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FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources
Report of the First Session

Rome, 21 – 25 October 1968

I. The Panel

The FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources was established in accordance with the directives of the Fourteenth Session of the FAO Conference (November 1967), which read as follows:

“244. Forest Tree Genetic Resources. The Conference requested the Director-General to take into account Recommendation No.62 of document C 67/AG/FO/1 in formulating the Program of Work and Budget for 1970/71. It recognized that as development proceeds in the less as in the more advanced areas of the world, the reserves of genetic variation stored in the natural forests have been or are being displaced on an increasing scale. Moreover, efforts to explore and collect forest genetic resources were, on a world scale, inadequate and inadequately concerted.

245. The Conference requested the Director-General to establish a panel of experts on Forest Gene Resources to help plan and co-ordinate FAO's efforts to explore, utilize and conserve the gene resources of forest trees and, in particular, help prepare a detailed short-term program and draft a long-term program for FAO's action in this field and to provide information to Member Governments. The Director-General should convene at least one session of the members of the Panel in the biennium 1968/69.”

The action taken by the Fourteenth Session of the FAO Conference was a consequence of the FAO/IBP Technical Conference on the Exploration, Utilization and Conservation of Plant Gene Resources (September 1967) which underlined the urgent need to protect from further destruction the plant genetic resources of the world. Foresters were well represented at that Conference, of which a detailed record is contained in document PL/FO:1967/M/12. Its general recommendations and recommendation No.62 on forestry are reproduced as Appendix 1 to the present report, to show the background against which the FAO Panel on Forest Gene Resources was formed.

The Director-General established the Panel in 1968. The following are members:

H. BarnerThe Danish State Forestry Tree Improvement Station
3040 Humlebaek
P. BouvarelStation d'Amélioration des Arbres Forestiers
14 rue Girardet
54 Nancy, France
R.Z. Callaham (alternate J.C. Barber)Forest Service,U.S.D.A.
Washington D.C. 20250, U.S.A.
W.G. DysonE.A.A.F.R.O.
P.O.Box 30148
Nairobi, Kenya
C. EhrenbergSkogshögsholan
Fack S 10405
Stockholm, Sweden
A.F.A. LambCommonwealth Forestry Institute
South Parks Road
Oxford, England
D.A.N. Cromer (alternate E. Larsen)Forestry and Timber Bureau
Canberra A.C.T.
R. MorandiniIstituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura
Via delle Cascine 1
Florence, Italy
R. Villaseñor A.Director, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones
Coyoacán D.F., Mexico
B. Zobel (alternate R.C. Kellison)Cooperative Programs
N.C. State University
Box 5488
Raleigh, N.C. 27607

The first session of the FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources was held from 21 to 25 October 1968 at FAO headquarters in Rome. A list of participants is attached as Appendix 2.

The Panel unanimously elected Dr. R.Z. Callaham (USA), leader of Section 22 of IUFRO, as Chairman and Professor R. Morandini (Italy) as Vice-Chairman.

The agenda as adopted by the Panel is attached as Appendix 3.

II. Recommendations

A. General

1. To International Organisations

(1) The Panel recommended that the sum of $40,000 which it was hoped would be available under FAO's Regular Programme for seed procurement in the 1970/71 biennium, should be used as follows:

  1. $10,000 to the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales (Mexico), in collaboration with Section 22 of the International Union of Forestry Research Organisations, for collection of seed of Pseudotsuga spp. and Populus spp. in Mexico.

  2. $15,000 to the Commonwealth Forestry Institute (Oxford) for collection of seed of Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis and var. hondurensis and Pinus oocarpa in Central America and the Caribbean.

  3. $15,000 to the Forest Research Institute (Canberra) for collection of seed of Eucalyptusdecaisneana” (Brazil “E.alba”) in the East Indies and species of Araucaria, Callitris and Eucalyptus in Australia.

(2) The Panel recommended that a sum of $140,000 per biennium should be made available under FAO's Regular Programme for exploration and seed collection in the 1972/73 and subsequent biennia. Financing at this level should continue until at least the end of the decade and is considered the minimum needed, if an action programme in the development of forest gene resources of major importance or in danger of extinction is to have a substantial impact. This proposal assumes a continuation of at least the present scale of national and international effort from other sources, reinforced by the sum of $50,000 per biennium which it is hoped will be made available under a new Danish bilateral aid project.

(3) The Panel recommended that FAO should permit the maximum degree of flexibility in accounting for money made available for seed procurement.

(4) The Panel noted that a number of forestry field staff employed in the United Nations Development Programme, both in the Special Fund and Technical Assistance sectors, were in an excellent position, geographically and technically, to assist in seed procurement. The Panel recommended that the UNDP should give its full support to the suitable expansion or modification of projects to take account of seed procurement needs, not only in the countries where the projects are operating, but also in neigbouring countries.

(5) The Panel recommended that FAO's Forest Management Branch maintain its current liaison with international organisations concerned with the conservation of natural resources, such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the International Biological Programme.

(6) Noting the lack of attention paid to forest trees in the past by international conservation authorities and the fact that, where protective measures have been applied, they have sometimes not included the most imminently threatened species, the Panel recommended that such authorities should extend their protective efforts to include forest types and species or provenances in danger of extinction.

(7) The Panel, noting the inadequate publicity given in the past to the availability of seed of provenances already collected, recommended that FAO's Forestry and Forest Industries Division collect requisite information and publish it in the form of regular, up-to-date lists in Unasylva.

(8) The Panel recommended that, at the time of the next revision of the FAO Forest Tree Seed Directory, the Forestry and Forest Industries Division should take the opportunity to collect and publish information on seed certification schemes in force in various countries and the seed suppliers who conform to them.

