Table of Contents Next Page

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

Macon, Georgia, 10–12 March 1971


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 Programme 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 coordinate FAO's efforts to explore, utilize and conserve the gene resources of forest trees and, in particular, help prepare a detailed short-term programme and draft a long-term programme 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 Genetic Resources (September 1967) which underlined the urgent need to protect from further destruction the plant genetic resources of the world. This FAO/IBP Technical Conference resulted in the publication of IBP Handbook No. 11, Genetic Resources in Plants - their Exploration and Conservation, edited by O.H. Frankel and E. Bennet (Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford and Edinburgh 1970, ₤5), which contains eight chapters on forest gene resources.

The Director-General established the Panel in 1968. Each member serves for a period of four years. A list of current members of the Panel appears in Appendix 1. The Panel held its first session in Rome in October 1968 and its report was published by FAO in 1969 (FO:FGR/1/Rep.). At that time it summarized the principles and priorities to be observed in long-term and medium-term (1970–79) planning, drew up a list of species by regions, classified in 3 priority classes, and proposed an action programme for seed procurement in 1970–71. It also proposed a substantial increase in FAO's financial provision during the subsequent biennia of the decade and indicated the species and regions for which it should be used.

The second session of the Panel was held at the Southern Forest Fire Laboratory, Macon, Ga., U.S.A., through the courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service and of the Georgia Forest Research Council, who kindly provided the necessary facilities.

Members of the Panel attending were:

R.Z. Callaham (Chairman, U.S.A.)
R. Morandini (Vice-Chairman, Italy)
H. Barner (Denmark)
D.A.N. Cromer (Australia)
W.G. Dyson (East Africa)
C. Ehrenberg (Sweden)
A.F.A. Lamb (U.K.)

For full details see Appendix 1. R.L. Willan (FAO) acted as secretary.

The Agenda adopted by the Panel appears in Appendix 2.


A. General

1. To International Organizations

(1) The Panel recommended that the sum of $60 000, which it was hoped would be available under FAO's Regular Programme for seed procurement in the 1972–73 biennium, should be used as follows:

  1. $15 000 to the Commonwealth Forestry Institute (CFI), Oxford, for completion of the first phase of provenance sampling of Pinus caribaea and P. oocarpa and for initiation of exploration and seed collection of Pinus pseudostrobus and P. strobus var. chiapensis.

  2. $12 000 to the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales (INIF), Mexico, in continuation of and contingent upon, successful exploratory survey in 1970–71, for Mexican conifers and Populus (see below Recommendation (3)).

  3. $10 000 to the Forest Research Institute (FRI), Canberra, for further collections of the genus Eucalyptus throughout its natural range and other genera in Australia, and for an international programme of tree improvement and seed orchards in Pinus caribaea.

  4. $5 000 to the Working Group for Procurement of Seed for International Provenance Research of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), for conifers in western North America.

  5. $5 000 to suitable institutes in Brazil and Argentina, for seed collection of Araucaria angustifolia.

  6. $5 000 to suitable institutes in West Africa for exploration and collection of tropical hardwoods in that region.

  7. $3 000 to the Committee for Coordination of Mediterranean Forestry Research for continuation of provenance sampling of Mediterranean conifers, with particular reference to Pinus brutia and P. halepensis.

  8. $5 000 for dissemination of information on forest gene resources.

(2) The Panel noted that the above sum, which it was expected would be available in 1972–73, was considerably less than the 140 000 dollars per biennium which it had recommended, at its first session, as the minimum sum necessary to carry out the action programme proposed for the present decade. If this programme is to be completed as proposed, the shortfall for 1972–73 will need to be offset by increased allocations over the remaining biennia of the decade.

(3) The Panel recommended that FAO's Forest Resources Division should ascertain the views of the new administration in Mexico on continuing collaboration in international seed procurement and its ability and willingness to make available trained staff to carry out exploration and range-wide sampling of provenances of important species in Mexico. If a positive response is received, FAO should endeavour to increase the amount of money already offered to Mexico for this purpose during the current biennium.

(4) The Panel noted with gratification that several field projects under the United Nations Development Programme had contributed actively to international seed procurement during the last few years and recommended that this collaboration by individual projects should be continued and expanded.

(5) The Panel noted with great interest the new type of project recently adopted by the UNDP, the Global Research Project. In view of the essentially international nature of work on forest gene resources and the high component of research involved, the Panel expressed the hope that the UNDP establish a Global Research Project for the exploration, collection, evaluation, conservation and utilization of forest gene resources as soon as possible, and recommended that FAO's Forest Resources Division put forward specific proposals for this as a matter of urgency.

(6) The Panel recommended that the cooperation of FAO and of the Panel itself with other international organizations working in the fields of forest gene resources, seed procurement and seed certification should be intensified. Close collaboration should be maintained, in particular, with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in the production and extension of its volumes of Red Data books on the conservation of Angiosperms and Gymnosperms, and with Sections CT (Conservation Terrestrial) and UM (Use and Management)/Theme 1 Plant Gene Pools of the International Biological Programme (IBP). For seed handling and certification close collaboration should be maintained with the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

(7) The Panel noted that the full value of some excellent progress in forest gene resources was unrealized, becaused of inadequate dissemination of information. To rectify this, the Panel recommended that FAO's Forest Resources Division should publish periodically a forest gene resources newsletter, on the same lines as the Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter produced by FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division.

(8) The Panel noted that information had been received on the existence and results of provenance trials as a result of several recent questionnaires circulated by FAO and IUFRO. It recommended that this information should be coordinated, summarized and published as soon as possible.

(9) The Panel reiterated its previous recommendation that IUFRO should draft 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.

(10) The Panel noted that it was unlikely that FAO would be able to produce revised versions of the Forest Tree Seed Directory and of the World Directory of Forest and Forest Products Research Institutions. As an alternative, the Panel recommended that a simplified forest tree seed directory be produced, and that the useful examples of regional directories of forest research institutes produced by FAO's Latin American, Asia/Pacific and Near East Regional Offices should be expanded, extended to other regions, and regularly up-dated.

2. To Governments

(1) The Panel pointed out the urgency of conservation of forest gene resources and the fact that the main initiative for conservation must usually come from national governments. It recommended that each country should develop its own policy on conservation, which should include inter alia the conservation of forest gene resources.

(2) The Panel recommended that, as a first step, governments should identify and publish lists of areas already being conserved, as has recently been done by Sweden, U.S.A. and others. Governments should cooperate closely with IUCN and with IBP's Section CT in this respect.

(3) The Panel recommended that conservation of forest gene resources within their natural range should be carried out in situ whenever possible. It noted with gratification the recent action or proposals for conservation of natural areas of Araucaria excelsa in Norfolk Island and of Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis in the Bahamas, and recommended that other governments examine the possibilities of similar action. FAO Forestry Officers should prod FAO Regional Representatives into reminding Governments of the importance of this matter.

(4) The Panel recognized that in certain circumstances conservation in situ may be impossible. In such conditions, it recommended that early action be taken for the collection of seed and the establishment of plantations to conserve individual seed sources in a new home - “Plantations conservatoires de provenance”.

