breeding is a means by which growth potential and resistance as well as wood quality can be raised considerably in trees. Jointly with the research institutions of the Länder we carry out publically funded improvement programs. Furthermore, we investigate the potentials and risks of implementing biotechnology in trees.

Our field trials and tree breeding research have required long range continuity. We shall be engaged in this research also in the future. We develop standards for subsequent application in other research institutions. The results from provenance trials, which also consider aspects of climate change, lead into recommendations for politicians, funding guidelines, and silvicultural management recommendations. Some of the field trials are being used for the approval of high value reproductive material of the category” Tested“. The basic material required to produce reproductive material, is provided to nurseries and in-vitro-labs for marketing against licenses or royalties.

In the area of genomic research and genetic inventories we go through fast technological progress. While ten years ago it was only possible to study a few gene regions, one can now analyze hundreds of genes simultaneously or even whole genomes. We shall extend in the next years the development and application of gene markers and DNA-sequence data considerably, especially for the application in international timber tracking research.

That we today occupy a prominent place in international research results from the continuing development of a worldwide infrastructure of trials in forests und a network of partnering labs. We represent Germany in the European Forest Genetic Resources Network (EUFORGEN) and edit the forest genetics journal ”Silvae Genetica“.

Fields of Activity

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Provenance and Breeding Research
Provenance trials with a variety of broadleaved and coniferous tree species, tree breeding and forest genetic resources are topics in this research area. Read more
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Pathogen Resistance Research
We analyse the structure and function of genes and genomes, develop molecular markers and study potentials and risks of biotechnology. Read more
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Ecological Genetics
We study the genetic diversity of our forests and analyse how it is affected by natural processes and human management. We develop strategies to protect this diversity and use our forest resources sustainably and genetically responsible.
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Genome Research
We analyse the structure and function of genes and genomes, develop molecular markers and study potentials and risks of biotechnology. Read more