(9) The Panel noted with gratification that Section 22 of IUFRO had started to collect information on the results of international provenance trials. It recommended that IUFRO, in collaboration with FAO, should intensify its efforts to collect, analyse and disseminate information on provenance trials already in progress or being started, and should also circulate advice about trials which have been proposed but cannot be started for lack of seed. It supported IUFRO's proposals to delegate responsibility, for particular species or regions, to individual members of the appropriate working group.

(10) The Panel recommended that Section 22 of IUFRO give consideration to the drafting of a simple set of guidelines on the rapid establishment and management of seed production areas of locally adapted provenances of exotic species in developing countries, where the means for establishing standard provenance trials may be lacking. Such areas could also serve as a source of genetic material for future breeding programmes.

2. To Governments

(1) The Panel recommended that governments take adequate steps to conserve various representative and unique forest types in their countries, and that, whenever possible, they consult genecologists when deciding on the most suitable areas to include within preserves.

(2) The Panel recommended that governments take urgent action to conserve those species and provenances which are in danger of extinction. Some species known to be in danger are listed in Section IV - 1. The Panel recommended that governments notify it of others that should be added.

(3) The Panel recommended that governments take note of the excellent work done by institutes within their own countries and encourage tree seed procurement activities competently carried out by forest services, research institutes and private suppliers. Furthermore, that they remove any unnecessary restrictions on the free export or import of seed.

(4) The Panel recommended governments of donor countries to give serious consideration to the possibilities of bilateral aid in the field of seed procurement, which can be of immense benefit to many developing countries. In this connection the Panel noted with gratification the beneficial operations of the U.K. Overseas Aid Tropical Pine Scheme and of the Thai/Danish Teak Improvement Centre, and welcomed the proposal for a new Thai/Danish Pine Improvement centre and the possibility of further substantial Danish bilateral aid in seed procurement in S.E. Asia.

(5) The Panel recommended that governments adopt seed certification schemes which should conform as closely as possible to that approved by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and expressed the hope that OECD's proposal for the formal extension of the scheme to non-member countries of OECD would be implemented soon. Further, that heads of forest services maintain and publish lists of seed suppliers in their countries who conform to approved seed certification schemes.

B. Technical and operational

(1) The Panel noted that inadequate co-ordination of seed collecting expeditions in the past had sometimes led to wasted and duplicated effort. It recommended that notice of any proposed collecting expedition should be sent to FAO and to the co-ordinating institutes specified in Appendix 8 well in advance so that other interested countries and institutes can be informed and opportunities created for joint expeditions leading to higher efficiency and reduced cost.

(2) The Panel recommended that the guide to methods of seed collection and evaluation of provenances contained in the IUFRO report “Standardisation of Methods for Provenance Research and Testing”, which will soon appear in “Silvae Genetica”, should be followed as closely as possible.

(3) The Panel recommended that those requesting seed or vegetative propagating material of forest trees for research or action programmes should follow the procedures outlined in “Seed, pollen and propagating materials for research purposes” (Unasylva Vol.18(1) 1964, reproduced as Appendix 7), in order to make their needs precisely known.

III. Recent and current activities

Before establishing priorities for action in the decade 1970–79, the Panel considered it must summarise available information on recent and current activities in forest gene resources and on those planned for 1968 and 1969. In doing so, it recognised that this information would be incomplete, particularly in regard to activities by individuals or companies working independently of state forest services. No attempt has been made to include national efforts in seed procurement which are for purely internal use, nor routine purchase and sale of seed in commercial quantities.


FAO's activities may be divided into those financed under the Regular Programme and those financed by the United Nations Development Programme. Under the Regular Programme $10,000 or more per biennium has been available during the previous and the current (1968/69) biennia. The greater part of this has been allocated to the Forest Research Institute in Canberra, for collection of those species of eucalypts for international distribution which are not collected as part of the normal Australian seed-collecting programme. Extension to cover additional genera, such as Pinus, Araucaria, Acacia, Callitris and Casuarina is planned (see under Australia). FAO co-operated, through the International Poplar Commission, with the Poplar Council of America in making available seed of Populus deltoides collected from over a large part of its range. Further collection is anticipated, after the gaps in the previous coverage have been identified. Headquarters in Rome provides information on seed sources and suppliers both through the FAO Forest Tree Seed Directory (now out of date but planned to be revised in 1970/71) and through advice given in response to specific enquiries.

Under the UNDP, the existing project at the Reforestation Institute in Tunisia supplies commercial quantities of seed of a number of Mediterranean species. A list of species available is distributed annually, mainly within the Mediterranean. The Poplar Institute project at Izmit in Turkey, now terminated, has enabled Turkey to supply material of poplars on an informal exchange basis. Poplar material is to be collected in Afghanistan by a Technical Assistance expert in 1969. UNDP support to the Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences has led to the establishment of a small seed bank at Turrialba in Costa Rica to serve Latin America. It purchases and supplies small quantities of exotic seed for research purposes and collects larger quantities of seed of Costa Rican species on request. The Special Fund project for plantations of quick-growing industrial species in Malaysia is active in the introduction of tropical pines, and it is hoped that it will be able to carry out, or participate in, seed-collecting expeditions in neighbouring countries in S.E.Asia, where Pinus merkusii and P.kesiya occur. Individual field officers on Special Fund projects or under Technical Assistance are sometimes able to assist in seed procurement of individual species or provenances in the areas where they work.


