FAO, in its role to catalyse, support and help network efforts of national institutions, universities, NGOs,
and International and Regional Research Centres, can serve as a facilitator, bringing together the work of scientists
who carry out studies on Meliaceae species in the neotropics. Considerable progress is likely to be achieved by
linking together researchers and institutions which are presently working on similar or related projects. This will
also avoid duplication of effort, accelerate work, and allow for projects with broader and more complete coverage.
It will favour increased understanding of the biology and genetics of mahogany (Swietenia) and cedar (Cedrela)
and of other Meliaceae species, as a basis for their conservation and improved sustainable use.
For the purpose of facilitating cooperation, mechanisms are needed which can help forge and maintain
the desired linkages. The creation of a Network for Collaboration in Mahogany Genetic Resources is suggested.
This Network would begin its action in the neotropics, and later broaden its area of action to other continents. It
is considered desirable that the Network initially focus on a limited number of species. It is suggested that the
Network initially work on species of the family Meliaceae, with special reference to Swietenia macrophylla and
The areas of work that are suggested based on information received in the course of the present study,
can be summarized as follows:
- Exploration and documentation of the genetic resources of S. macrophylla and C. odorata.
- Collection and exchange of seed for experimental purposes among collaborating countries.
- Establishment of internationally coordinated provenance and progeny trials.
- Promote studies on taxonomy and morphological variation over the range of natural distribution,
aimed at clarifying botanic identity and variation within and among species and populations, using
traditional methods as well as molecular markers.
- Promote studies on breeding systems, reproduction and regeneration of the two priority species - S.
macrophylla and C. odorata based on better understanding of reproductive biology including
flowering biology, phenology, pollination and pollinating agents, seed dispersion, among others.
- Promote studies on silviculture and management in pure and mixed plantations, and the use of
optimal genetic materials, developed through sound tree improvement.
- Promote collaborative studies on genetic diversity of S. macrophylla and C. odorata and its wise use
in genetic improvement programmes and in the conservation of genetic resources of the species
concerned, covering their entire range of distribution.
- Promote the continuation and intensification of studies on genetic resistance to Hypsipyla grandella
presently carried out by CATIE, fostering the use of methodologies developed also in other countries,
in support of, and complemetary to, on-going activities.
- Intensify regional efforts for the conservation in situ and ex situ of provenances and desirable
genotypes of the two identified priority species; promote collaboration between countries, institutions
and individuals in such work.