Slovenian Forestry Institute


The Slovenian Forestry Institute (SFI) is a public institute of national importance, providing research in forests, forestry, forest ecosystems, wildlife and game management. It operates under the auspices of the ministry, responsible for science and technology, and the ministry, responsible for forestry and the environment. Having been committeed to the Forest Act (1993), Resolution on the National Forest Programme (2007) and the international documents addressing forests, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on Climate Change, resolutions and decisions within the Forest Europe (Strassbourg 1990, Helsinki 1993, Lisbon 1998, Vienna 2003, Warsaw 2007, Oslo 2011), Convention on the Protection of the Alps 1991, and EU Forestry Strategy (1998). It strictly follows the concepts of the close-to-nature, sustainable and multifunctional forestry in all research and advisory services. It is the Official Authority for approval of basic material and certification of forest reproductive material, of forest health and prognosis service, and fulfills selected tasks within the public forest service and the public environmental service in Slovenia. Slovenian Forestry Institute is the leading partner of the LIFEGENMON project.

Hojka Kraigher

Hojka Kraigher

Dr. Hojka Kraigher, BSc Biol., BSc For. Eng., PhD Agricultural Sciences, Assoc. Prof. of Botany; Head of Department for Forest Physiology and Genetics and the Institute’s Research Programme. Background in hormonal regulation in ectomycorrhiza, mycorrhizal diversity and mycobioindication of stress in forest ecosystems. As the responsible person for approval of basic material and certification of forest reproductive material (FRM), for which the SFI is the State Authority, she lead and/or participated in harmonization of the Slovenian legislation on FRM with the EU directives. She was an expert TAIEX (Croatia, Macedonia) and OSCE (Serbia) on legislation of FRM; evaluator of EU projects & Impact assessment of the 5, 6, 7th FW (for KBBE). National coordinator EUFORGEN since 1997, leading project partner in EU projects NATMAN, CASIROZ, EUFGIS, project coordinator of EUFORINNO (7FW Capacities REGPOT programme) and LIFEGENMON. Currently she is the president of the Scientific Board for Biotechnical Sciences (at the Slovenian Research Agency – SRA),and a member of the LEGS Committee at Science Europe (Life, Environment and Geo-Sciences).

Role: Project Coordinator | Visit her Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles.

Tjaša Baloh

Tjaša Baloh

Tjaša Baloh (Ljubljana, 1987) finished her bachelor’s degree in economics, in the field of Accounting and Auditing and continues her graduate studies of Entrepreneurship, at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics. After working as a Project Financial and Administration Manager at several Slovenian research institutions, she is now working as the LIFEGENMON Project Manager at Slovenian Forestry Institute.

Role: Project Manager | Visit her on LinkedIn.

Marjana Westergren

Marjana Westergren

Marjana Westergren, BSc For. Eng., PhD Forestry Sciences, researcher at the Slovenian Forestry Institute. Her main topics of interest are population and landscape genetics, management and conservation of forest genetic resources and adaptation of forest tree populations. Within the LIFEGENMON project, she leads laboratory work and data evaluation at the SFI, coordinates implementation action Policy guidelines B3 together with Hojka Kraigher and actively disseminates project results.

Role: Action B3 Co-leader | Visit her on LinkedIn.

Boris Rantaša

Boris Rantaša

Boris Rantaša (Ljubljana, 1987) is a Forestry Engineering graduate (equivalent to Master’s) at the University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical faculty, Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources. After working in forestry practice and forest policy advocacy, he is now the LIFEGENMON Project Dissemination Manager (Actions D1 and D2) at Slovenian Forestry Institute.

Role: Project Dissemination Manager | Visit him on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Domen Finžgar

Domen Finžgar (Ljubljana, 1990) finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical faculty, Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources. He continues his graduate studies at the same department. During studies, he worked at the Slovenian Forestry Institute, under the supervision of prof. dr. Hojka Kraigher; researching dead wood characteristics (density and moisture content) and wood inhabiting Fungi (on molecular level) in the secondary virgin forest Rajhenavski Rog. Currently employed by the Slovenian Forestry Institute, he does field and laboratory work for LIFEGENMON. His main fields of interest are forest genetics and biostatistics.