(5) The Panel recommended that countries should model their own national seed certification schemes on that of the OECD, even though varying conditions from country to country will often make complete standardization impossible. It reiterated its previous recommendations that governments remove any unnecessary restrictions on the movement of seed.

(6) The Panel noted with gratification that the Danish/FAO Forest Tree Seed Centre, which is financed from Danish bilateral funds, started operation in December 1969. It commended the valuable work being done on forest gene resources by the Commonwealth Forestry Institute, Oxford and by the Danish/FAO Forest Tree Seed Centre at Humlebaek, noted that this work was financed by the Governments of the U.K. and Denmark respectively, and expressed the hope that financing would be continued beyond the present accounting period on a long-term basis. It recommended that other donor countries should consider this type of bilateral assistance, which can be of immense benefit to many developing countries.

B. Technical and Operational

(1) The Panel noted the recent publication of several papers on the planning and methodology of exploration and collection and recommended that further papers on this subject be published, covering experiences in individual regions with species of similar characteristics.

(2) The Panel recommended that similar papers on the planning and methodology of conservation of forest gene resources be prepared by specialists and given wide circulation. Close collaboration must be maintained with IUCN and IBP.

(3) The Panel noted that efficient use of seed collected, often at considerable effort and expense, could only be assured if there was adequate knowledge of the physiology, storage and handling of seed. Knowledge is deficient in the case of some species and the Panel recommended that research institutes give more attention to tropical species, e.g. Pinus merkusii, Tectona grandis and Gmelina arborea.

(4) The Panel welcomed monographs on particular species, such as had been published by the Society of American Foresters and the Commonwealth Forestry Institute. It recommended that research institutes continue to summarize information in the form of monographs on individual species and give these monographs wide circulation.

(5) The Panel recommended that information on mechanized equipment for seed procurement be summarized and published at an early date. The proposed Inter-Divisional Project Group to be formed by IUFRO between Division 2 (Forest Plants and Forest Protection) and Division 3 (Forest Operations and Techniques) would be the body best fitted to carry out this work.


The Panel reviewed the progress made in implementing the Action Programme for 1970–71, which it had proposed at its first session, as well as other current activities in forest gene resources. Some additional information became available to the Panel during the IUFRO Congress at Gainesville, Florida (15–20 March 1971) and is incorporated here. It is, nevertheless, certain that the information is still incomplete. 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.


Under FAO's Regular Programme the importance of Tree Improvement, including Forest Gene Resources, has recently been recognized by the inclusion of a separate, new “sub-programme”, entitled Tree Improvement, in the programme of work for 1972–73. On the other hand, recent financial difficulties and the consequent “freezing” of vacant posts has forced the Afforestation Section, which handles both afforestation and tree improvement, to operate with only one professional officer for well over a year. Prospects for the early restoring of the section to its authorized establishment of two professionals are now good.

At its first session the Panel recommended that the total of $40 000, which it was estimated would be available for exploration and collection in 1970–71, should be allocated as follows: (a) Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Mexico $10 000; (b) Commonwealth Forestry Institute, Oxford $15 000; (c) Forest Research Institute, Canberra $15 000. Some deviations have been made from these proposals, largely because financial difficulties made it necessary to surrender a substantial proportion of the original $40 000 after the earlier allocations had already been made. Allocations actually made have comprised $15 000 to CFI Oxford for Central American pines, $10 000 to FRI Canberra (supplemented by $2 500 savings from the 1968–69 biennium) for Eucalyptusdecaisneana” and Australian mainland species and $5 000 to the Committee for Coordination of Mediterranean Forestry Research for Pinus brutia and P. halepensis.1

Present proposals of FAO's Forestry Department for 1972–73 include provision of $60 000 for forest gene resources, but final approval of the budget must await the next meeting of the FAO Conference in November 1971. This compares with $140 000 recommended by the Panel at its first session.

Dissemination of information about several provenance seed collections has been effected through publication in Unasylva Nos. 97/98 (1970) and Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter No. 25 (1971). Unasylva Nos. 97/98 consisted of the report of the 2nd World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding, a joint FAO/IUFRO meeting hosted by the Government of the U.S.A. in Washington, D.C. in August 1969. The documents of the Consultation were published in two volumes in 1970 and an appendix contained the “World Directory of Forest Geneticists and Tree Breeders” complied by H. Nienstaedt for the Tree Improvement Committee of the Society of American Foresters. Unasylva 90 contained a paper by E.J. Schreiner entitled “Forest Tree Breeding” which dealt largely with Forest Gene Resources.

In spite of these achievements, dissemination of information about forest gene resources has remained spasmodic. Action to bring about more rapid and regular promulgation is still needed.

Close touch had been maintained with the major institutes engaged in sustained programmes of exploration and seed collection, i.e. CFI, Oxford, FRI, Canberra and the Danish/FAO Forest Tree Seed Centre at Humlebaek. Very little information about proposed seed collecting expeditions has been received from other sources, but a private company interested in collecting provenances of Gmelina for testing in the Amazon region was put in touch with the Danish/FAO Forest Tree Seed Centre, which is responsible for coordinating efforts on this species.

A questionnaire on provenances in the tropics and sub-tropics was circulated in 1969. Replies were received from 55 countries. The information received has been presented to the second session of the Panel in several working papers, consisting of a general summary and a number of separate summaries for the more important varieties, species or genera. The questionnaire replies confirmed the species priorities proposed by the Panel at its first session (of. Report of First Session section V 2 p. 16).

A draft check-list of information headings and sub-heads needed for planning seed collection expeditions was presented to the Panel as a working paper for its 2nd session (of. Report of First Session section V 2 p. 17).

The revision of the FAO Forest Tree Seed Directory was postponed to 1972–73 due to lack of staff. The ad hoc Committee on Forestry, at its meeting in Rome in February 1971, expressed doubt as to the value of a full revision of the Directory in its old form in proportion to the heavy workload it would entail.

Through the UNDP field projects which it executes, FAO has been able to continue its support to seed procurement in specific areas. For example, the Reforestation Institute in Tunisia, with which a UNDP project has been cooperating for some years, continues to supply seed of a number of species, particularly to countries in the Mediterranean region. The project in Nicaragua has been able to assist the activities of the CFI Oxford in exploring and collecting seed of provenances of Central American pines. The project in the Dominican Republic has recently offered research quantities of Pinus occidentalis to other interested countries. The new research project in Brazil may be in a position to stimulate the collection and conservation of the gene resources of Araucaria angustifolia.

The UNDP approved the principle that, in certain circumstances, project field officers should visit neighbouring countries, outside the country in which the project operates, for the purpose of exploration and collection of gene resources. The Tree Improvement Officer and his counterpart in Malaysia paid several visits to Sumatra to investigate the natural stands of Pinus merkusii. The last of these visits was made in cooperation with staff of the Danish/FAO Forest Tree Seed Centre. Though the year was a poor one for seed collection, valuable information was obtained on some of the stands and on their relative accessibility. The UNDP has now established a Technical Assistance post in tree improvement in Indonesia, which is to be filled in the near future. This is for 3 years and the officer will give first priority to the exploration, collection and conservation of P. merkusii in Sumatra. He will work in close cooperation with the Danish/FAO Forest Tree Seed Centre which is responsible for overall coordination of international forest gene resources activities in S.E. Asia.

