Sustainable forest management is based on the long-term adaptability of forest ecosystems and starts at the gene level. Forest genetic monitoring (FGM) is therefore a crucial component of any sustainable forest management as it gives a possibility to detect potentially harmful changes of forest adaptability before they are seen on higher levels. Forest genetic resources face a large number of increasing threats.
By introducing genetic monitoring into conservation programmes and sustainable forest management one has the tool in hand to assess information on relevant changes of a species and/ or populations’ adaptive and neutral genetic variation through time. Based on indicators and their verifiers it can serve as an early warning system to aid the assessment of a species response to environmental change at a longterm temporal scale.