Gregor Božič

Gregor Božič

Slovenia Forest Service

The Slovenia Forest Service (SFS) is a public institution, established by the Republic of Slovenia in 1993, which performs public forestry service in all Slovenian forests, irrespective of ownership. It is organized with Central unit in Ljubljana, 14 regional units, 69 local units and 396 forest districts. It also comprises 10 hunting reserves with a special purpose.

Main tasks and activities of the SFS in the area of proposal: elaboration of forest management plans, collecting data on the state and development of forests and keeping databases, monitoring biological balance in forests, giving consent for interventions in the forest and forest space, co-operation in open space planning, silviculture and forest protection, elaboration of silvicultural plans and plans for forest fire protection, determination of necessary silvicultural and protection work in forests, marking trees for felling in co-operation with forest owners, providing seedlings and seeds of forest trees for forest regeneration, public relations and education of forest owners, popularisation of forests and forestry, informing the public about the importance of forests and nature preservation, co-operation in activities aimed at countryside development and developing study circles in the SFS.

In performing its work the SFS co-operates with numerous institutions and organizations in the fielsd of administration, education, scientific research, with professional and non-governmental organizations and it also participates in the international field. Besides that the SFS co-operates with numerous borderline branches in the space (agriculture, water management, urbanization, nature protection) and with them it reconciles different interests. In Slovenia forest management plans are also the management plans of Natura 2000 sites (for forests).

Živan Veselič

Andrej Breznikar

Nataša Ilnikar

Tina Simončič


CNVOS – Center for Information service, co-operation and development of NGOs

Center for information service, co-operation and development of NGOs has over 600 member organisations active in different policy fields (environment, youth, human rights, social issues, equal opportunities, culture, regional development, development cooperation etc.), and its mission is to ensure their sustainable development by providing a comprehensive, effective and professional support through information service, consultancy, education, research, policy making, advocacy, networking and promotion. It has recently set up an evaluation center, which will contribute to systematic evaluation of activities, programs and project in the Slovene non-profit sector – and thus lead to better management and quality of non-profit product and services. To ensure the right conditions for the sustainable development of NGOs, CNVOS analyses and monitors the support environment for the functioning and development of NGOs, regularly prepares legislation proposals and strategic documents to put forward a common position in favour of NGOs. Recently, it was involved in the processes of development of several legal acts. It has formed a special working group on legal framework and has developed several initiatives for NGO development, which were developed through participatory process and addressed to the government.

Kristina Michieli

Kristina Michieli

Tina Michieli, project consultant at CNVOS, whose main fields of expertise include project management, project development, monitoring and evaluation and communication, including development and management of several EU-financed international projects, consultancy for NGOs, European level networking and policy, development of CNVOS’ monitoring and evaluation services, and others.

Martina Divjak

Martina Divjak

Martina Divjak is the head of advocacy at CNVOS, whose main fields of expertise include advocacy, organisational management, monitoring and evaluation.

Bavarian Office for Forest Genetics (AWG)

The overall concept of the ASP includes the long term conservation of genetic diversity and protection of forest genetic resources in Bavarian forests. Genetic diversity is the basis for adaptation potential and survival of tree species under changing environmental conditions, representing the key issue of stability and productivity of forest ecosystems. The AWG is a special agency within the Bavarian Forestry Administration, operating in the field of forest reproductive material and forest genetic resources. The institution combines genetic laboratory research, field trials, conservation of forest gene resources and the practical implementation of law on forest reproductive material. The AWG has long-term experience in carrying out field trials (i.e. provenance trials) and manages a network of field trials throughout Bavaria. Results of this trials are incorporated into practical forest operations (provenance recommendations, delineation of provenance regions, improved regeneration techniques and provenance recommendations, etc.). The institution provides for the education of forestry students and forest officers in the field of Forest genetic resources. It gives extension training to domestic and foreign professionals, offers visits to its operations and consults politicians, tree farmers, forest owners. AWG is the only project partner located in Germany.