The UNDP has recently adopted the concept of “Global Research Projects” and at least one of these is already operational. The possibilities of formulating a Global Research Project for Forest Gene Resources is discussed in Section V - 4 below.

1 $ 5 000 has been allocated to INIF in Mexico to collect Pinus patula and P. oocarpa.


The Chairman of the Panel outlined the proposed new structure of IUFRO which was to be adopted by the 15th IUFRO Congress. The previous Section 22 becomes absorbed into the new Division 2 - Forest Plants and Forest Protection. An outline of the proposed sub-divisions of Division 2 is contained in Appendix 3.

The outstanding IUFRO contribution to forest gene resources has continued to be that of the Working Group for Procurement of Seed for International Provenance Research. The Panel paid a special tribute to Mr. Barner and his cooperators for their magnificent, sustained and successful efforts of the past 5 years. Mr. Barner reported the following progress:- (full details appear in his Circular Letter No. 8 of February 1971)

(1) Picea sitchensis. In 1968 seed was collected from 10 sources in Washington, 8 in Oregon and 2 in California, in 1970 from 9 sources in Alaska, 42 in British Columbia and 1 in Washington. In two instances seed from two adjacent sources has been merged in storage. Varying quantities of seed of the resulting 65 seed batches are still available from the Tree Improvement Station, 3050 Humlebaek, Denmark (total balance 77 kg in February 1971). In most cases seed was collected from 15–20 trees per site.

(2) Pseudotsuga menziesii. Experience has been summarized by Barner (1971 b). In 1970 seed was collected from a further 10 sources in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Arizona. This brings the total seed sources collected since 1966 to 177, covering the range from British Columbia to California, Arizona and New Mexico. Varying quantities of seed of 126 sources are still available (total balance 128 kg in February 1971).

(3) Pinus contorta. In 1970 a further 2 provenances were collected in Montana, bringing the total seed sources collected since 1967 to 146, covering the range from Alaska to California. Varying quantities of seed are available (total balance 25 kg in February 1971).

(4) Pinus lambertiana. 25 kg of seed was collected from 15 seed sources in Oregon and California during 1970.

Since the Working Group started its activities in 1966, a total of nearly 500 kg of seed has been collected from over 400 seed sources. Though the main interest has been in Europe, several developing countries, e.g. Greece, Iran, Chile and Peru, have also benefited.

With the virtual completion of the three major species of Douglas fir (excluding the range in Mexico), contorta pine and Sitka spruce, the Working Group considers that the first phase of its operation is complete. Future activities will depend on the response to the questionnaire circulated in February 1971; only if there is interest and financial support from an adequate number of countries can continued provenance seed collecting expeditions be economically viable. In connection with a small Danish expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1971, there is a possibility of procuring samples of Pinus contorta and Picea engelmannii. Reports from California show promise of good flowering of Douglas fir in the coastal area. Samples from that region have been requested for from California. Collection of Abies spp. may be the next priority; seed storage difficulties with this genus will mean careful advance planning for early distribution and sowing in the interested countries.

The Working Group on International Provenance Trials has conducted a world-wide survey of provenance trials. Information received in response to the questionnaire on this subject has been summarized, but not yet published.

Publication of the revised edition of the IUFRO report “Standardization of Methods for Provenance Research and Testing” has been delayed; it is expected to appear in Silva Genetica.


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has recently published Volume 5 - Angiospermae, in its Red Data Book series. This was compiled by Dr. R. Melville of Kew, who is at present engaged in compiling a similar volume on Gymnospermae. It consists of single sheet monographs on endangered or rare species and is in looseleaf format, so that additional sheets may be inserted as necessary. A list of tree species included in Volume 5 appears in Appendix 7.

The Chairman of the Panel met Dr. Melville in September 1970 and discussed problems of mutual interest. It was agreed that the Panel should cooperate in suggesting additional species for inclusion in Volume 5 and in suggesting species or provenances for inclusion in the volume on Gymnosperms. Cooperation in conserving rare species in Taiwan has already occurred.


The International Biological Programme (IBP) of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) published in 1970 its Handbook No. 11 entitled Genetic Resources in Plants - their exploration and conservation, edited by O.H. Frankel and E. Bennett (Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford and Edinburgh, ₤5). This presents chapters on plant genetic resources grouped under 6 sections - 1 Biological Background, 2 Tactics of Exploration and Collection, 3 Examples of Exploration, 4 Evaluation and Utilization, 5 Documentation, Records and Retrieval, 6 Conservation. The chapters are based on papers presented to the FAO/IBP Technical Conference on the Exploration, Utilization and Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources (Rome 1967); eight of them are written by foresters and deal with forest gene resources. IBP's section CT (Conservation of Terrestrial Communities) is active in the field of conservation. Its purpose has been defined as “the establishment of the necessary scientific basis for a comprehensive world programme and safeguarding of areas of biological or physiographical importance for future scientists”. There is a comprehensive account of its work in IBP Handbook No. 5 Handbook to the Conservation Section of the International Biological Programme by E.M. Nicholson. Important current work is the IBP/CT Survey of Areas already being conserved or considered worthy of conservation. A comprehensive account of this work is contained in IBP Handbook No. 4 Guide to the Check sheet for IBP Areas by J.F. Peterken.

Instituto Forestal Latino-Americano de Investigación y Capacitación (IFLA)

This Institute is situated at Mérida in Venezuela. It still maintains a general interest in seed procurement, but financial and staffing difficulties have prevented any active steps being taken to set up a seed centre there.

Instituto Interamericano de Ciencias Agrícolas (IICA)

This is a regional institute under the Organization of American States. Its Tropical Training and Research Centre at Turrialba, Costa Rica, contains the Latin American Forest Seed Bank which has provided seed of exotic and indigenous species on an exchange or cost basis over the past four years. Under the present organization, however, it does not have the facilities to conduct range-wide provenance exploration and seed collection.


The major seed-collecting expedition conducted overseas by the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Canberra during 1969 ended tragically in the deaths of Mr. E. Larsen of the FRI Canberra and Dr. Priantjo of the FRI Bogor, Indonesia, killed in a road accident whilst engaged in collecting seed of Eucalyptus deglupta in Sulawesi. The death of Egon Larsen, who had attended the first session of the Panel as representative of the FRI, was a severe loss to work in forest gene resources, both in Australia and to the world. This expedition collected 44 kg of seed from 24 sources of Pinus merkusii and P. kesiya in the Philippines, as well as some seed of Eucalyptus deglupta in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Collection of Eucalyptus seed has continued steadily. In 1970 40 kg of seed was collected in Western Australia. High altitude eucalypts in Tasmania were collected early in 1971 and further collections in Central Australia and the Kimborley area of northern Western Australia are planned next. It is hoped to conduct another expedition to Timor later in the year for high altitude provenances of Eucalyptus alba and Eucalyptus decaisneana”.

Seed collection has been assisted by FAO's financial contributions which are used to cover cost of air fares and subsistence allowance, while salaries are paid from Australian Government funds. It is anticipated that all the species recognized as “Priority 1” by the Panel at its first session will have been collected by the end of 1971.