The Section 22 Working Group for Procurement of Seed for International Provenance Research, led by H. Barner (for address see appendix 8), has been financed through cash credits totalling $20,000 made by co-operating forestry research institutes in a number of countries and supplemented by advances from the Danish Government and the Carlsberg Foundation, to be repaid eventually through selling the seed collected. The original list comprised 25 species from western North America. The main effort has been made on Pseudotsuga menziesii (104 provenances totalling 236 kgs. collected 1966 and 48 provenances 1968) and Pinus contorta (114 provenances in 1967 and 35 provenances in 1968). A start was also made on Sitka spruce and ponderosa pine in 1968. Plans for 1969 are to continue Sitka spruce and to complete the southern range of Douglasfir in the U.S.A. and, if possible, its southernmost occurrences in Mexico. Abies grandis is likely to be the next priority. The species collected so far have been mainly of importance to developed countries (particularly in Europe), but a number of developing countries are likely to be interested in the extreme southern, sub-tropical provenances.

Instituto Forestal Latino Americano de Investigación y Capacitación

The Latin American Forest Research Institute at Mérida (Venezuela) is understood to be considering the setting up of a seed centre and the Acting Director was to visit Mexico at the end of 1968 to investigate the possibilities of collecting Mexican conifer seed. The project is not yet operational.


The Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Canberra has maintained a eucalyptus seed clearing centre for a number of years. Systematic collection of eucalyptus seed for seed origin research started in 1963 and the Institute maintains a permanent collection team for this purpose. At present the Institute has seed of 375 spp. of eucalyptus in stock, including comprehensive provenance sets of about 20 species or species groups, e.g. the E. camaldulensis/tereticornis group and the E. saligna/grandis/botryoides group. Within Australia expeditions are planned in 1968/69 on a regional basis to collect several species at the same time. In addition to eucalyptus, Acacias, Callitris intratropica and Casuarina decaisneana are being studied systematically. Seed is collected and kept separately by individual trees. For each tree a photograph is taken, herbarium and wood specimens collected and data recorded on the location, climate and soil of the collection sites and the results of seed germination tests. Seed in research quantities is normally supplied free on an exchange basis. Larger quantities are sold and may be obtained by purchase from state forest services or commercial suppliers.

FAO financial assistance has enabled the FRI to extend considerably the range of species covered. In the 1966/67 biennium a total of 118 kgs. of source identified seed was collected for $10,000. In 1968/69 activities are being extended to the East Indies. Over 7 pounds of seed of Euc.decaisneana” and E. alba were collected in 1968 from 40 localities in Portuguese Timor, Indonesian Timor and the island of Flores. Further expeditions are planned for 1969 to collect Euc. deglupta and Pinus merkusii in the Philippines and Indonesia and P.kesiya from the Philippines, and P. caribaea from Honduras and Nicaragua.


The part played by Denmark in providing the Co-ordinating Centre of the IUFRO Working Group on Procurement of Seed for International Provenance Research has already been mentioned (see IUFRO above).

A Danish bilateral aid project known as the Thai/Danish Teak Improvement Centre started operations in Thailand early in 1965. Apart from other breeding activities (selection of plus trees, seed orchard establishment, progeny trials, vegetative reproduction, controlled pollination), a provenance trial including seed from 65 separate seed sources within Thailand was laid down in 1966. Even this did not cover the full range of Thai seed sources, while no seed sources from outside Thailand were represented.

The Danish Government has recently approved the proposal to set upt a similar Thai/Danish Pine Improvement Centre which would deal with Pinus merkusii and P. kesiya, and it is expected that an agreement between the two Governments to implement this proposal will be signed shortly. The possibilities of extending Danish bilateral aid to provide a seed centre covering the whole of south-east Asia are considered below (Section V - 5).


A reconnaissaince survey of natural stands of Abies bornmülleriana and A. nordmanniana in Turkey by Mr. Arbez, from the French Centre National de Recherches Forestières was in progress in the latter half of 1968. These species are of interest to a number of other countries.

The Centre Technique Forestier Tropical is developing provenance trials in several countries of Western Africa where it has research centres supported by bilateral technical assistance. Provenances of Aucoumea klaineana and Terminalia superba are being collected, and seed collecting expeditions for teak and for tropical pines will be completed during 1969.


Selection of seed stands and collection and exchange of seed of Mediterranean conifer provenances by Mediterranean countries has been co-ordinated for a number of years by the FAO Committee for Co-ordination of Mediterranean Forestry Research. Seed of a number of provenances of Pinus pinea, P. halepensis and Cupressus sempervirens is already available, though not of the full range. Distribution of seed of a number of provenances of Euc. camaldulensis and E. dalrympleana, together with detailed, standardised prescriptions and layout for provenance trials, has been made by the Committee. Since the Committee has no funds of its own to collect seed, it can act only through stimulating and co-ordinating the efforts of its member countries and through FAO funds.


The Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales in Mexico has been collecting seed of Mexican conifers, both for experimental planting in Mexico and for supply to overseas countries, for a number of years. Research quantities have been supplied free of charge. In 1967, 500 kgs. were collected, of which 30% went overseas.

If the additional funds requested from the Mexican Government for the seed centre in 1969 materialise, it will be possible to increase the staff from 4 – 7 officers and to start comprehensive and systematic exploration and collection of seed throughout the range of three species - Pinus patula, Pinus oocarpa and P. maximartinezii. It is anticipated that it would take one year to complete Pinus maximartinezii, but 2–3 years to complete the other two species. In order to tackle simultaneously additional species represented in the wealth of coniferous flora in Mexico, external financial assistance would be needed.