Monika Konnert

Monika Konnert

Dr. Monika Konnert, MSc Chemistry, PhD Forest Genetics, Head of the ASP Teisendorf since 2007, has been working in the field of forest genetics over 20 years. She is an accredited authority of forest genetics, published more than 120 scientific papers in national and international journals and managed more than 30 projects in forest genetics and forest gene conservation as a project leader. She is president of the scientific board of „Certification association of forest reproductive material Southern Germany (ZüF) e. V“ and member of the biodiversity board of the BMEL (Germany). She was member of the group of scientists who developed the German genetic Monitoring Scheme.

Barbara Fussi
Bild Fussi

Barbara Fussi

Dr. Barbara Fussi, PhD Botany, is a scientific researcher at the the ASP Teisendorf. She is scientific lab manager at ASP Teisendorf. She is mainly interested in population genetics and applied forest genetic research, including topics on conservation of forest genetic resources and traceability of forest reproductive material. Within the LIFEGENMON project, she leads the preparatory action and coordinates the implementation action Preparation of Guidelines and Management Strategies (B2) together with Monika Konnert and actively disseminates project results.

You may visit her on LinkedIn and Research gate.

Darius Kavaliauskas

Darius Kavaliauskas

Darius Kavaliauskas, BSc in ecology and environmental sciences; MSc in ecology and environmental sciences (specialization – forest ecology) at Lithuanian University of Agriculture. Since 2011 Darius is PhD student at Aleksandras Stulginskis University (Lithuania), topic of PhD thesis “Genetic structure and diversity of Scots Pine Populations in Lithuania”. Research interests: forestry, forest genetics, population genetics, ecology, conservation of forest genetic resources. Within the LIFEGENMON project, he is responsible for actions B1, B2, B3.

Susanne Nowak

Susanne Nowak

Susanne Nowak, chemical technical assistant, is a lab technician at the ASP Teisendorf since 1994. She is doing isoenzyme and DNA analysis of more than 20 tree and shrub species. Within the LIFEGENMON project she is responsible for the genetic analysis (mainly allele scoring and evaluation).

Mark Walter
Mark Walter

Mark Walter

Mark Walter graduated from Passau University with a Master’s degree of International Cultural and Business Studies and worked ascommunication manager within the private economy for a couple of years. To contribute his professional experience and knowledge to environmental protection, he moved from Munich to the Bavarian Alps in 2012 and did ecological voluntary service at Berchtesgaden National Park. Among other things he created a few self-guided audio routes for visitors of the new information center “Haus der Berge” and was a member of the environmental education team. In 2015, he finished a three year education as certified Ranger at Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria. From 2016 to 2019 Mark joins the dissemination team of the LIFEGENMON project to assist actions D1 and D2.


Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) is the largest university in Greece and the Balkans, with over 2100 academic staff and about 4000 teaching, research and technical staff. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is participating in many bilateral agreements with universities and research institutions in Europe and overseas. The Laboratory of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (FGL-AUTH) is operating within the Faculty of Forestry & Natural Environment, which is the oldest Faculty in the University. FGL-AUTH is the oldest and leading University-level laboratory in Greece, for education and research in forest genetics and forest plant breeding. FGL has six academic researchers, and 20 undergraduate and graduate students that are doing research for their PhD, MSc and BSc theses.


Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Filippos Aravanopoulos

Filippos Aravanopoulos

The Local Project Coordinator will be Dr. Filippos (Phil) A. Aravanopoulos, Professor of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding. Prof Aravanopoulos has more than 25 years experience in research project execution and management. His background couples Forest and Environmental Science (B.Sc.) and Genetics-Breeding (Ph.D., postdoctoral research). He has participated in research groups of EU Framework projects, international, bilateral and national research projects and has formerly worked in projects funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, by the International Energy Agency’s Bioenergy Agreement and by the National Council for Industrial and Technological Development of Sweden. Prof. Aravanopoulos serves as a National Representative in the European Network EUFORGEN and is currently the Leader of the European Genetic Monitoring Working Group. He is currently the Chairman of the Scientific Council of the National Agricultural Foundation of Greece (NAGREF) and of the Hellenic Scientific Society for Plant Genetics & Breeding. He has published over 150 research papers, of which more than 60 in international journals.