Special provenance samples of seed are supplied free of charge. Other research samples are supplied on payment. Research quantities of seed of about 400 species are held in stock.


Considerable interest has been aroused in forest gene resources in Canada recently (Roche 1970) and a symposium on the Conservation of Forest Gene Resources in Canada has been arranged by the Tree-breeding Council of Canada for August 1971. The Forest Tree Seed Bureau at Petawawa can supply research quantities of seed free of charge.

It is thought that conservation in situ is likely to be a more effective method of conserving gene resources in Canada than collection and establishment of conservatory plantations. The Conservation of Terrestrial Communities (CTC) section of IBP has a well developed programme in Canada, and 35 separate areas have been set aside for conservation in the north-western forests, mainly in British Columbia, but no particular attention was paid to genetic criteria in selecting these areas. Certain provenances of some species are disappearing fast and may be considered as “endangered”, e.g. Populus deltoides in Canada, yellow birch in Ontario, most northerly populations of Douglas fir, low altitude races of Engelmann spruce and outlying populations of several species.


The Danish/FAO Forest Tree Seed Centre, financed entirely by Danish bilateral aid, became operational in December 1969. The first year was spent in reconnaissance visits to Indonesia, Thailand and India and the making of local contacts (Keiding 1970). Considerable problems were encountered in collecting seed of Pinus merkusii in Sumatra, of which the inaccessibility of some of the stands, the absence of any definite seeding season and the poor viability of what seed was collected were the chief. A further expedition is planned for July–September 1972.

In Thailand close cooperation is maintained with the Thai/Danish Teak and Pine Improvement Centres. Small quantities of seed of P. kesiya and P. merkusii of several provenances were collected in 1970. Viability of P. merkusii appears to be better in Thailand than in Sumatra. Thailand provenances of teak for international provenance trials are being collected in 1971.

In early 1971 the main expedition was carried out in close cooperation with the Indian Forest Service for the purpose of collecting teak seed. Thanks to the excellent support from I.F.S. and the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, the seed collection team secured 30 samples at an average of 16 kg seed per sample in the states Mysore, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra. The samples represent the five major types of teak forests ranging from very dry (less than 890 mm) to very moist (more than 2540 mm). A circular letter has been sent to a number of countries in which teak features as an important exotic, to collect information on locally adapted seed stands which might constitute “land races” and could be included with the indigenous seed sources in an international provenance trial. Response to the circular letter in the matter of seed samples has been a little slow, but the Seed Centre has so far received two samples from Côte d'Ivoire and six from Thailand (March 1971).

Possibilities for collection of Gmelina seed were looked into. The period for collection is May–June, but it is clear that collection of this species is far more time consuming than for teak, the trees of Gmelina being represented by a very small percentage (less than 1%) in the areas visited by the teak collection team. A few samples were obtained by the courtesy of the I.F.S.

The seed centre attaches great importance to the need for research on problems of seed handling and storage, in order to obtain the highest possible plant percent from valuable provenance seed collections. It is hoped to cooperate with Swedish workers in this field, possibly with the help of SIDA.


The “Station pour l'Amélioration des Arbres Forestiers” is to take an active part in the exploitation and collection of Pinus brutia seed from Turkey (see below under “Mediterranean”).

The “Centre Technique Forestier Tropical” continues its activities under bilateral aid schemes in several French-speaking countries (Cameroon, Congo(Brazzaville), Ivory Coast, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Upper Volta and Senegal). The main emphasis is laid on growth studies, survey and testing of provenances, plus tree selection, studies on vegetative reproduction, clonal archives and seed orchards, controlled pollination, progeny tests and storage of seed.

In Gabon 13 provenances of Aucoumea are being tested, in Congo 16 provenances of Terminalia superba and in Ivory Coast provenances of Terminalia from Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Dahomey, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. Seed from different provenances has been distributed to several countries. Tectona grandis provenances were collected in Asia in 1969 on an expedition financed by “Fonds d'Aide et de Coopération Français”. Sixteen provenances of Asian and African origin are now being tested in Ivory Coast, 14 in Cameroon, 10 in Upper Volta and 6 in Senegal. From Africa introduced provenances of teak have been distributed to several countries and research institutes. Provenances of Anacardium occidentalis are being tested in Upper Volta. Provenance trials of exotic hardwoods, Eucalyptus spp., Cedrela odorata and to some extent Populus spp., have been established in all states where the CTFT is working. Active help has been received from Australian forestry organizations. Thanks to a project sponsored by “Fonds d'Aide et de Coopération Français” various provenances of Mexican and Central American pines were procured in 1969. In Congo provenance trials have been established for Pinus caribaea (10 provenances) and for Pinus oocarpa (6 provenances). These two species are also under observation in Ivory Coast and Gabon.

Seed of Terminalia superba has been sent to FRI, Australia, from Dahomey and Senegal. Seed of other African species has also been distributed (e.g. Khaya ivorensis, Terminalia ivorensis.).

Plus trees have, as a rule, been selected among the commercially important species, in particular among Triplochiton scleroxylon (in Ivory Coast and Cameroon), Eucalyptus tereticornis, Pinus caribaea (Congo) and Pinus kesiya (Congo and Madagascar).

Seed orchards and clonal archives have been established, among others, of Eucalyptusdecaisneana”, Eucalyptus tereticornis, Pinus caribaea (Congo) and Pinus kesiya (Congo and Madagascar). Agathis lanceolata seed orchards are also being established, in New Caledonia.

As a rule none of these species are in danger of extinction in the countries and regions mentioned above, but because of exploitation and negative selection the gene pool is in danger of being severely reduced.


The Istitute Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura in Florence coordinates work on Forest gene resources on behalf of the FAO Committee for Coordination of Mediterranean Forestry Research. Between 80 and 90 seed stands of coniferous species have already been selected in a number of countries, for seed collection to common standards.

A systematic collection is being made of about 40 provenances of Pinus brutia and P. halepensis throughout the Mediterranean. Some provenances have already been collected and seed is stored in the research institute in Florence. A detailed reconnaissance of P. brutia stands in Turkey is to be done in the autumn of 1971, in close cooperation with the Turkish Forest Service, with a view to seed collection in spring 1972.1 One very fine stand of P. brutia has been located in southern Crete and has been set aside by the Greek Government for conservation.

Provenance seed collections of Abies cephalonica have been made in Greece. Conservation of Cupressus dupreziana in North Africa is of considerable urgency. Only 83 trees have been located and international support for conservation is needed.

1 This reconnaissance was undertaken by Mr. Arbez in September/October 1971.


In 1970 the Mexican Government approved a project for Research on the Selection of Improved Seed for Reforestation and Tree Improvement (Forestry Germplasm Bank), to be executed by the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales (INIF), and authorized the expenditure on it of the equivalent of over $US 110 000 in 1970, and of over $530 000 over a 5 year period. The primary purpose of the project is to supply high quality seed for Mexico's own reforestation programme, but some attention will also be paid to tree breeding research and conservation of endangered germplasm. Collection of seed for exchange or sale to other countries is included as a subsidiary objective of the project. At the time of its second session, the Panel had no information as to the extent of continuing support for the project which was to be expected from the new administration in Mexico, which took office at the beginning of 1971.

