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SOUTHEAST ASIAN WORKSHOP ON FOREST GENETIC RESOURCES29

by
Jarkko Koskela30, Anders P. Pedersen31 and D. Baskaran Krishnapillay32

INTRODUCTION

A regional workshop on conservation, management and utilization of forest genetic resources was organized by the Forest Genetic Resources Conservation and Management Project (FORGENMAP) in Thailand between 25 February and 10 March 2001. FORGENMAP is implemented by the Royal Forest Department (RFD) of Thailand and funded jointly by RFD and the Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development (DANCED, now under the Danish International Development Agency (Danida)). FORGENMAP works on improvement of tree seed sources and supplies bulk quantities of quality seeds. Presently, similar Danish-supported tree seed projects are also carried out in several other Southeast Asian countries, i.e. Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. These projects have promoted conservation and management of forest genetic resources although initially they had little focus on conservation aspects

The Southeast Asian workshop was the first regional meeting on forest genetic resources, which brought together delegates from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Myanmar was unable to send a delegate but provided a country report. The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), the FAO Forestry Research Support Program for Asia and the Pacific (FORSPA) and the Danida Forest Seed Centre (DFSC) provided additional support and their staff also participated in the workshop. CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Australia also provided technical contribution to the workshop.

The Southeast Asian workshop was part of the series of regional workshops that have been organized in different parts of the world to facilitate global assessment of forest genetic diversity (see Hald et al. 2002). In the Asia Pacific region, a sub-regional workshop had been held only in South Pacific in 1999. The workshop in Thailand outlined the national status of forest genetic resources in Southeast Asian countries and learnt experiences outside the region. It also initiated strategic thinking to improve conservation and management of forest genetic resources both national and regional levels.

The proceedings of the workshop were recently published as a joint effort between FORGENMAP, IPGRI, FAO, DFSC and RFD (see references). The publication includes status reports on conservation and use of forest genetic resources from all participating Southeast Asian countries. It also contains a number of invited papers reporting relevant studies and experiences from the region and elsewhere. In the following, we report some of the major findings and conclusions of the workshop as well as its recommendations. More detailed information can be found from the Proceedings.33

STATE OF FOREST GENETIC RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND USE

The country reports presented during the workshop provide an overview on the conservation and use of forest genetic resources in Southeast Asia. As an overall observation, the Southeast Asian countries have recognized the importance of conserving forest genetic resources for present and future use. However, there are considerable differences in the state of work the countries have carried out so far in strategic conservation planning and the practical implementation hereof. Common features among the countries are that forest sector often has an important role in national economies and that forest-based products and services significantly contribute to the livelihood of millions of rural people.

As deforestation is still a concern, several countries have launched large-scale tree planting programmes to tackle it and to enhance wood supply and environmental benefits of forests. This subsequently has created a tremendous need for seed and planting material. However, lack of high quality material for tree planting programmes are still a common problem, especially in case of native species, which are much less used as compared to exotic species. Although several countries have initiated actions to secure the domestic availability of reproductive material, they still have a great need to exchange germplasm externally. In addition to reforestation efforts, many countries are involved in the international efforts to promote sustainable forest management especially in natural forests.

Two approaches seem to prevail in conserving forest genetic resources in Southeast Asia. The first one emphasizes genetic conservation as a part of tree improvement programmes, i.e. ex situ conservation of important commercial tree species, mainly exotic, through provenance trials and other conservation stands. The second approach is biodiversity conservation in natural parks and other protected areas in which in situ conservation of native tree species is only carried out as a secondary management objective. In protected areas, conservation of forest genetic resources is often based on the assumption that these areas host a wide range of forest genetic diversity even if these areas are commonly established for other purposes than active in situ gene conservation. It is less common that ex situ and in situ conservation are used in a complementary manner to ensure a holistic conservation approach for carefully selected priority species. Positively, many countries in Southeast Asia have recognized the importance of involving local people in conservation of forest genetic diversity. However, although the participatory approach has been applied by various implementing agencies, the use of this approach needs to be further increased.