You may visit him on his personal website.

Evangelia Avramidou

Dr. Evangelia Avramidou is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Laboratory of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Greece. Her main research interests focus on plant population genetics and epigenetics, gene mapping and plant biodiversity. Her scientific field includes DNA molecular markers, DNA sequencing and genetic linkage maps. She has worked on analytical techniques regarding population genetic and epigenetic structure by applying different molecular markers (SSR, AFLP, ISSR, DNA sequencing) in a number of forest and agricultural species.

She has published five scientific journal papers and participated in many international and European conferences. She has been awarded a PhD scholarship (2010-2013) by the European Union (European Social Fund – ESF) and Hellenic National Fund through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) – Research Funding Program: “Heracleitus II. Investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund”. She was also awarded two international grants, one in order to participate in a COST Action FP1202 Summer School “Strengthening conservation: a key issue for adaptation of marginal/peripheral populations of forest trees to climate change in Europe (MaP-FGR), and another for a research visit through the European Program “Trees4Future” in BFW (Vienna, Austria) for studying Greek Prunus avium chloroplast DNA variation in collaboration with other scientists.

You may visit her LinkedIn and ResearchGate profiles.

Alizoti Paraskevi

Dr. Paraskevi (Evi) Alizoti – Assistant Professor of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding – Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Post Graduate Studies: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Post Doc Studies: North Carolina State University, U.S.A.

Scientific interests: Forest Genetics and Tree improvement, Selection Strategies, Seed Orchards, Ecological Genetics, Quantitative Genetics, Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources, Adaptive Variation, Hybridization, Plasticity and Adaptation of Forest Trees to Climate Change, Phenology, Reproductive Systems-Mating Patterns, Assisted Migration Strategies, Marker Assisted Selection, Genetic Improvement of Fast Growing Species for Energy Plantations.

Research activities: Participation in eight competitive European Research Projects and four competitive National Projects. European Projects for scientific cooperation: Co-leader of WG2 of the Cost Action FP1202 ‘Strengthening conservation: a key issue for adaptation of marginal/peripheral populations of forest trees to climate change in Europe’, Co-leader of WG2 of the Cost Action FP1403Non-native tree species for European forests – experiences, risks and opportunities.

International activities: IUFRO Deputy Coordinator – WP 2.02.13, National Delegate – EUFORGEN -Biodiversity International (IPGRI), Expert and National Delegate – EUFGIS (IPGRI), Reviewer in ten international peer reviewed scientific journals, Member of Organizing and Scientific Committees of International Scientific Conferences. National and Academic Activities: Member of the National Scientific CITES Committee, General Secretary of the Hellenic Association of Plant Genetics and Breeding, ECTS Coordinator of the Faculty of Forestry and Natural Environment-AUTH, Member of Faculty committees, Teaching activities: Six undergraduate courses and four post graduate courses, Publications: 64 in international peer reviewed journals and international/national peer reviewed conference proceedings.

To find out more, please visit his website.

Evangelos Barbas

Dr. Evangelos Barbas is Assistant Professor of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding at AUTH. His research interests are: tissue culture, mycorrhizal symbiosis, genetic variation, gene mapping, and transcriptomics. He has published over 50 research papers in peer reviewed journals, international and national peer reviewed conference proceedings. He has been a member of the Working Group II Maturation Genosilva COST E-28 and a Deputy National Representative in the EUFORGEN Conifers Network.

To find out more, please visit his website.