The staffing situation became more difficult in 1970, since one of the two officers at the INIF who were fully trained in tree improvement resigned during the course of the year.

Assistance in seed procurement has been given to several expeditions or visitors from other countries since the Panel's last meeting. These included expeditions from East Africa/Malawi and South Africa, and visitors from Sudan, India and Argentina.

In response to a questionnaire from FAO, 44 provenances of 10 species of Mexican conifers were identified. Conservation aspects are being studied as part of the activities coordinated by the Tree Improvement Working Group of the North American Forestry Commission. Endangered species are Pinus strobus var. chiapensis, P. maximartinezii, P. rzedowsky2, Picea mexicana, P. chihuahuana, Pseudotsuga spp. and Podocarpus reikii. Conservation by collecting seed and establishment in plantations is considered more effective than attempts to conserve in situ. Seed has already been collected of the first four species and of Pseudotsuga and collections of Picea chihuahuana and Podocarpus reikii are planned.

2 See Appendix 11


A new centre for Tree Improvement has recently become operational and is based at Ibadan. It is supported by staff and financial assistance from the U.K. It will last initially for 3 years and will, when fully staffed, have a number of physiologists, tree breeders and horticulturists in the team. Initially, research will be concentrated on the flowering and seeding habits of tropical hardwoods, particularly Triplochiton.

Norway/Denmark/East Africa/Malawi

A joint expedition, carried out by forest officers from the East African Agriculture and Forestry Research Organization (EAAFRO), Tanzania and Malawi and financed by Norwegian and Danish bilateral aid, with the cooperation of the Mexican Forest Service, collected seed of a number of Mexican conifers in 1968/69.

Over a period of 9 months, about 300 kg of seed was collected of over 20 species. A considerable proportion of the seed was made available to other countries on an exchange basis. Some seed of Abies religiosa is still available, on application to EAAFRO (see appendix 1 for address), other species have already been distributed in full. For fuller accounts see Mortenson 1969 and Olesen 1970.

South Africa

South Africa carried out a seed collecting expedition in Mexico, with the cooperation of the Mexican Forest Service, in 1969.


Sweden has carried out expeditions to both Poland and Czechoslovakia since the 1st session of the Panel in order to survey, with the cooperation of the forest services of those countries, seed stands of Picea abies which could be of greatest potential value for supplying seed to Scandinavia. Extreme caution must, however, be taken when operating in countries with a long forestry history, in order not to mistake stands established long ago from exotic seed for genuine native ones.

Within Sweden a questionnaire was circulated to state and private forestry bodies, seeking information on virgin stands of Pinus silvestris, Picea abies, Betula spp., Fagus silvatica, Quercus spp. and Alnus spp. As a result of the answers received, a list could be made of blocks (mostly national parks and botanical reserves, each of an area of max. 3 000 ha in the north, max. 200 ha in the south) among which some will be selected as local gene pools and conserved in situ with the present variation retained intact as far as possible. The permanent reservation of the selected blocks will be proposed to the government as has been done with the numerous provenance and progeny trials throughout the country.


An increased grant from the Ministry of Overseas Development, plus FAO's grant, has enabled the Central American Pine Provenance Research Project to intensify its activities. During the first year of operation over 40 kg of pine seed was collected in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This comprised 10 provenances of Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis, 15 provenances of P. oocarpa, 1 of P. pseudostrobus and 2 of P. tenuifolia. During the second year the programme has been expanded to include 3 seed collecting teams operating simultaneously, each led by a qualified professional officer.

One hundred plus trees have been selected and marked in native stands of P. caribaea in British Honduras. Seed from some of these trees has already been distributed to Queensland, Fiji, Puerto Rico and Surinam and distribution will be made to interested countries each year, within the limits imposed by the seed crop of individual trees.

A proposal has been made to the Government of the Bahamas for the reservation of approximately 800 ha of forest of Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis on each of the main islands. Government's decision on this awaits the report of the land usage survey team.

In addition to seed procurement aspects, the unit based at Oxford provides advice on the design and evaluation of species and provenance trials. A comprehensive set of recommended prescriptions for international provenance trials of Pinus kesiya collected in the Philippines (see above under “Australia”) was prepared (Burley and Turnbull 1970). Earlier international provenance trials of Cedrela in Africa are currently being evaluated to a common standard.

A new project for Tree Improvement in Nigeria, supported by bilateral aid from the U.K., has recently started (see above, “Nigeria”).


The new forest tree seed centre or seed bank, which is to be established by the U.S. Forest Service to supply seed of indigenous species of the U.S.A. to overseas countries, is expected to be operational before the end of 1971. It will be located at the Eastern Tree Seed Laboratory at Macon, Georgia, where it will be able to use the seed testing and storage facilities of the laboratory. 1

Research quantities of seed will be supplied on payment at fixed rates, up to a maximum of 10 000 seeds; larger quantities should be obtained from commercial suppliers. Initial efforts will be concentrated on the southern pines, which account for about 70% of all overseas seed requests. It is expected that seed of 10–12 “standard” provenances of Pinus taeda and about 8 of P. elliottii will be kept permanently in stock. Seed requested from other specified sources will be supplied by special collection at cost price. Other species for which the demand has increased in recent years are Populus trichocarpa, P. fremontii and Cupressus arizonica.

American foresters have taken part in IUFRO's seed collection activities of conifers in western N. America (see above, “IUFRO”).

There is increasing public interest in the need for measures to conserve the environment. 3 000 areas have already been set aside for national parks, botanical reserves, wilderness areas, etc. and others have been proposed. A list of “Rare Conifers of the United States” was compiled in 1969 by Dr. Elbert Little Jr. It contains 32 species, most of which are rare rather than endangered.

1 The Seed Centre became operational mid 1971.


The Panel reviewed the species of which the gene resources need exploration, utilization and conservation. The original list of species, in three priority classes, which was compiled by the Panel at its first session, appeared as Appendix 4 (p. 28) of the Report of that session.

A new list, revised and updated in accordance with recent progress and information, appears as Appendix 4 of the present Report. The same classification is used, viz. 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 confirmed the view, expressed at its first session, that the most effective means of spending the limited international funds at its disposal was still through supporting the efforts of institutes working actively and competently in the phases of exploration and collection. At the national level, however, action for conservation may be of paramount importance in some areas. The Panel recognized that both problems and the resources available to solve them vary widely from one country to another; any attempt to generalize would be unsound.

1. Exploration and Collection

An action programme for exploration and collection up to 1979, based on the original programme in the Report of the 1st session, but revised in accordance with current progress and prospects, is presented in Appendix 5. The Panel noted that any shortfall in funds available during the first part of the decade must affect the later programme. For example, a shortfall in 1972–73 necessitates a corresponding increase in the allocations in subsequent biennia if the action programme for the decade is to be fulfilled.

