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  • Large genetic diversity for fine-flavor traits unveiled in cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) with special attention to the native Chuncho variety in Cusco, Peru

Large genetic diversity for fine-flavor traits unveiled in cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) with special attention to the native Chuncho variety in Cusco, Peru

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The fine-flavor cocoa industry explores mainly six chocolate sensory traits from four traditional cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) varieties. The importance of cocoa pulp flavors and aromas has been ignored until we recently showed that they migrate into beans and into chocolates. Pulp sensory traits are strongly genotype dependent and correlated to human preference. Growers of the native Chuncho variety from Cusco, Peru, which is the cocoa that the Incas consumed, make pulp juices from preferred trees (genotypes). Evaluations of 226 preferred trees evidenced presence of 64 unique mostly multi-trait sensory profiles. Twenty nine of the 40 flavors and aromas identified mimic those of known fruit and flower or spice species such as mandarin, soursop, custard apple, cranberry, peach, banana, inga, mango, nut, mint, cinnamon, jasmine, rose and lily. Such large sensory diversity and mimicry is unknown in other commercial fleshy fruit species. So far, 14 Chuncho-like pulp sensory traits have been identified among different cocoa varieties elsewhere suggesting that Chuncho is part of the ¿centre of origin¿ for cocoa flavors and aromas. Stable expression of multi-trait Chuncho sensory profiles suggest pleiotropic dominant inheritance, favoring selection for quality traits, which is contrasting with the complex sensory trait determination in other fleshy fruit species. It is inferred that the large sensory diversity of Chuncho cocoa can only be explained by highly specialized sensory trait selection pressure exerted by frugivores, during evolution, and by the indigenous ¿Matsigenkas¿, during domestication. Chuncho beans, still largely employed as a bulk cocoa source, deserve to become fully processed as an extra-fine cocoa variety. The valorization of the numerous T. cacao sensory profiles in chocolates, raw beans and juices should substantially diversify and boost the fineflavor cocoa industry, this time based on the Matsigenka/Inca and not anymore on the Maya cocoa traditions.

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  • Mapping conservation priorities for Asian tree species

Mapping conservation priorities for Asian tree species

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Decades of water erosion have sculpted this piece of Borneo ironwood, one of the world’s most durable timbers. Photo by R. Jalonen/Bioversity International

A new regional initiative is providing practitioners with tools for deciding where to focus conservation and restoration efforts.

The challenge: valuable tree species are under threat

Unsustainable extraction, along with changes in land uses and the climate, is threatening thousands of socioeconomically valuable tree species across Asia. These species urgently need conservation and restoration to help meet future needs for food, fuel and fiber in the world’s most populous region.

Yet, very little information is available about their historical and current distribution, patterns of genetic diversity, intensity of threats across their distribution ranges, or availability of seed sources to support restoration. Effective conservation strategies for these species and their genetic resources cannot be implemented without improving knowledge on the species’ distributions and the threats they are facing.

The solution: fill the knowledge gap

A new regional initiative is setting out to fill these gaps by producing up-to-date information on the distributions of valuable tree species and the threats to them, and guidance to develop conservation strategies that help maintain the genetic diversity and adaptive capacity of the species.

The Geographic Information for Conserving Native Tree Species and Their Genetic Resources in Asia-Pacific (APFORGIS) initiative is being coordinated by Bioversity International and implemented in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN). The initiative contributes directly to APFORGEN’s new strategy for 2018-2022, which has named improving the availability and accessibility of species information as one of the network’s key objectives for the next five years.

50 pilot tree species

Tree species experts from across the region have identified 50 pilot species for APFORGIS, based on existing national priority species lists, socioeconomic importance and conservation status, and the diversity of species traits such as pollen and seed dispersal patterns, including:

  • Kokum (Clusiaceae: Garcinia indica), widely used for its edible fruits, seed oil and medicinal values, and an important source of income for rural communities, but rapidly declining in the wild.
  • Gamboge species which are dioecious (having separate male and female trees) – conservation guidelines need to consider sex ratios and larger than usual population sizes to avoid inbreeding.
  • Borneo Ironwood (Lauraceae: Eusideroxylon zwageri), as its name suggests, is one of the most durable and heaviest timber species in the world, used for centuries for building ships, docks and houses fit for humid tropical conditions. Ironwood grows very slowly and its seed are dispersed mainly by gravity in the vicinity of the mother trees, making the species vulnerable for genetic erosion. Many anecdotes about the iconic species’ decline exist, yet it does not have an accurate conservation status or specific conservation strategies in place.

Methods, tools and capacities developed for these and other species can be used by forest departments, research institutions and conservation organizations for other species of interest with similar characteristics.

Knowledge to inform conservation strategies

A woman samples Borneo Ironwood for genetic analysis in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Photo by R. Jalonen/Bioversity International

“Current lack of knowledge about these and other pilot species illustrates the conservation challenges in the vast and extremely diverse Asian region,” says Riina Jalonen, who is coordinating the initiative.

“Thirty-seven percent of the pilot species have never been assessed for their conservation status despite of their socioeconomic importance, and another 31 percent were last assessed in the 1990s. Of the species assessed in the past 10 years, three-quarters are threatened.”

APFORGIS uses existing information about the species occurrences and threats to them to develop species distribution models. The models give an estimate of historical, current and potential future distributions. The resulting maps will be validated by experts and used for identifying conservation priorities. They can also be used to design and target field studies in the future.

Regional species distribution and threat maps developed by APFORGIS will help to:

  • Identify centers of species diversity to optimize conservation efforts
  • Assess how well the current protected areas cover the priority areas for conservation
  • Identify areas where species populations may be most threatened by climate change
  • Identify seed transfer zones and adequacy of existing seed sources for tree planting and forest restoration
  • Plan studies on genetic diversity and provenance trials that are representative of the species’ range and the variation in environmental conditions

What’s next?

Based on up-to-date information about the species distributions and threats to them, the project will then develop guidelines for conservation units that maintain genetic diversity vital for the species survival, productivity and adaptive capacity. The units can also serve as sources of diverse and suitably adapted planting material, urgently needed for improving the success of forest restoration efforts.

Regional collaboration will allow countries share information and responsibilities in establishing and managing genetic conservation units. Fewer units are likely needed than if every country set up its own network, which helps to focus and sustain efforts over time.

The pilot species comprise:

  • Afzelia xylocarpa 
  • Ailanthus excelsa 
  • Albizia lebbeck 
  • Anisoptera costata 
  • Aquilaria crassna 
  • Aquilaria malaccensis 
  • Azadirachta indica 
  • Cinnamomum parthenoxylon 
  • Dalbergia cochinchinensis 
  • Dalbergia cultrata 
  • Dalbergia latifolia 
  • Dalbergia oliveri 
  • Dalbergia sissoo 
  • Dalbergia tonkinensis 
  • Diospyros cauliflora 
  • Dipterocarpus alatus 
  • Dipterocarpus grandiflorus 
  • Dipterocarpus turbinatus 
  • Dryobalanops aromatica 
  • Dyera costulata
  • Eurycoma longifolia 
  • Eusideroxylon zwageri 
  • Fagraea fragrans 
  • Garcinia indica 
  • Gluta usitata 
  • Gonystylus bancanus 
  • Hopea odorata 
  • Intsia bijuga 
  • Intsia palembanica 
  • Koompassia malaccensis 
  • Myristica malabarica 
  • Neolamarckia cadamba 
  • Parkia speciosa 
  • Pericopsis mooniana 
  • Phyllanthus emblica 
  • Pinus kesiya  
  • Pinus merkusii 
  • Podocarpus neriifolius 
  • Pometia pinnata 
  • Pongamia pinnata
  • Pterocarpus indicus 
  • Pterocarpus macrocarpus 
  • Santalum album 
  • Scaphium macropodum  
  • Shorea leprosula 
  • Shorea macrophylla 
  • Shorea ovalis 
  • Shorea parvifolia 
  • Shorea pinanga 
  • Shorea roxburghii 
  • Sindora siamensis 
  • Tectona grandis 
  • Terminalia chebula 
  • Vatica mangachapoi 
  • Xylia xylocarpa

To achieve conservation for the valuable tree species and their genetic diversity across Asia, the initiative needs help to gather information on the species’ known distributions, whether current or historical.

If you or your organization have data about the natural occurrences of the pilot species of APFORGIS, please contact Riina Jalonen [email protected] to find out how you can help.


Originally published on the website of Bioversity International

Geographic Information for Conserving Native Tree Species and Their Genetic Resources in Asia-Pacific (APFORGIS) is a regional project implemented in Asian countries from December 2017 to November 2019. The project is coordinated by Bioversity International and implemented in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN). The project is funded by the German Government through the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry and is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Mapping conservation priorities for Asian tree species

Mapping conservation priorities for Asian tree species

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Decades of water erosion have sculpted this piece of Borneo ironwood, one of the world’s most durable timbers. Photo by R. Jalonen/Bioversity International

A new regional initiative is providing practitioners with tools for deciding where to focus conservation and restoration efforts.

The challenge: valuable tree species are under threat

Unsustainable extraction, along with changes in land uses and the climate, is threatening thousands of socioeconomically valuable tree species across Asia. These species urgently need conservation and restoration to help meet future needs for food, fuel and fiber in the world’s most populous region.

Yet, very little information is available about their historical and current distribution, patterns of genetic diversity, intensity of threats across their distribution ranges, or availability of seed sources to support restoration. Effective conservation strategies for these species and their genetic resources cannot be implemented without improving knowledge on the species’ distributions and the threats they are facing.

The solution: fill the knowledge gap

A new regional initiative is setting out to fill these gaps by producing up-to-date information on the distributions of valuable tree species and the threats to them, and guidance to develop conservation strategies that help maintain the genetic diversity and adaptive capacity of the species.

The Geographic Information for Conserving Native Tree Species and Their Genetic Resources in Asia-Pacific (APFORGIS) initiative is being coordinated by Bioversity International and implemented in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN). The initiative contributes directly to APFORGEN’s new strategy for 2018-2022, which has named improving the availability and accessibility of species information as one of the network’s key objectives for the next five years.

50 pilot tree species

Tree species experts from across the region have identified 50 pilot species for APFORGIS, based on existing national priority species lists, socioeconomic importance and conservation status, and the diversity of species traits such as pollen and seed dispersal patterns, including:

  • Kokum (Clusiaceae: Garcinia indica), widely used for its edible fruits, seed oil and medicinal values, and an important source of income for rural communities, but rapidly declining in the wild.
  • Gamboge species which are dioecious (having separate male and female trees) – conservation guidelines need to consider sex ratios and larger than usual population sizes to avoid inbreeding.
  • Borneo Ironwood (Lauraceae: Eusideroxylon zwageri), as its name suggests, is one of the most durable and heaviest timber species in the world, used for centuries for building ships, docks and houses fit for humid tropical conditions. Ironwood grows very slowly and its seed are dispersed mainly by gravity in the vicinity of the mother trees, making the species vulnerable for genetic erosion. Many anecdotes about the iconic species’ decline exist, yet it does not have an accurate conservation status or specific conservation strategies in place.

Methods, tools and capacities developed for these and other species can be used by forest departments, research institutions and conservation organizations for other species of interest with similar characteristics.

Knowledge to inform conservation strategies

A woman samples Borneo Ironwood for genetic analysis in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Photo by R. Jalonen/Bioversity International

“Current lack of knowledge about these and other pilot species illustrates the conservation challenges in the vast and extremely diverse Asian region,” says Riina Jalonen, who is coordinating the initiative.

“Thirty-seven percent of the pilot species have never been assessed for their conservation status despite of their socioeconomic importance, and another 31 percent were last assessed in the 1990s. Of the species assessed in the past 10 years, three-quarters are threatened.”

APFORGIS uses existing information about the species occurrences and threats to them to develop species distribution models. The models give an estimate of historical, current and potential future distributions. The resulting maps will be validated by experts and used for identifying conservation priorities. They can also be used to design and target field studies in the future.

Regional species distribution and threat maps developed by APFORGIS will help to:

  • Identify centers of species diversity to optimize conservation efforts
  • Assess how well the current protected areas cover the priority areas for conservation
  • Identify areas where species populations may be most threatened by climate change
  • Identify seed transfer zones and adequacy of existing seed sources for tree planting and forest restoration
  • Plan studies on genetic diversity and provenance trials that are representative of the species’ range and the variation in environmental conditions

What’s next?

Based on up-to-date information about the species distributions and threats to them, the project will then develop guidelines for conservation units that maintain genetic diversity vital for the species survival, productivity and adaptive capacity. The units can also serve as sources of diverse and suitably adapted planting material, urgently needed for improving the success of forest restoration efforts.

Regional collaboration will allow countries share information and responsibilities in establishing and managing genetic conservation units. Fewer units are likely needed than if every country set up its own network, which helps to focus and sustain efforts over time.

The pilot species comprise:

  • Afzelia xylocarpa 
  • Ailanthus excelsa 
  • Albizia lebbeck 
  • Anisoptera costata 
  • Aquilaria crassna 
  • Aquilaria malaccensis 
  • Azadirachta indica 
  • Cinnamomum parthenoxylon 
  • Dalbergia cochinchinensis 
  • Dalbergia cultrata 
  • Dalbergia latifolia 
  • Dalbergia oliveri 
  • Dalbergia sissoo 
  • Dalbergia tonkinensis 
  • Diospyros cauliflora 
  • Dipterocarpus alatus 
  • Dipterocarpus grandiflorus 
  • Dipterocarpus turbinatus 
  • Dryobalanops aromatica 
  • Dyera costulata
  • Eurycoma longifolia 
  • Eusideroxylon zwageri 
  • Fagraea fragrans 
  • Garcinia indica 
  • Gluta usitata 
  • Gonystylus bancanus 
  • Hopea odorata 
  • Intsia bijuga 
  • Intsia palembanica 
  • Koompassia malaccensis 
  • Myristica malabarica 
  • Neolamarckia cadamba 
  • Parkia speciosa 
  • Pericopsis mooniana 
  • Phyllanthus emblica 
  • Pinus kesiya  
  • Pinus merkusii 
  • Podocarpus neriifolius 
  • Pometia pinnata 
  • Pongamia pinnata
  • Pterocarpus indicus 
  • Pterocarpus macrocarpus 
  • Santalum album 
  • Scaphium macropodum  
  • Shorea leprosula 
  • Shorea macrophylla 
  • Shorea ovalis 
  • Shorea parvifolia 
  • Shorea pinanga 
  • Shorea roxburghii 
  • Sindora siamensis 
  • Tectona grandis 
  • Terminalia chebula 
  • Vatica mangachapoi 
  • Xylia xylocarpa

To achieve conservation for the valuable tree species and their genetic diversity across Asia, the initiative needs help to gather information on the species’ known distributions, whether current or historical.

If you or your organization have data about the natural occurrences of the pilot species of APFORGIS, please contact Riina Jalonen [email protected] to find out how you can help.


Originally published on the website of Bioversity International

Geographic Information for Conserving Native Tree Species and Their Genetic Resources in Asia-Pacific (APFORGIS) is a regional project implemented in Asian countries from December 2017 to November 2019. The project is coordinated by Bioversity International and implemented in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN). The project is funded by the German Government through the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry and is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Genetic Diversity Analysis Reveals Genetic Differentiation and Strong Population Structure in Calotropis Plants

Genetic Diversity Analysis Reveals Genetic Differentiation and Strong Population Structure in Calotropis Plants

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The genus Calotropis (Asclepiadaceae) is comprised of two species, C. gigantea and C. procera, which both show significant economic potential for use of their seed fibers in the textile industry, and of their bioactive compounds as new medicinal resources. The available wild-sourced germplasm contains limited genetic information that restricts further germplasm exploration for the purposes of domestication. We here developed twenty novel EST-SSR markers and applied them to assess genetic diversity, population structure and differentiation within Calotropis. The polymorphic information index of these markers ranged from 0.102 to 0.800; indicating that they are highly informative. Moderate genetic diversity was revealed in both species, with no difference between species in the amount of genetic diversity. Population structure analysis suggested five main genetic groups (K = 5) and relatively high genetic differentiation (FST = 0.528) between the two species. Mantel test analysis showed strong correlation between geographical and genetic distance in C. procera (r = 0.875, p = 0.020) while C. gigantea showed no such correlation (r = 0.390, p = 0.210). This study provides novel insights into the genetic diversity and population structure of Calotropis, which will promote further resource utilization and the development of genetic improvement strategies for Calotropis.

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  • Long-term partnerships benefit research on tree genetic resources

Long-term partnerships benefit research on tree genetic resources

The work on the African Orphan Crops Consortium includes partners such as Mars. Photo: Cathy Watson/ICRAF
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FTA

unknownIn the next phase starting in 2017, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) will feature a new Flagship 1: Tree genetic resources to bridge production gaps and promote resilience. It includes elements of what is now Flagship 2 Management and conservation of forest and tree resources, coordinated by Laura Snook of Bioversity International. Before the start of Phase II, Ramni Jamnadass, Co-Leader, Tree Diversity, Domestication and Delivery at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Coordinator t of the future Flagship 1 reflects on the most important partnerships within her research area. Read more on partnerships here.

Tree genetic resources are crucial for productive and sustainable landscapes, but this importance is not yet universally recognized. Research in this area lacks coordination and appropriate investment; quality planting material needs to be developed and promoted more effectively for socio-economic and environmental benefits. Currently the tools and approaches to achieve this are inadequate.

One example of a fruitful partnership.
One example of a fruitful partnership.

With the restructuring of the Flagships, activities on safeguarding genetic diversity, domestication and delivery of planting material will be subsumed under a single Flagship. We’ll bring together work that was previously dispersed across different components of FTA. Key strategic partners in the new Flagship are ICRAF, Bioversity International (who previously led the Flagship) and the University of Copenhagen.

Like the other Flagships, we have partnerships with a range of advanced research institutions in Europe (such as the James Hutton Institute), America (such as the University of California, Davis) and elsewhere.

Noteworthy is the training program for 250 African plant breeders set up with the University of California, Davis, which sits under the partnership with the African Orphan Crops Consortium.

The work on the African Orphan Crops Consortium includes partners such as Mars. Photo: Cathy Watson/ICRAF
The work on the African Orphan Crops Consortium includes partners such as Mars. Photo: Cathy Watson/ICRAF

Recently, the University of New Hampshire has come on board, and we have been approached by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) that wants to expand their international work on orphan crops.

In terms of international organizations, we also a have very fruitful collaboration with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, on a range of initiatives such as the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been a really good partner.

There are some evolving partnerships, which will depend on mutual expectations and if we can meet each other’s, but it’s not at all about money. One such new partnership is with the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) where synergies exist within work on best approaches for germplasm improvement and delivery. INBAR will be a managing partner in the next phase of FTA.


Also read: Seeing the trees as well as the forest: the importance of managing forest genetic resources


I want to also highlight partnerships with the private sector, for example with Mars, Unilever, and Natura. The partnership with Mars is both upstream, on genomics to support breeding work under the African Orphan Crops Consortium; and downstream, on cocoa farm upgrading through the use of improved planting material in Cote d’Ivoire.

The engagement with Unilever has grown over almost 12 years. Such work has established a pathway for difficult species where there’s been no investment previously but where potential for market use is high.

More on partnerships:

Robert Nasi: Partnerships make forests, trees and agroforestry program work

Diversity, commitment, challenges and shared goals: How CIRAD looks at FTA

Long-term relationships and mutual trust—partnerships and research on climate change

The best science is nothing without local voices: Partnerships and landscapes

Influence flows both ways: Partnerships are key to research on Livelihood systems

Alignment is key to make partnerships work

Partnership increases number of academically trained foresters in DR Congo from 6 to 160 in just ten years

Bringing in the development expertise: INBAR to join CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Connecting with countries: Tropenbos International to join CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

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  • Seeing the trees as well as the forest: the importance of managing forest genetic resources

Seeing the trees as well as the forest: the importance of managing forest genetic resources

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bioversity

Reliable data on the status and trends of forest genetic resources are essential for their sustainable management. The reviews presented in this special edition of Forest Ecology and Management on forest genetic resources complement the first ever synthesis of the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources (SOW-FGR) that has just been published by the Food and Agriculture Organization. In this editorial, we present some of the key findings of the SOW-FGR and introduce the seven reviews presented in this special edition on: (1) tree genetic resources and livelihoods; (2) the benefits and dangers of international germplasm transfers; (3) genetic indicators for monitoring threats to populations and the effectiveness of ameliorative actions; (4) the genetic impacts of timber management practices; (5) genetic considerations in forest ecosystem restoration projects using native trees; (6) genetic-level responses to climate change; and (7) ex situ conservation approaches and their integration with in situ methods. Recommendations for action arising from the SOW-FGR, which are captured in the first Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources, and the above articles are discussed. These include: increasing the awareness of the importance of and threats to forest genetic resources and the mainstreaming of genetic considerations into forest management and restoration; establishing common garden provenance trials to support restoration and climate change initiatives that extend to currently little-researched tree species; streamlining processes for germplasm exchange internationally for research and development; and the intelligent use of modern molecular marker methods as genetic indicators in management and for improvement purposes.

Category: Journal articles

Author: Loo, J.; Souvannavong, O.; Dawson, I.K.

Journal or series: Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 333

Pages: p. 1-8

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication Year: 2014

Publication Format: PDF

ISSN: 0378-1127

Language: EN


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