A seed collecting expedition, financed by Norwegian bilateral aid, and organised jointly by Norwegian Aid (NORAD) and the East African Agriculture and Forestry Research Organisation(EAAFRO), commenced exploration and collection in Central America and the Caribbean in July 1968 and was expected to remain in the area for up to 6 months. The main purpose was to select seed stands and, if possible, collect seed of a number of provenances of tropical low-altitude pines suitable for trial in the coastal areas of Kenya and Tanzania and the lake-shore area of Uganda which abuts on Lake Victoria. In addition, provenances of high altitude conifers in Mexico and Central America were to be collected for trial in the East African highlands.

South Africa

A seed collecting expedition from South Africa, to collect in the south-east U.S.A. and Mexico, is to start operations early in 1969.


The main effort made by Sweden in recent years has been the international co-ordination of provenance trials of Norway Spruce. About 1300 provenances have been used in all, but these have been split into groups of 100 provenances each to simplify layout and management and to suit the special demands made by the participating countries. 13 countries have co-operated and planting was done in the 1967/68 season. The trials cover a very large part of the range of the species.


The Tropical Pines Section is part of the U.K. Overseas Aid Programme financed by the Ministry of Overseas Development and is situated at the Commonwealth Forestry Institute in Oxford. It started operation in 1963. The present budgetary allocation finishes in 1969 but at least one further 3 year extension is expected. Activities have included the collection and publishing of information, the procurement of seed of tropical pines in commercial quantities and the collection of wood samples for testing in the Wood Anatomy Section of the CFI. Recently attention has been extended to other tropical conifers, such as Araucaria, and to fast-growing tropical hardwoods. Provenance collections have been made of Pinus merkusii and Cedrela spp. and sets of seed distributed to interested countries together with full prescriptions for experimental procedure and design. A series of monographs on tropical species is being produced. In distribution of seed, Commonwealth countries are accorded preference, but non-Commonwealth countries are not excluded.

Recent expeditions have concentrated on Pinus caribaea, with particular attention to the several island provenances of var. bahamensis, and on both the island and continental provenances of P.merkusii. An expedition to collect seed of the southernmost provenances of P.caribaea var. hondurensis in Honduras and Nicaragua is planned for 1969 but is dependent on the results and information obtained during the current NORAD/EAAFRO expedition.


The Poplar Council of America has been instrumental in making available to other countries Populus deltoides seed from a wide part of its range, through the International Poplar Commission (see also under FAO). Help has been given to the IUFRO expeditions collecting western American conifers (see under IUFRO). Source-identified seed from different localities within the range of Pinus elliottii and P. taeda, as well as seed from individual plus trees, has been made available to a number of countries which plant these species as exotics, e.g. Australia, South Africa and countries in Latin America. The U.S. Forest Service, through its central research office in Washington D.C. and its regional experiment stations, exchanges several hundred seed samples each year, and there is comparable activity by a number of companies and individuals in the private sector of forestry. Requests for seed from the South-eastern USA may be coordinated shortly at the US Forest Service Tree Seed Laboratory, Macon, Georgia.

IV. Long-term and Medium-term (1970–79) planning

The Panel devoted some time to drawing up a list of species, by major regions, of which the gene resources need exploration, utilisation and conservation. The list is attached as Appendix 4. The species are subdivided into three priority classes. Priority 1 needs urgent attention and work on these species should start by the 1972/73 biennium at the latest. Priority 2 species are those on which work should start within the 1970–79 decade at the latest. Priority 3 contains the remaining species considered of less immediate importance; it may be possible to start work on some of them in the 1970–79 decade, but most of them will have to be deferred for a decade. The Panel recognised that the list must at this stage be considered as provisional; increasing knowledge and changing circumstances will make changes inevitable, particularly among the priority 3 species.

1. Exploration and Collection

The Panel then turned to the problems of medium-term planning of exploration and collection. This phase is the tightest bottleneck to the more efficient evaluation and use of existing forest gene resources and is peculiarly well suited to improvement through international action. The Panel considered that effort and money should be concentrated primarily on this phase throughout the coming decade. The proposed action programme for the next decade, 1970–79, shown in Appendix 5, indicates the estimated cost and duration of each project. The programme proposes direct expenditure on seed procurement by FAO's regular programme at a level of $40,000 in the 1970–71 biennium, and of $140,000 per biennium in 1972/73, and throughout the remainder of the decade, in order to cover the priority 1 and 2 species in this period.

In most cases seed procurement is necessary for the purpose of utilization in the near future, i.e. the species is already known to have high potential in a number of countries, and results from the evaluation phase (provenance testing) would have an immediate impact on large-scale planting programmes. Certain species and provenances, however, have an additional reason for priority. They are in danger of extinction, or at least of serious depletion of gene reresources within a decade or two, sometimes within only a few years, unless urgent action is taken to save them. Seed procurement in such cases has the primary purpose of conserving the species or provenance in plantations, often in a new home, and conservation takes priority over utilization. Species of limited present value should still be saved for scientific purposes and for fuller investigation of latent potential. Species known to be endangered, marked (E) in Appendix 4 and Appendix 5, are the following:

Abies nebrodensis
Araucaria angustifolia
Aucoumea klaineana (coastal provenances)
Cupressus dupreziana
Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis (Great Abaco, Andros, Grand Bahama)
P. eldarica
P. maximartinezii
P. merkusii (Sumatran provenances)
P. occidentalis (Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba)

In compiling this list the Panel recognized that, owing to its incomplete knowledge of the global situation, the list was almost certainly incomplete. It noted that the threat of extinction to certain species or provenances may arise suddenly and that provision needs to be made for action to collect and conserve them at short notice. Particular attention needs to be paid to cases where the species as a whole is in no danger but its most desirable ecotypes are. Not only exploitation or clearing for cultivation, but also disease or insect attacks (e.g. Dendroctonus on Pinus oocarpa in Honduras) and hybridisation with introduced stands (Vosges provenance of Pinus sylvestris in France) may pose a threat. The closest co-operation should be maintained with the Survival Service of IUCN, which should be asked to give more prominence than in the past to the dangers threatening certain species of forest trees. Other international organisations, such as IUFRO and IBP, should be asked to explore in greater detail the threatened species or provenances of forest trees.