2. Conservation

The Panel noted the advantages of cooperating closely with IUCN in the valuable work which that organization is carrying out in the production of the series of Red Data Books on endangered species. The Secretariat was asked to send to the IUCN a list of proposed additional species for Red Data Book Volume 5 (Angiosperms) and a list of species recommended for inclusion in the volume now being compiled on Gymnosperms. At the same time, the names of one or more authorities on each species, who might collaborate with IUCN in writing the species monograph, should be submitted. Pinus morrisonicola and P. armandii in Taiwan and Picea chihuahuana and P. mexicana in Mexico were cited as species about which concern has recently been expressed. They merit inclusion in the Gymnosperm volume. A list of endangered species is presented in Appendix 6.

The Panel commended the initiative of the Tree Improvement Working Group of the NAFC in preparing lists of rare and endangered species in North America and proposed that a copy of these lists be sent to IUCN. The new IUFRO Working Party on Dendrology should be asked to collaborate with IUCN and the Panel in suggesting species names and in compiling or reviewing species monographs.

The classification and symbols for various classes of endangered or rare species used by IUCN should be adopted as standard practice by all persons working in the conservation of forest gene resources. The category of species which are endangered in part of their range only is particularly important in the case of some forest species. The loss of an outstandingly good provenance or gene pool of a valuable commercial species may be more serious than the loss of an entire species which is of only botanical interest.

In the majority of cases, conservation must depend on each national government. As a first step to examining needs and progress, the Panel considered that the publication of information on what areas have already been effectively conserved in each country would be of great value, both at the national and international level. Useful examples of such accounts have been made in Sweden. Countries should cooperate closely with the international check sheet survey being carried out by IBP. The best method of conservation must depend on circumstances. In certain areas, where there are very large areas and pressure on the land is still light, conservation in situ offers the best solution. But areas must be selected with full consideration for genecological needs, and early action must be taken both for legislative protection and to inform public opinion. Countries with large areas of northern coniferous forest, such as Canada and Scandinavia, offer good opportunities for this type of approach.

At the other extreme lie small populations in areas of intense industrial, mining or agricultural development. Permanent conservation in situ in such cases is impossible. The only course is to make immediate collections of propagating material covering as much as possible of the genetic variation and to establish plantations for conservation of the gene pool in a new home.

3. Evaluation

The Panel noted that evaluation can and should be done at several levels:(a) The level of the species (species testing); (b) The level of the population (provenance testing); (c) The level of the individual (progeny testing, clone trials).

At the species level, the Panel urged FAO to publish as soon as possible a handbook on the Planning and Conduct of Tree Species Trials. The existing draft “Guide to Tree Species Trials in Tropical America” is an excellent basis for the handbook. It should be revised in the light of comments received from specialists to whom the draft has been or will be circulated, and issued as soon as possible.

At the provenance level, the Panel noted that there had been some delay in the publication of the revised version of IUFRO's report on “Standardization of Methods for Provenance Research and Testing”.

A considerable body of additional information has recently been collected on the existence, distribution and results of provenance trials in a number of countries, as a result of questionnaires circulated by the IUFRO Working Groups on Coordination of International Provenance Research and Breeding Tropical and Sub-tropical species and by FAO. Coordinated summaries of this information should be published and given wide circulation as soon as possible.

At the progeny level, the Panel noted that considerable progress had been made in defining international standards for progeny testing for certification purposes, both by IUFRO's Working Group on quantitative Genetics (Stern 1970) and by OECD (Barner 1970). In the USA state-wide standards for progeny testing are already operational in some states (e.g. Georgia, South Carolina).

4. Utilization

The Panel reaffirmed its conviction that locally adapted plantations or “land-races” would become increasingly important as seed sources. In this connection the rapid establishment and management of locally adapted seed production areas of exotic species may be of great value for certain species in those developing countries which do not have the research resources needed to carry out elaborate evaluation procedures. The Panel therefore reiterated the hope expressed at its first session that IUFRO, through one of its Working Groups, give priority to drawing up simple guidelines to the techniques most suitable for the rapid utilization of genetic variation. The use of these techniques need not preclude a more detailed subsequent evaluation in appropriate cases.

Utilization of gene resources for further improvement through individual selection and recombination of superior genes is also increasing rapidly. Tree improvement programmes of this type are a commonplace in temperate zones and offer exciting possibilities for international cooperation in the tropics also, for species of widespread potential importance such as Pinus caribaea (Nikles 1971).

The Panel noted that the forest tree seed certification scheme proposed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was not yet operational, but that six countries may be expected to join the scheme officially, and to put its regulations into operation in the latter part of 1971. Countries wishing to join must pay an annual subscription and conform to the scheme's standards of international seed certification. The Panel considered that countries unable or unwilling to join the scheme should, nevertheless, make use of it as a model on which to base their own national seed certification schemes.


1. Exploration and Collection 1970–71

The Panel noted that financial stringency had made it impossible for allocations in the 1970–71 biennium to be made exactly as it had recommended at its first session. In particular, it regretted that more effective international action had not been possible in the important forest gene resources of Mexico. The Secretariat was asked to ascertain the willingness of the new Mexican administration to continue Government support for the Proyecto de Banco de Germoplasma Forestal, initiated by the previous administration, as well as the current availability at INIF of the trained staff needed to carry out exploration and seed collection, in accordance with a planned programme designed to sample as much as possible of the variation of the most important species. The Panel noted that the techniques appropriate for exploration survey and provenance sampling for the collection of relatively small quantities of seed from a wide range of different sources would differ considerably from those used for bulk seed collections for reforestation within Mexico, the primary purpose of the Germplasm Bank. If there are assured prospects for the effective use of an additional allocation, FAO should make every effort to find sufficient savings within its budget to enable it to make a significant increase on the sum of $2 000 already offered for forest gene resources in Mexico during the current biennium.

2. Exploration and Collection 1972–73

In selecting the areas and species for FAO-supported exploration and seed-collecting expeditions in 1972–73, the Panel acted on the assumption that the money available for forest gene resources under FAO's Regular Programme will be approximately $60 000, the sum presently included in the Forestry Department's proposed budget for the biennium.

The Panel noted that this represented a 50% increase over the sum originally included in the approved budget for 1970–71, but was still less than half the amount of $140 000 which the Panel had recommended at its first session for expenditure in 1972–73 and in each of the subsequent biennia of the present decade. The shortfall will need to be made up by increased allocations in subsequent biennia if the action programme for the decade is to be fulfilled.

In choosing the areas and species for which these limited funds should be spent, the Panel reaffirmed its policy of supporting existing institutes having an interest in forest gene resources, with priority for those which had already demonstrated their activity and competence in this field, and of concentrating effort on relatively few of the most important species.

In view of the importance of rapid and widespread dissemination of information about current progress in gene resources and the failure to achieve this in the past (see below section V-3), the Panel recommended that $5 000 be set aside for publicity including the periodic publication of a newsletter on forest gene resources. The balance of $55 000 should be allocated as follows:

  1. $15 000 to the CFI, Oxford, for completion of the first phase of provenance sampling of Pinus caribaea and P. oocarpa and for initiation of exploration and seed collection of P. pseudostrobus and P. strobus var. chiapensis.

  2. $12 000 to INIF Mexico, in continuation of and contingent upon, successful exploratory survey in 1970–71, for Mexican conifers and Populus (see above, V. 1).

  3. $10 000 to FRI Canberra for further collections of the genus Eucalyptus throughout its natural range and of other genera in Australia, and for an international programme of tree improvement and seed orchards in Pinus caribaea.

