Thursday, February 11, 2016

Forest Genetic Resources

By Anton Antonio
February 12, 2016

Forest genetic resources have traditionally been managed by Mother Nature… the wind, the unassuming bee and other insects have plucked and delivered pollens from one flower to another is part of this natural process.  Man, being the most intelligent being in the animal kingdom, and his science, however, started to dip his fingers on this process.  This is not at all wrong and this must be shared, managed and protected on a sustainable basis.

To increase our knowledge and awareness, here is a researched material on forest genetic resources… “Forest genetic resources or tree genetic resources are genetic material of shrub and tree species of actual or future value.  Forest genetic resources are essential for forest-depending communities who rely for a substantial part of their livelihoods on timber and non-timber forest products (for example fruits, gums and resins) for food security, domestic use and income generation.  These resources are also the basis for large-scale wood production in planted forests to satisfy the worldwide need for timber and paper.  Genetic resources of several important timber, fruit and other non-timber tree species are conserved ex situ in genebanks or maintained in field collections.  Nevertheless, in situ conservation in forests and on farms is in the case of most tree species the most important measure to protect their genetic resources.  A better understanding of the diversity of these species is crucial for their sustainable use and conservation.  Monitoring of patterns of distribution and genetic diversity of these species allows the prioritization of populations for in situ conservation, identification of populations and species most at risk and existing gaps in genebank collection.  Also available in French and Spanish.  This is vital information which helps tackle global challenges such as food security and climate change.  In 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations published the first State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources.  The publication addressed the conservation, management and sustainable use of forest tree and other woody plant genetic resources of actual and potential value for human well-being in the broad range of management systems.  It was prepared based on information provided by 86 countries, outcomes from regional and subregional consultations, and commissioned thematic studies.  Amongst the ten key findings, half of the forest species reported as regularly utilized by countries are threatened by the conversion of forest to pastures and farmland, overexploitation, and the impacts of climate change.  On the basis of the information and knowledge compiled by FAO for the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture developed the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources.  This Global Plan of Action identified 27 strategic priorities grouped into 4 areas: (1) improving the availability of, and access to, information on forest genetic resources; (2) conservation of forest genetic resources (in situ and ex situ); (3) sustainable use, development and management of forest genetic resources; (4) policies, institutions and capacity-building.” (Wikipedia)

There are admirable initiatives, which must be fully supported, that aim to develop, manage and protect forest genetic resources.
Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Wikipedia, (2016).  “Forest Genetic Resources”.  Retrieved on February 12, 2016 from

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