In seed collection for purposes of provenance testing, artificial plantations should not be neglected. This is particularly the case in species which were introduced as exotics several generations ago, e.g. Pinus radiata in New Zealand, Chile and Spain. Natural selection within the new environment, added to the possible mixing of seed sources at the time of the original introduction, may produce desirable new gene combinations amounting to primitive cultivars or “land-races”.

2. Conservation

For “established” or major plantation species the Panel considered that conservation in plantations will be the ultimate answer. Long-term conservation in natural stands is likely to become of decreasing importance. But the need for short to medium term conservation of indigenous forest, until an adequately wide range of variation has been introduced into plantations, still remains for a number of species.

Very large numbers of little-known species could prove to be of importance later, as a result of increased knowledge. There is no possibility of investigating all these species in the near future. Their conservation in natural forest is desirable and can be effected through the establishment of an adequate system of nature reserves, covering the major ecological forest types in a country. If these can be incorporated in an existing system of forest reserves and national parks, backed by an efficient administration and a sympathetic public opinion, the problem is largely one of ecological survey to ensure that no forest types are omitted. Forest genecologists should be fully consulted before the sites for new nature reserves are selected. Trained staff in this field is often lacking, and its provision may be a suitable object of multilateral and bilateral aid. The order of magnitude suggested is a minimum of two blocks of a square kilometre each for types of restricted and discontinuous distribution, and a minimum of 5 blocks (one central, four peripheral) of similar size for types of extensive distribution, but both size and distribution of blocks must be adjusted to the requirements of the species and it is not possible to generalise. Nature reserves must be accorded not just static and negative protection, but some form of dynamic management. The growing public awareness of the need to reserve forest areas for recreation, watersheds, wildlife refuges and other purposes could well be harnessed to serve the joint purposes of gene resources conservation.

Where no adequate system of forest reserves or national parks exists in a country, the situation is much more difficult. Basically, the only hope is the adoption by the government concerned of a new policy of rational land use. International scientific opinion can be an important factor in inducing such a change of policy and can be expressed through international conferences such as those held by IUCN and IBP, or the coming FAO/IUFRO Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding.

The importance of hotanic gardens, arboreta and parks for conserving long-lived plants such as forest trees should not be overlooked. They should be used for planting and preserving indigenous species, not only exotics. Where possible, planting should be done in the form of small silvicultural plots rather than single specimen trees. In special cases the conservation of individual genotypes in clone banks may be desirable and may be particularly important for genotypes threatened with extinction. Examples of special purpose genotypes of enhanced value are curly birch and birdseye maple for veneer.

3. Evaluation

The Panel noted the desirability of achieving the highest possible standardisation of methods, both in species and provenance trials. The principles of the design of provenance trials have been covered by the report of the IUFRO section 22 working group on “Standardisation of Methods for Provenance Research and Testing”. This is to be published shortly in Silvae Genetica (in English, French and German) and should be followed as an authoritative guide to the principles of provenance testing. Its translation into Spanish by FAO would be a valuable contribution to Provenance research in Spanish-speaking countries. The Panel noted the practical advantages of a single institute co-ordinating all provenance trials of certain species or in certain regions, e.g. the trials of Pinus merkusii and Cedrela co-ordinated by the CFI at Oxford, the trials of Euc. camaldulensis and E. dalrympleana co-ordinated by the FAO Committee for Co-ordination of Mediterranean Forestry Research and the trials of Norway Spruce co-ordinated by the Royal College of Forestry in Sweden. In the case of developing countries the advantages of clear, detailed prescriptions, accompanying the distribution of each provenance seed set, are particularly marked in ensuring the greatest possible uniformity of treatment. On difficult technical problems encountered in the design and assessment of provenance trials, advice should be sought from the working group on “Quantitative Genetics” of section 22 IUFRO.

The provision of a simple set of guidelines on the rapid establishment and management of locally adapted seed production areas would fulfil a real need and the Panel expressed the hope that IUFRO section 22 would give the matter its attention. Techniques of this kind may be appropriate for developing countries, especially in the case of species such as eucalyptus, which show extreme variability, lack of genetic stability, rapid growth and early seeding. In effect, they involve the telescoping of the evaluation and utilisation phases. These areas could also serve as a source of genetic material for future breeding programmes.

Co-ordination of the design and methodology of provenance trials is only one facet. It is equally important to disseminate information on what trials are in existence in various countries, and to stimulate the publication and widest possible circulation of the results. The Panel noted with appreciation that this work has recently been undertaken by the IUFRO Working Group for Co-ordination of International Provenance Research and that the work was to be facilitated by delegating responsibility for individual species to individual persons or institutes.

4. Utilisation

The Panel considered that the ultimate aim must be to improve the utilisation of forest gene resources and that earlier phases should be planned with this in mind. Utilisation will comprise both the direct use of seed for large-scale afforestation projects and its use for further genetic improvement, through selection of individual plus trees and the testing of their progeny, and through hybridisation. Though production of industrial wood will be of major consideration for many countries, the utilisation of certain species for other purposes, such as protection and amenity planting or fuelwood production, should not be neglected. Development in utilisation over the next decade will be concentrated largely on the major established species.