The Decentralized Administration of Macedonia – Thrace (GDDAY – DAMT)

The Decentralized Administration of Macedonia – Thrace (DAMT) is a public organization responsible for the regions of Macedonia and Thrace. DAMT, via the use of Greek and EU regional programs, is responsible for projects, financing and other various actions that develop the rural infrastructure in key point development sectors in each area and support the development, as well as the exploitation and protection, of the terrestrial natural environment in the area of Macedonia and Thrace. The General Directorate of Forests and Agricultural Affairs, through its departments, is active in all the sectors of its jurisdiction that is:

  1. Protection and development of forests and woodlands.
  2. Utilization and exploitation of forests and woodlands.
  3. In rural areas, all its jurisdictional fields, as well as freshwater aquaculture.

This is achieved through the Department’s organizational structure, which in accordance with the Presidential Decree (P.D.) 142/2010, comprises of the Directorate of Coordination and Supervision of Forests, 12 Forests Directorates, 26 Forestry Departments and 2 Reforestation Directorates. The extent of the jurisdiction area is about 33.000 km, of which 30% is covered by forests. The total scientific – technical staff exceeds 1.200.

Nikitas Fragiskakis

Dr. Nikitas Fragiskakis

Dr. Nikitas Fragkiskakis is the General Director of Forests and Rural affairs.

He is  graduate of the Forestry and Natural Environment Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH). He completed his postgraduate studies in the USA on subjects concerning the organization and protection of natural ecosystems. In 1994, after sitting specific exams, he was granted a scholarship from the State Scholarships Foundation (SSF) to complete a PhD specializing in “Forest Economics”.

He completed his doctoral thesis in the department of Forestry and Natural Environment of the AUTH in the field of “Planning and Natural Resources Development” and was awarded his doctorate in 1998 with the distinction ‘Excellent’. He has 30 years of experience at the Forest Service and holds the highest rank.

During the period 1999-2010 he was appointed as head of the departments Forest Mapping, Planning – Research and Forestry at Halkidiki’s Forests Directorate. Furthermore in November 2010 he was appointed Head of the Regional Forestry Directorate of Central Macedonia. In 1999 he was included in the register of the rapporteurs of the National Center of Public Administration, Public Sector Management, the IT sector and the sector of Environment. He conducted seminars organized by PINEP Thessaloniki on issues concerning: Technical Operations Research and Information Systems, Communication – Transactional Analysis, Modern Public Management, Decision Making, Autocad  and Legal Protection Framework – Forest Management.

During the academic years 2006 – 2007 and 2007 – 2008 he was appointed to the rank of Lecturer at the Department of Planning and Development of the Forestry Faculty of Natural Resources and Natural Environment at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and taught the course “Economics of Forest Enterprises”.

Fotis Kiourtsis

Fotis Kiourtsis

Mr. Fotis Kiourtsis as Leader partner has long experience in EU funding programs. He is a member of the management committee of Verenike Life as well as Project AITOLOS Interreg IVC Project. He was a member of the management committee of COST actions E32 & E49.

He is responsible for E.U & National programs & forest development of the Forest Sector in the Decentralized Administrator of Macedonia & Thrace

He is a forester, specialized in wood technology.

You may visit him on LinkedIn.

Mpekiaroglou Paulos
P Bekiaroglou

Dr. Mpekiaroglou Paulos

Dr. Mpekiaroglou Paulos is responsible for the Partner’s scientific actions and has a wealth of experience in environmental protection and management.

He is a forester, Master of Pedagogic and Teaching, PhD in Biology and he has long experience in environmental protection and management.

He is a member of the Agronomists Association of Greece & a member of the National Botanical Society. He was an Assistant professor in Biochemistry & Plant Physiology at the Democritus University of Thrace.

Xrysi Sarvani

Chrysi Sarvani

Mrs Chrysi Sarvani is responsible for the Partner’s communication actions and is widely experienced in environmental education & dissemination activities.

She is a forester, a member of CITES Management Authority of Central Macedonia – East Macedonia and Thrace competent to grant permits and certificates and holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture.