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Tree genetic resources

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The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) works on tree genetic resources (TGR) to bridge production gaps and promote resilience to provide solutions for the more effective safeguarding, domestication and delivery of these resources by and to farmers, foresters and other stakeholders. This leads to diversified and more productive options for farming systems, to more varied diets and improved nutrition, to strengthened value chains for tree products, and to increased smallholder farm incomes. Importantly, the right TGR management decisions play an important role in enhancing the adaptive capacity of farm and forest ecosystems to cope with climate change and in countering landscape degradation.

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  • Tree seed selection, genome sequencing, improvement of priority species and more

Tree seed selection, genome sequencing, improvement of priority species and more

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By Ramni Jamnadass, Co-Leader, Tree Diversity, Domestication and Delivery, World Agroforestry Centre and Coordinator Flagship 1

In 2017, Flagship 1 Tree genetic resources to bridge production gaps and promote resilience will continue to enrich databases for a range of important tools and the knowledge framework already generated under FTA Phase I and previously. Figure 1 illustrates the already high annual use of products and indicating the visibility of the staff involved in research and development communities.

Annual use of research outputs from Flagship 1

Overall, we will

  • work towards safeguarding existing genetic diversity,
  • seek new solutions for critical steps in the domestication and improvement of priority tree species; and
  • investigate delivery pipelines for improved germplasm relevant to addressing the constraints for trees on farms to a) make desirable impacts on people’s livelihoods, and b) support delivery systems for landscape restoration initiatives.

Among the major outputs of our research this year will be a contribution to an assessment of the global status of biodiversity using an ecoregion-based approach.

We’re also working on a global survey of tree seed selection and its importance in forest and landscape restoration.

Additionally, we will see the first results of genome sequencing of both crop and tree species under the African Orphan Crops Consortium and systematic prioritization of species for further domestication.

One of our prime outputs this year will be an analysis of why institutional environments for agroforestry seed systems matter; and the publication of a number of technical fact sheets and guidelines will contribute to capacity development efforts in all regions.

Results from studies of fruit production and consumption related to domestication will be of particular gender sensitive relevance.

Genetic code extracted from wood can be used as a forensic tool to crack down on illegal logging. Photo: Bioversity International/J.Loo

Bioversity’s International activities 2017

Bioversity’s forest-related research focuses primarily on conserving and managing sustainable use of forest tree genetic resources, in forests and woodlands as well as plantings, including providing decision support to restoration planners.

We work with national partners in government, universities and civil society, on species that are important for rural people in lower-income countries. Currently, we are carrying out research with community forestry associations which harvest and manage mahogany in forest concessions within the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Central America.

In several priority countries in Latin America, we work with public and private partners to support the sourcing of appropriate planting material.

In Central Asia, we collaborate with national partners to improve conservation management of populations of wild fruit and nut tree species of global significance.

In Central and Western Africa, we are working in moist forests with a variety of partners to reduce illegal logging and develop conservation strategies for valuable species; and in dry woodlands, to increase the success of forest restoration while improving the value of restored forests, particularly their contribution to nutrition of local people.

Our research focuses mainly on understanding patterns of genetic diversity, threats to genetic resources, variation in nutritional characteristics of food products derived from important tree species, and gender relations in conservation and management of forest resources.

The impact of our research is enhanced through our interaction with FAO and four regional networks of scientists and policy makers coordinated by Bioversity which we established in collaboration with FAO (for example APFORGEN), and by incorporating our key messages in training materials available here.

In collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the private company China Happy Ecology we have initiated a regional forest genetic resources training centre for Southeast Asia in China and will hold the second training there in late summer, 2017.

Related events in 2017

Training workshop on the new version of the Africa Tree Finder

co-organized by ICRAF and IUCN

Date, time and location to follow

IUFRO 125th anniversary congress

Co-organizing a session on:

Food-trees in forest and farmlands: improving livelihood of communities in tropical regions” (session number 25) under General Congress, Theme 1: Forests for People.

IMMANA Grant: Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions

Project Inception meeting: 3rd and 4th March 2017

Project title: ENRICH- Enriching the Kenyan diet with consumption of fruits and vegetables by using reliable, cheap and fast consumer-generated data: a proof of principle study for real-time and in-situ metrics to assess fruit and vegetable intake by targeted consumers in Nairobi, Kenya.

Led by: Wageningen University

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  • The management of tree genetic resources and the livelihoods of rural communities in the tropics: non-timber forest products, smallholder agroforestry practices and tree commodity crops

The management of tree genetic resources and the livelihoods of rural communities in the tropics: non-timber forest products, smallholder agroforestry practices and tree commodity crops

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Products and services provided by trees in forests and farmland support the needs and promote the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people in the tropics. Value depends on managing both the diversity of tree species present in landscapes and the genetic variation within these species. The benefits from trees and their genetic resources are, however, often not well quantified because trade is frequently outside formal markets, there is a multiplicity of species and ways in which trees are used and managed, and genetic diversity within species is frequently not given proper consideration. We review here what is known about the value of trees to rural communities through considering three production categories: non-timber products harvested from trees in natural and managed forests and woodlands; the various products and services obtained from a wide range of trees planted and/or retained in smallholders’ agroforestry systems; and the commercial products harvested from cultivated tree commodity crops. Where possible, we focus on the role of intra-specific genetic variation in providing support to livelihoods, and for each of the three production categories we also consider wider conservation and sustainability issues, including the linkages between categories in terms of management. Challenges to ‘conventional wisdom’ on tree resource use, value and management – such as in the posited links between commercialisation, cultivation and conservation – are highlighted, and constraints and opportunities to maintain and enhance value are described.

Category: Journal articles

Author: Dawson, I.K.; Leakey, R.; Clement, C.R.; Weber, J.C.; Cornelius, J.P.; Roshetko, J.M.; Vinceti, B.; Kalinganire, A.; Tchoundjeu, Z.; Masters, E.; Jamnadass, R.

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

Pages: p. 9-21

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication Year: 2014

Publication Format: PDF

ISSN: 0378-1127

Language: EN

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