  4. $5 000 to IUFRO Working Group for Procurement of Seed for International Provenance Research, for conifers in western North America.

  5. $5 000 to suitable institutes in Brazil and Argentina for seed collection of Araucaria angustifolia.

  6. $5 000 to suitable institutes in West Africa for exploration and collection of tropical hardwoods in that region.

  7. $3 000 to the Committee for Coordination of Mediterranean Forestry Research for continuation of provenance sampling of Mediterranean conifers, with particular reference to P. brutia and P. halepensis.

Appendix 5 shows the above proposed action programme for 1972–73 in the context of past, current and proposed expeditions financed by national and bilateral, as well as international sources. The programme is confined to financial support from FAO's regular programme. The possibilities of support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) were considered separately (see below Section V. 4).

The Panel noted with gratification that FAO had recognized the importance of forest gene resources and other aspects of tree improvement by formulating a separate sub-programme for tree improvement in the Forestry Department's programme of work for 1972–73, and expressed the hope that adequate staff would be allocated to carry out this sub-programme efficiently. In contrast to the extra staff recommended by the Panel at its first session (Report pp. 15, 24), the unit responsible for both afforestation and tree improvement had been reduced to 50% of professional establishment for the greater part of the period between the first and second sessions, as a result of financial difficulties. The staff situation should improve shortly with the filling of the outstanding vacancy and the temporary employment of an additional professional under the associate expert scheme, but the Panel considered that, in the long run, the efficient servicing of FAO's sub-programme of tree improvement and forest gene resources requires the full-time services of an experienced specialist, preferably a tree-breeder.

3. Dissemination of Information

The Panel noted that the value of excellent work in forest gene resources had in the past been reduced, because information on what had been done and on what was planned did not reach the right people at the right time. At the same time, there was inadequate information on current developments in the methodology of exploration, collection, conservation and utilization of forest gene resources and a lack of an “early warning system” on recent or coming publications in this field (several Panel members were unaware of the publication of the major contribution of Frankel and Bennett 1970 - IBP Handbook No. 11). The note on Provenance Seed Collections which appeared in Unasylva Nos. 97/98 was a step forward, but provision is needed for a more regular and assured vehicle for disseminating forest gene resources news, particularly since the future of Unasylva in its present form is in doubt.

The Panel paid tribute to a number of important publications which had appeared in recent years, notably the series of monographs produced by the CFI Oxford (of which the latest, on Terminalia ivorensis, has just been printed), the new species leaflets on eucalypts (of which 24 have been produced by the FRI Canberra in the past six months) which are to be incorporated in the next edition of The Natural Occurrence of the Eucalyptus, the series of genetic monographs being published by the Society of American Foresters, and the IBP handbook Genetic Resources in Plants - their exploration and conservation already mentioned.

The appearance of such permanent reference works as these in no way affects the need for early and widespread dissemination of information on current developments in forest gene resources. Some of this may be of transient but, if reaching the right people in good time, of immense value. The Panel noted the combination of modest format and high technical interest which characterized the Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter produced by FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division, and requested the Forestry Department to produce a similar periodical newsletter for forest gene resources. It considered that the need for efficient dissemination of information was so essential to the success of the action programme that funds should be reserved from the programme for this purpose in case publication cannot be included in the normal Departmental publications programme.

Material for inclusion in the forest gene resources newsletter should comprise:

  1. Up-to-date news items on

    1. Recent and planned expeditions for exploration and seed collection.

    2. Provenance seed collections available for distribution.

    3. International and national provenance trials proposed or established.

    4. Provenance trial results - interim brief summaries.

    5. Recent or planned publications on forest gene resources or related fields.

    6. Meetings, training centres, seminars, etc., held or planned in tree improvement, forest genetics and forest gene resources.

  2. Longer papers by specialists on specific subjects, such as

    1. The methodology of exploration and collection, including planning, conduct and costs.

    2. The methodology of conservation.

    3. The methodology of provenance testing.

    4. Equipment for seed collection and seed handling.

    5. Summarized information on important species, including range of natural distribution and genetic variation, location and results of existing provenance trials, current demand for further provenance sampling, evolution of locally adapted potential “Land-races”.

For such papers early circulation is more important than completeness. As interim statements, it is to be hoped that they would attract additions and amendments from a variety of correspondents, leading to the eventual publication of a revised, authoritative version in a recognized forestry journal.

4. Additional Sources of Finance

(a) UNDP

The panel noted with great interest the new type of project recently adopted by the UNDP, the Global Research Project. It discussed the details of a draft proposal for a project of this type in forest gene resources and suggested some modifications.

The new concept of UNDP global research projects is tailor-made for the programme of forest gene resources development. The fact that counterpart staff is not required would remove a limitation on carrying out in one developing country provenance sampling, taxonomic research, etc., which will, initially at least, be of more direct benefit to other developing countries overseas. The fact that several institutes are already operating actively in this field and have acquired experienced staff and the necessary administrative organization simplifies the procedure for channelling UNDP funds for the best use.

A series of contracts made directly between UNDP and individual institutes, similar to that between UNDP and CIMMYT (The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) in Project Global l would be appropriate.

The Panel pointed out the essentially international nature of work on forest gene resources and the high component of research involved. It therefore expressed the hope that the UNDP would establish a Global Research Project in Forest Gene Resources as soon as possible and requested the FAO Secretariat to put forward proposals officially as a matter of urgency.

The Panel's opinion was endorsed during the Symposium on Selection and Breeding to improve some Tropical Conifers, which took place as part of the 15th IUFRO Congress at Gainesville, Florida, from 15 to 20 March 1971. The following resolution, proposed by the Symposium and by Section 22, was approved at the final plenary session of the Congress:

“Whereas the concept of Global Research Projects, recently adopted by the United Nations Development Programme, appears particularly well suited to forest gene resources, now therefore be it resolved that the delegates of the Congress express the hope that the United Nations Development Programme will establish a global research project for the exploration, collection, evaluation, conservation and utilization of forest gene resources.”

(b) World Seed Programme

The Panel noted the recommendation for a new World Seed Programme which was passed by the World Food Congress in 1970. Such a programme is likely to be predominantly for agricultural crops and for multiplication and distribution of commercial quantities of seed, but the Panel requested the Secretariat to associate its own programme of forest gene resources and tree seed procurement as closely as possible with any wider programme which might be developed and to investigate the possibilities of benefiting from any additional funds that might become available.

(c) Other sources

The various Foundations were mentioned as possible sources of finance, but it was noted that these were already committed in other fields than forestry. Forest Industries are another possibility, but the Panel was not able to suggest any specific approaches. It may be possible to interest additional Government agencies for bilateral assistance in carrying out similar work in forest gene resources as is already being done by the U.K. and Denmark; for example Swedish research laboratories are very well fitted to assist in seed physiology and storage and might be financially assisted by SIDA.