The combining of small-scale seed collection for provenance testing with the simultaneous collection of larger quantities for later utilisation was strongly recommended where appropriate. These larger quantities should be kept in cold storage for 4–6 years or longer, so that they can be used in the most rational way on the most suitable sites, as indicated by early results from the provenance trials of the evaluation phase. This presupposes that adequate cold storage facilities can be made available at one or other of the larger national tree seed centres. The Panel considered that this should not present any major problems in the immediate future. The collection of substantial quantities of seed from the start, firstly for conservation and secondly for utilisation, is essential in the case of species of provenances in danger of extinction. The Panel also noted the advantages of large block plantings of each provenance at the outset of provenance research, to provide for later seed production for utilisation.

With regard to commercial quantities of seed, the Panel noted that government restrictions on the free movement of seed from country to country still existed in some countries. Apart from phyto-sanitary regulations, which are usually fully justified, such restrictions hinder international distribution of seed and should be removed; this applies to seed supply both by forest administrations and by reputable dealers. In order to improve the quality of seed supplied, seed certification should be encouraged. The OECD scheme, the most comprehensive one, has already been adopted by a number of countries. The Panel considered that countries outside OECD should model their seed certification schemes as closely as possible on the OECD scheme and expressed the hope that OECD's proposal to extend participation in its scheme to non-OECD countries would be implemented soon. Heads of forest services should urge all seed suppliers in their countries to join the official seed certification scheme in operation there. Membership of a recognised certification scheme should be indicated for seed suppliers and research institutes when the next edition of the FAO Forest Tree Seed Directory is published.

As artificial plantations become increasingly important as seed sources, there will be a need for carefully compiled national registers of plantations identified, wherever possible, as to original source, as well as managed seed stands, seed orchards and progeny trials, for worldwide circulation. Selection and support of tree improvement centres, each well situated to deal with one or more of the major species, may be the most effective way of ensuring the collection, analysis and dissemination of information and the co-ordination of effort which are essential if the maximum benefits are to be obtained from tree breeding.

For certain species, e.g. poplars, vegetative propagules can be of great value in promoting the distribution of clonal material of genetic characteristics identical with the parent tree. Recently there has been encouraging progress, for example in New Zealand and Tunisia, in the rooting of cuttings of Pinus radiata and other conifers. With improved techniques vegetative propagation is likely to play an increasing part in international exchange of forest gene resources. It should be realised, however, that the risk of spreading pests and diseases involved in the transfer of vegetative material, or of pollen, is considerably greater than in the case of seed. Phytosanitary regulations must be meticulously observed.

5. Integration

The need for integration of all the above phases is self-evident and several instances have already been given. The precise inter-relation of each phase must vary from species to species. The Panel considered that the subject should be treated specifically in the questionnaire to be developed for each of the top priority species.

V. FAO Action Programme for 1970–71

1. Choice of areas and species for expeditions

In selecting the areas and species for exploration and seed-collecting expeditions in 1970–71, the Panel acted on the assumption that the money available for this purpose under FAO's Regular Programme, if the Forestry and Forest Industries Division's present budgetary proposals are accepted, will be approximately $40,000 dollars. The whole of this sum should be available for direct expenditure in seed collection or in the support of the efforts of existing institutes and organisations. Additional finance would be necessary to pay for the extra staff and supporting services required at FAO Headquarters to implement the programme (see Appendix 1 B).

In considering the best means for allocating this money the Panel recognised that it was only a fraction of the sum thought necessary to fulfill recurrent needs of forest gene resources on a medium term (see above Section IV). Any unnecessary dispersal of the limited resources available must be avoided. During the biennium attention must be concentrated on exploration and collection, and the number of species to be dealt with must be ruthlessly limited.

The Panel re-iterated the conviction expressed by the FAO/IBP Technical Conference on Exploration, Utilization and Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources in 1967, that the utmost possible use should be made of existing institutes competent in the field of forest exploration and seed collection. The sub-contracting of expeditions to these institutes is likely to be the best method of using FAO funds. As a result there is little point in distinguishing between “major” and “minor” expeditions; the main criteria should be the importance and urgency of the species or provenance concerned and the relationship between the anticipated cost of an expedition and the international benefits to be derived.

In Appendix 5 the 1970–71 action programme is set in the context of past, current and proposed expeditions conducted by national and international organisations outside the FAO regular programme (Part A of Appendix 5), and of the medium term FAO programme proposed for 1972/73 and thereafter. The proposed 1970/71 action programme comprises the following:

  1. $15,000 to the CFI, Oxford, to strengthen and accelerate its programme of exploration and collection of Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis, Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis and Pinus oocarpa.

  2. $10,000 to INIF, Mexico, in collaboration with IUFRO, to initiate exploration and collection of Pseudotsuga spp. and Populus spp. in Mexico.

  3. $15,000 to FRI, Canberra, to continue support of exploration and collection of Eucalyptus and other species in Australia, and to enable an expedition to cover the full range of “E. decaisneana” in the East Indies, as a follow-up to the 1968 expedition.

The Panel thus singled out the Central American/Caribbean and the S.E.Asian/Australian regions as the two which demand the top priority. It considered two other pines (P.kesiya and P.merkusii) and two broad-leaved species (Tectona grandis and Gmelina arborea) occurring in S.E. Asia to be of very high priority also, but noted that these species may be collected by a seed centre which may be set up by Danish bilateral aid to cover the south-east Asia region. Should this project not come into operation, the existing FAO programme for 1970/71 should not be altered, but Pinus kesiya and P. merkusii should be given priority over P.strobus and P.pseudostrobus in the proposed 1972/73 Programme, while Tectona grandis and Gmelina arborea should be introduced into the programme for S.E.Asia as soon as possible.