All the participating Southeast Asian countries have initiated national forest planning process in the form of `national forest programmes' (NFPs, see FAO 1999). NFP is a generic term covering the different strategic frameworks, such as national forestry action plans, forestry sector master plans, forestry sector reviews, national biodiversity strategies, national environmental action plans and national conservation strategies, for example. The FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources has stressed out that national programmes on forest genetic resources conservation should make a full use of the existing national forest programmes (FAO 2000). Some Southeast Asian countries have already incorporated conservation measures as a part of their NFPs. However, the country reports indicate that the linkages between conservation of forest genetic resources and NFPs need to be further strengthened. It is also obvious that national programmes on forest genetic resources are not yet well established in Southeast Asian countries. There is collaboration between national institutions and several donor-funded projects are focusing on forest genetic resources. However, national lead institutions with coordinating responsibility have not been properly identified and the commitment of governments and policy-makers in terms of funding is often insufficient to achieve any significant impact.

Policy-makers' commitment to conservation of forest genetic diversity can be increased if they are more aware of the potential of forest genetic resources for development. Experiences from Southeast Asia and the neighbouring regions demonstrate that tree domestication, for example, can accelerate the use and subsequently conservation of forest genetic resources. Attempts to increase the use of forest genetic resources will bring along evidently the need to increase regional collaboration as well as to identify common priority species. However, before any regional efforts can be meaningful, it is necessary that active national programmes on forest genetic resources are operational and supported by policy-makers.

WORKING SESSIONS AND DISCUSSIONS

The delegates were assigned into four groups to discuss various topics in several sessions during the workshop. Topics were: 1) criteria for priority setting; 2) common species priorities; 3) utilization and partnership in conservation of forest genetic resources; and 4) management of forest genetic resources. The first group focused on criteria, how to weigh them, and how to value species. The second group was requested to process the species lists from the country reports and provide a list of common priority species. The third group discussed utilization, domestication and partnership in conservation based on Southeast Asian experience and lessons learnt so far. The fourth group exchanged ideas and experiences on management of forest genetic resources in Southeast Asia, with special focus on legislation and other policy issues.

The outputs from discussions on priority setting suggested that regional and national priority species need to be identified to spearhead the development of conservation strategies and action plans. It was acknowledged that such species would, due to limited resources and capacity, represent only a small proportion of species in need of research, development and conservation efforts. The group also discussed how to implement the strategies and action plans, and how to assign interest in activities by species and countries. Increased networking among countries was mentioned as a mean to increase coordination and this would also facilitate exchange of information and germplasm.

The second group processed the lists of priority species presented in the country reports and compiled a tentative list of regional priority species (Table 1). The list was compiled based on two criteria; 1) a species should be indigenous to Southeast Asia, and 2) a species must have been mentioned in two or more country reports. A total of 65 species met these criteria and seven of them were listed in five or more country reports. The group pointed out that the list should only be considered as tentative since the processes to identify priority species were quite different in each country. Furthermore, selection criteria and stakeholder groups involved in varied.

For Cambodia, the species list is based on a national workshop held in August 2000 with a large group of different stakeholders. In case of the Philippines, no national workshop has been held for this purpose but the species list was compiled based on some feedback from different stakeholders. The report by Thailand used information from four regional in-country and one national workshops held in 1998. For Indonesia, the country report derived the information from a series of workshops organized in 1978, 1995 and 2000. In Laos, three regional in-country workshops were organized in 1999. The Malaysian list was based on existing and available literature as no national workshop had been held. Neither had Myanmar organized a national workshop to discuss priority setting and conservation strategies. In Vietnam, a national workshop was held in 2000 and before that, several regional in-country workshops had been held.

Table 1. Tentative list of Southeast Asian priority forest species as an output of the workshop. (Note: species are not in any order of priority).

