Iceland to help France save trees from global warming

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Iceland and France are looking into the possibility of taking French trees endangered by global warming and planting them in Iceland to safeguard them for the future, officials said.

"The main emphasis (in the collaboration) is on research and finding ways to ensure the protection and preservation of the DNA... of the trees in Iceland," Adalsteinn Sigurgeirsson of the Icelandic Forestry Service told AFP.

The service is working with France's Office National des Forets, and their collaboration is focusing on trees from the French Alps and Pyrenees, such as beech.

"We'll look especially at what species and variations are at greatest risk in their French habitat due to global warming," Sigurgeirsson said.

He said that with temperatures rising around the world due to climate change, Iceland's colder climate could preserve species from France once their habitat becomes too warm.

"Everything indicates ... that conditions in Iceland will be very suitable for beech, for instance, in half a century or a century," he said.

"The aim... is not to grow a new forest, but to preserve DNA resources of forests," he said.

Sigurgeirsson said the project was still in the early stages, "but there is sincere interest on behalf of both parties to develop the project further."

© 2011 AFP

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