The above programme concerns financial support from FAO's regular programme. The present importance and still greater potential of UNDP field projects executed by FAO is discussed below in Section V-6.

The list of collecting expeditions in Appendix 5 cannot be claimed to be complete. Other expeditions may be planned unilaterally by various interested countries. In order to avoid duplication and wasted effort, the Panel proposed that certain individuals should act as co-ordinators of expeditions for particular regions. The list of proposed co-ordinators is in Appendix 8. The Panel urged that all proposed expeditions should be reported both to FAO and to the appropriate co-ordinator so that other interested parties may be advised in advance. In some cases it may be possible for two countries or institutes to join forces, with increased efficiency and reduced cost to each.

The action programme for 1970/71, as for other biennia, will be dependent to some extent on seed production. Expeditions in poor years would be largely wasted apart from the experience and knowledge gained. Plans must be flexible in order to make the best use of good seed years of particular species. Co-operation of forest services within the indigenous range must be called upon to provide an early warning service.

2. Methodology of exploration and collection

For each of the species noted under section V-1 above, the Panel considered that the maximum information should be compiled by the secretariat, with the help of Panel members and other institutes and individuals having specialised knowledge. This should include information on the possibilities of recognising distinct seed zones, seed regions or seed sources within the range of the species. Full use should be made of meteorological records as an aid to recognition of ecological zones. For a number of species, probably most, detailed information, to enable a complete and immediate sampling of provenances, is lacking. Further exploration is needed first. On the other hand, time and financial matters will seldom allow the luxury of expeditions which merely explore, without any collection. In these conditions the best answer is often exploration and collection in stages. The first expedition would collect seed of a limited number of provenances on a coarse sampling grid, but at the same time would gather information, both by exploration and interrogation, on the occurrence of other provenances within the range. This would lay the foundation for a more thorough sampling of a wider range of provenances by a subsequent expedition. Species covered in 1970/71 will, in many cases, need to re-appear on the list of expeditions in subsequent biennia.

Information will also be needed on the seeding seasons within the different seed zones or regions, the periodicity of seed years (since collection should be done whenever possible in “above average” years) and the possibilities of obtaining advance notice on the anticipated quality of the seed crop.

Methods of seed collection for provenance research should follow the principles laid down in “Standardisation of Methods for Provenance Research and Testing” (Report of IUFRO section 22 Working Group) which is to be published shortly in Silvae Genetica. A summary of the main points is contained in Appendix 6. Some modifications may be required to suit the peculiar characteristics of the species. The Panel recommended that the information to be compiled for the priority species of Section V-1 should include recommended collection procedures for each, based on the IUFRO report.

During exploration and collection the opportunity should be taken to assess the risk of the stands in question being destroyed or suffering dysgenic and negative selection, and the possibilities of encouraging positive steps to preserve them. Conservation of the vegetation type rather than the species or provenance as such is the most promising line of attack.

The Panel considered that the compilation of information gathered from past experience of exploration and seed collection could be of great value to those conducting future expeditions, particularly in the same regions. The secretariat was asked to draw up a questionnaire for circulation and completion by those members of the Panel with direct experience in this field. It should include such details as the need for permits for collection, export and import of seed, plant quarantine regulations, local facilities for seed extraction, equipment used and full costs broken down under salaries, equipment, travel, freight charges, etc. It would constitute a useful expansion of the information called for in the IUFRO report.

3. Seed storage facilities

The Panel considered that ample space for cold storage of tree seed to be collected in the 1970/71 biennium should be available in several of the major national seed stores. Assessment of the comparative needs and facilities for seed storage at temperatures near - and below - freezing, in the latter part of next decade should be carried out in due course, but serious problems are not expected.

4. Procedures for evaluation

The principles were discussed under Section IV-3. The Panel recommended that the institutes responsible for the distribution of seed for provenance testing of top priority species to be collected in 1970/71 should include clear, detailed prescriptions for the method and layout recommended for the trials. Some guidance can be obtained from the earlier examples quoted already, i.e. Project 6 of the FAO Committee for Co-ordination of Mediterranean Forestry Research for Euc.camaldulensis and E. dalrympleana, CFI Oxford for Pinus merkusii and Cedrela, and Sweden for Picea abies. But final prescriptions for evaluation cannot be drawn up until it is known what seed is available, and how many countries are interested.

5. Choice of existing research institutes for international support in forest gene resources

The Panel noted with appreciation the praiseworthy past and current efforts of IUFRO section 22, with the aid of credit loans from research institutes in a number of countries, supplemented by the Danish government and the Carlsberg foundation; the Forest Research Institute, Canberra; the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Mexico; and the UK Overseas Aid Scheme at the Commonwealth Forestry Institute, Oxford. These organisations were selected for financial assistance from FAO's Regular Programme in the 1970/71 biennium, in order that they may expand and accelerate their already substantial contribution to international seed procurement.

The Panel welcomed the information that the Danish Government was considering the establishment of a seed centre, financed by Danish bilateral aid, to cover seed procurement in south-east Asia. Its activities would be closely integrated with the work of the Thai/Danish Teak Improvement Centre and the proposed Thai/Danish Pine Improvement Centre. The Panel considered that $50,000 per biennium would be required to finance the project. It understood that the initial reaction of Danish officials to this idea was favourable and hoped that this valuable project would come to fruition. Together with the U.K. aid scheme, it would be a splendid example of bilateral aid in the development of forest gene resources, which is still only a trickle in comparison with the need. The possibility of establishing contact with forestry research workers in Mainland China through Polish scientists was mentioned.