Common priority species

Malaysia

Indonesia

Philippines

Laos

Cambodia

Thailland

Vietnam

Total

Afzelia xylocarpa

     

+

+

+

+

4

Agathis borneensis

+

+

         

2

Albizia lebbeck

     

+

+

   

2

Albizia procera

   

+

+

     

2

Alstonia scholaris

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

6

Anisoptera costata

+

 

+

+

+

 

+

5

Aquilaria crassna

     

+

+

+

+

4

Artocarpus heterophyllus

 

+

 

+

   

+

3

Avicennia alba

+

 

+

     

+

3

Azadirachta excelsa

+

+

     

+

 

3

Azadirachta indica

     

+

+

+

 

3

Calamus manan

+

+

       

+

3

Cassia siamea

 

+

 

+

+

 

+

4

Casuarina equisetifolia

+

+

+

       

3

Chukrasia tabularis

+

   

+

   

+

3

Dalbergia bariensis

       

+

 

+

2

Dalbergia cochinchinensis

     

+

+

+

+

4

Dipterocarpus alatus

   

+

+

+

+

+

5

Dipterocarpus grandiflorus

+

+

+

     

+

4

Dipterocarpus tuberculatus

       

+

+

 

2

Dryobalanops aromatica

+

+

         

2

Durio sp.

+

+

       

+

3

Dyera costulata

+

+

         

2

Eusideroxylon zwageri

+

+

         

2

Fagraea fragrans

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

5

Gonystylus bancanus

+

+

         

2

Hopea odorata

+

 

+

+

+

+

+

6

Intsia bijuga

 

+

+

       

2

Intsia palembanica

+

+

     

+

 

3

Koompassia malaccensis

+

+

         

2

Lagerstroemia ovalifolia

     

+

+

 

+

3

Litchi sinensis

       

+

 

+

2

Melaleuca cajuputi

 

+

   

+

 

+

3

Common priority species

Malaysia

Indonesia

Philippines

Laos

Cambodia

Thailland

Vietnam

Total

Metroxylon sagu

+

+

         

2

Palaquium rostratum

+

+

         

2

Parashorea stellata

+

   

+

 

+

 

3

Parkia speciosa

+

+

     

+

 

3

Peltophorum ferrugineum

     

+

+

 

+

3

Pinus kesiya

   

+

+

 

+

+

4

Pinus merkusii

 

+

+

+

+

+

+

5

Pterocarpus indicus

+

+

+

 

+

   

4

Pterocarpus macrocarpus

     

+

+

+

+

4

Rhizophora sp.

+

+

+

 

+

 

+

5

Samanea saman

 

+

+

       

2

Schima wallichii

+

+

       

+

3

Shorea cochinchinensis

       

+

 

+

2

Shorea hypochrea

       

+

 

+

2

Shorea laevis

+

+

         

2

Shorea leprosula

+

+

         

2

Shorea macrophylla

+

+

         

2

Shorea ovalis

+

+

         

2

Shorea parvifolia

+

+

         

2

Shorea roxburghii

+

       

+

+

3

Shorea stenoptera

+

+

         

2

Sindora cochinchinensis

     

+

+

 

+

3

Sterculia lychnophora

       

+

 

+

2

Tarrietia javanica

       

+

 

+

2

Tectona grandis

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

3

Terminalia chebula

     

+

   

+

2

Toona sinensis

+

         

+

2

Toona sureni

+

+

         

2

Vatica odorata

     

+

   

+

2

Vitex parviflora

 

+

+

       

2

Xylia dolabriformis

       

+

 

+

2

Xylia xylocarpa

     

+

 

+

+

3

The third group, which focused on utilization and domestication, developed general recommendations and discussed how to put them into practice under varying social, economic and legal conditions. The group also emphasized the role of local people in forest management and pointed out that land tenure and ownership by local people increases their level of interest in forest management and conservation. It was highlighted that the participation of local people is not only important for managing non-wood forest products but also in granting concession licenses and implementing commercial logging.