Additional research institutes are recommended for assistance with effect from the 1972/73 biennium. The full list of names is in Appendix 5 (B).

The Panel deliberately confined itself to exploration and seed collection for the 1970/71 biennium. The compilation, at a later date, of a complete list of research institutes concerned with work on forest gene resources, is highly desirable and could be done as part of the next revision of the FAO World Directory of Forest and Forest Products Research Institutions. Information should include activities not only in the field of exploration and seed collection but also in the more advanced fields of tree breeding. The kind and quantity of material, both seed and vegetative, which can be offered to other institutes should be enumerated. Information on the work done by institutes situated in the country of origin of the species will be of particular value. Research undertakings operated by universities, private forest industries, etc., should be included, in addition to state-operated research institutes.

6. The United Nations Development Programme

The Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme made a point of expressing his interest and support to the FAO/IBP Technical Conference on the Exploration, Utilisation and Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources when it met in September 1967.

The Panel noted the part which UNDP/FAO projects have already played in seed procurement, for example in Turkey, Tunisia, Costa Rica and China (Taiwan), among other places. With their wide distribution through developing countries, UNDP projects are excellently placed to assist in international seed procurement through collecting expeditions in the project countries. The scope needs to be strengthened and enlarged, to enable UNDP projects to conduct expeditions in neighbouring countries. The procurement of seed for their own afforestation purposes would simultaneously benefit other countries through international seed distribution. As an example the Malaysian project for pilot plantations of fast-growing industrial species, which relies largely on tropical conifers, is excellently placed and qualified to collaborate in collecting Pinus kesiya and P.merkusii seed in Indonesia, the Philippines and continental south-east Asia.

7. Publicity

The Panel noted with gratification that publication of the IBP handbook on plant genetic resources methodology was expected early in 1969. Forestry will be well represented. An article by Dr. Schreiner on the forestry aspects is to appear in a forthcoming number of Unasylva where the Panel hoped it would attract wide interest among foresters.

The FAO/IUFRO Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding, to be held in Washington in August 1969, will provide a convenient forum in which to publicise the problems involved in the exploration, utilisation and conservation of forest gene resources, and the proposed action programme drawn up by the Panel. Forestry journals should be kept informed of plans and progress.

More specific impetus may be given by the publication of a paper giving a consolidated account of the practical, administrative and costing aspects of seed collecting expeditions and of another giving an up-dated account of the types of seed-collecting equipment in use in different countries. These may be suitable for publication in Unasylva.

The Panel noted that insufficient publicity had been given in the past to the availability of seed of different provenances already collected. It recommended the periodic publication in Unasylva of up-dated lists showing the details of which provenances are available, in what quantity and at what cost. The full name and address of the person from whom seed is obtainable, and of the co-ordinator of any provenance trials to be carried out with the seed, should be included.

VI. Related activities

1. Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding

The Chairman informed members of the progress in preparations for this joint FAO/IUFRO Meeting, to be hosted by the US Government between 7 and 16 August 1969. It is expected that about 200 overseas participants will attend among a total of between 300 and 400. The theme of the meeting will be the practical advantages of tree breeding.

2. FAO Forest Tree Seed Directory

The revision of the 1961 FAO Forest Tree Seed Directory is scheduled to be written in 1970/71 and published in 1972/73. The Panel agreed that heads of forest services should be asked to indicate whether seed certification schemes are in operation in their countries and, if so, which of the listed seed suppliers conform to it. The Panel noted the advantage of distinguishing between “collectors” and “traders” (who purchase and re-sell), in the latter case the original source of the seed should be indicated.

3. Proposed manual on conduct of tree species trials.

The Panel noted FAO's proposed project for the writing of a manual on the conduct of tree species trials. Section 22 of IUFRO would be interested in the project and would probably be in a position to review a draft, either at its section meeting in Finland in 1970 or at the next IUFRO Congress in USA in 1971.

4. Possibilities of using the system of International Standardisation, Integration and Mechanization of Crop data recording, Processing and Retrieval for Forestry

The Panel was sympathetic to the project in principle and felt that forestry should be associated with it, but requested more information. The opinion was expressed that a number of regional systems might be simpler to operate than a single world-wide one. The Chairman undertook to request Professor Konzak to write a paper on the application of the system to forestry, for presentation at the FAO/IUFRO Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding.

5. IBP Handbook on Plant Gene Resources Methodology

The Panel noted that this was expected to be in print about March 1969. It considered that copies should be on sale at the FAO/IUFRO Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding in Washington in August 1969.

6. Membership of Panel. Time and place of next session

The Panel noted the advantages to be derived from an expanded representation. Additional members are needed with knowledge of South America, Asia, Eastern Europe and West Africa. It recognised, however, that financial limitations may well make this impossible and that the decision on expanded membership should be left to the Director-General of FAO, in the light of the money available.

The Panel expressed the opinion that its second session might be held appropriately on the occasion of the session of the Working Party on Forest Tree Improvement of FAO's North American Forestry Commission in Mexico in 1970, because of the obvious advantages of meeting in a country with an exceptionally rich heritage of forest gene resources. The cost would, however, be considerably higher than a meeting in Rome. Alternative possibilities would be on the occasions of the IUFRO section 22 meeting in Finland, in 1970, and of the IUFRO Congress in U.S.A. in March 1971.

The secretariat was requested to write to all Panel members before the end of 1969, to ascertain their proposed travel plans in 1970 and 1971, with a view to taking advantage of their presence at a convenient centre on other business in order to reduce travel expenditure.

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