The fourth group analysed issues on management of forest genetic resources based on the country reports and identified the most common issues or problems as follows: 1) weak law enforcement; 2) lack of participation by local people; 3) improper management; 4) wildlife conservation is given more emphasis that plant conservation; 5) conservation efforts emphasizing more on ecosystems than species and genes; and 6) insufficient scientific data, information sharing and networking

The group pointed out that while laws and regulations are in place in several countries, the enforcement is not implemented adequately. It was also noted that enforcement should be carried out hand in hand with participation of local people and that regulations should originate from lower levels (bottom up approach). While several countries demonstrate increasing participation of local people in management of forest genetic resources, there is still a lot to do to increase active involvement of local people in this regard. Improper management of forest genetic resources originates from a lack of well-trained field staff specifically assigned to conservation work. In addition, profit-making branches of governmental agencies often received higher budget allocations than conservation sections. Conservation efforts are often focused on wildlife and ecosystems while conservation of forest genetic resources, if acknowledged as a separate effort at all, is implemented as a secondary management objective. The group also considered that scattered scientific data is due to not only poor research management and funding availability but also lack of coordination and a more holistic research approach. It was concluded that increased networking among countries and stakeholders at national level can alleviate these problems as well as enhance distribution of existing information.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The workshop made several recommendations for further action to conserve forest genetic resources in Southeast Asia. Firstly, a regional consultancy should be carried out to complete the process of identifying priority species for regional activities. Secondly, following the consultancy, a follow-up meeting should be organized to develop a regional action plan and identify country-specific activities as a part of regional efforts. Thirdly, the delegates suggested that IPGRI should coordinate further action in collaboration with other relevant international and regional organizations. It was also recommended that special emphasis should be given to enhance regional networking on conservation and use of forest genetic resources.

REFERENCES

FAO 2001. State of World's Forests 2001. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. 181 pp.

FAO 2000. Report of the Eleventh Session of the FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources. FAO, Rome. 90 pp.

Hald, S., Barnekow Lillesų, J.-P. & Sigaud, P. 2002. Regional workshops on conservation and use of forest genetic resources: their contribution to a global assessment of forest genetic diversity. In J. Koskela, S. Appanah, A.P. Pedersen & M.D. Markopoulos, (eds). Proceedings of the Southeast Asian Moving Workshop on Conservation, Management and Utilization of Forest Genetic Resources, 25 February-10 March 2001, Thailand, pp. 165-175. FORGENMAP/IPGRI/FAO/DFSC/RFD, Bangkok.

UPDATED ICRAF TREE SEED SUPPLIER DIRECTORY

Tree seed suppliers directory: sources of seeds and microsymbionts. R. Kindt with S. Muasya, J. Kimotho and A. Waruhiu. Nairobi, ICRAF.

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has recently updated the directory of seeds and microsymbionts, multipurpose trees and shrubs - sources of seeds and inoculants.

This directory is intended to: 

1. contribute to the informed use of tree germplasm, which is an essential component of sustainable forestry and agroforestry practices, and

2. promote wider use of quality germplasm.

Quality has both a genetic and a physiological component, and both are described in the directory. Quality descriptors can be used as criteria to select suppliers, and this will ensure that both the users and the suppliers recognize seed quality requirements.

The directory also highlights the importance of biosafety issues, and it presents biosafety information that suppliers have provided.

Although the directory focuses on tree taxa of importance in the tropics, it lists temperate taxa as well. It does not discriminate between taxa used for agroforestry and forestry. The purpose is to ensure that the information is useful to a wide range of users.

The information from the directory is available on line at:http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/Sites/TreeDBS/TSSD/treessd.htmand in a book version as well as on CD-ROM.

 


29 Received August 2002. Original language: English
30 IPGRI Regional Office for Asia, the Pacific and Oceania, Serdang, Malaysia
31 Danida Forest Seed Centre, Humlebaek, Denmark
32 Forest Research Institute Malaysia and APAFRI Secretariat, Kepong, Malaysia
33 The proceedings are available from the FAO, FORSPA office in Bangkok, Thailand. For copies, contact Dr S. Appanah, Senior Programme Advisor (simmathiri.appanah@fao.org ).


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