1. Meetings, training centres, etc.

The Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding took place in Washington D.C. on 7–16 August 1969. It was hosted by the U.S. Government and, like the First Consultation, was a joint FAO/IUFRO meeting. There were over 200 participants from 40 countries. The Consultation report appeared as Unasylva 97/98 and the documents were published in 1970 by FAO in two volumes. The World Directory of Forest Geneticists and Tree Breeders, compiled by the Society of American Foresters, was printed as an appendix to the documents. The participants at the Consultation recommended the holding of a third Consultation in about 1975, preferably in the tropics.

Since the first session of the Panel, a UNDP/FAO training centre in Forest Tree Improvement was held in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1969 and a study tour in Hungary in 1970. A UNDP/FAO training centre in tree improvement is due to take place in Hungary in May/June 1971.1 Further training centres in tree improvement, to be financed by Danish bilateral aid, are planned for east Africa in 1973 and S.E. Asia in 1974. These are all in English. It is hoped to hold a similar training centre in French, with the cooperation of the French Forest Service and of Centre Technique Forestier Tropical.

2. FAO Forest Tree Seed Directory

The Panel noted that revision of the above Directory had been further postponed until 1972 73 for lack of staff, and was in question even on this delayed time-schedule, in view of the doubt expressed by FAO's ad hoc Committee on Forestry (Rome, February 1971) as to the value of producing a new forest tree seed directory, in relation to the effort involved, and the committee's invitation to the Forestry Department to consider alternative methods of up-dating and disseminating this valuable information.

The Panel proposed that FAO should produce a simplified seed directory which would provide information on the availability of species, both indigenous and exotic, by countries and the address of one central seed information office (usually the national forest service) in each country to which enquiries could be addressed. Information on individual seed sources or suppliers would be provided by the national seed information office in response to specific requests.

3. FAO Directory of Forest Research Institutes

The Panel noted with regret that the proposal to revise the above Directory had been dropped from FAO's programme. It welcomed the initiative displayed by several of FAO's Regional Offices in producing regional directories of forest research institutes. It expressed the hope that this would be expanded and kept up to date and that other regional offices would follow suit. A series of regional directories would do much to fill the gap left by the lack of an up-to-date global directory.

4. Data storage and retrieval

The Panel noted that little progress had been made on this complex subject since its first session. No mechanized system of crop data recording, processing and retrieval is yet operational on a truly international basis, though several individual institutes are operating mechanized systems for particular crops. From the forestry side, several papers presented to the 15th IUFRO Congress (Schrader 1971, Yerke 1971) stressed the possibilities and needs for improved systems of data recording, but the production of an internationally acceptable system is still in the future. The Panel considered it premature to attempt a standardized system of data recording for forest gene resources until the broad principles involved, both in agricultural crop data recording and in general forestry data recording, have been defined more clearly.

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

The Panel reiterated its conviction that some form of expanded representation would enable FAO to derive advice on forest gene resources with a more truly global coverage than is possible now (Asia and South America are still unrepresented). It again recognized that financial considerations must frequently be the deciding factor and that final decision on expanded membership must be left to the Director General of FAO.

The Panel made the following suggestions:

  1. As the phase of planning the medium-term action programme for forest gene resources evolves into the phase of implementation and control, the frequency of meetings of the full Panel may be allowed to decrease. The maximum interval between meetings should not, however, exceed 4 years.

  2. Detailed planning and control in the main regions can be done most effectively through small regional meetings. The Panel invited FAO to explore the possibilities of establishing regional sub-panels or of arranging periodic ad hoc meetings of regional specialists in forest gene resources, as a specialist activity of the various Regional Forestry Commissions. The Tree Improvement Working Group of the North American Forestry Commission is an obvious prototype. Regional meetings would be comparatively cheap in travel costs, while enabling interchange of views from persons working with species and conditions in common. At least one member of the main Panel, e.g. the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, should attend regional meetings in order to ensure continuity and coordination with the global action programme.

  3. The Secretariat should continue to take advantage of international meetings, such as the IUFRO Congress and Forest Tree Breeding Consultations, which many Panel members attend, in order to reduce travel expenditure by holding the Panel session in conjunction. Similarly, regional meetings on forest gene resources should be held in conjunction with Regional Forestry Commission meetings or tree improvement training centres in the region, whenever possible.

1 The Training Centre took place 10 May – 5 June 1971.


ANON. A Guide to Tree Species Trials in Tropical America. Forestry and Forest Industries Division. FAO/Rome. WS/72017. February 1968.

ANON. Minimum Standards for Progeny Testing Southern Forest Trees for Seed Certification Purposes. Southern Forest Experiment Station. Sponsored Publication No. 20 of the Committee on Southern Forest Tree Improvement. Forest Service. United States Department of Agriculture. November 1960.

ANON. Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter No. 25. Crop Ecology and Genetic Resources Unit. Plant Production and Protection Division. FAO, AGP: PGRN/25. January 1971

ANON. Report of the First Session of the FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources. FO:FGR/1/Rep. Rome, 21–25 October 1968.

ANON. Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding. Vol. 1 and 2. Washington D.C., U.S.A. 7–16 August 1969.

ANON. Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding. Appendix. World Directory of Forest Geneticists and Tree Breeders. Washington D.C., U.S.A. 7–16 August 1969

ANON. South Carolina Handbook of Tree Seed Certification Standards and Standards for Forest Tree Progeny Testing. South Carolina Crop Improvement Association. Publication No. 1. Clemson, South Carolina. January 1969.

UNASYLVA. 1970. Vol. 24(2–3). No. 97–98.

BARNER, H. 1971 a. Coordinating Centre of Working Group on Procurement of Seed for Provenance Research. I.U.F.R.O., Sect. 22: Study of Forest Plants. Circular Letter No. 8.

BARNER, H. 1971 b. Procurement of Douglas Fir Seed for Provenance Research. I.U.F.R.O. Joint Meeting of Section 22 and Section 24 Working Groups. Gainsville, Florida, U.S.A.

BURLEY, J. & TURNBULL, J.W. 1970. Proposed Standard Procedures for the FAO/FRI/CFI International Provenance Trial of Pinus kesiya Royle ex. Gordon (syn. P. insularis Endlicher; P. khasya Royle). (Unpublished)

C.F.I. MONOGRAPHS1 Fast Growing Timber Trees of the Lowland Tropics:

- No. 1 Gmelina arborea. Compiled by A.F.A. Lamb. Commonwealth Forestry Institute, Department of Forestry. University of Oxford. January 1968.

- No. 2 Cedrela odorata. Compiled by A.F.A. Lamb. Commonwealth Forestry Institute. Department of Forestry. University of Oxford. February 1968.

C.F.I. MONOGRAPHS. Fast Growing Timber Trees of the Lowland Tropics:

- No. 3 The Araucarias. Compiled by O.O. Ntima. Commonwealth Forestry Institute. Department of Forestry. University of Oxford. October 1968.

- No. 4 Pinus merkusii. Compiled by E.N.G. Cooling. Commonwealth Forestry Institute. Department of Forestry. University of Oxford. December 1968.

- No. 5 Terminalia ivorensis. Compiled by A.F.A. Lamb and O.O. Ntima. Commonwealth Forestry Institute. Department of Forestry. University of Oxford. January 1971.

I.B.P. HANDBOOK No. 4. Guide to the Check Sheet for I.B.P. Areas. Compiled by G.F. Peterkin. Blackwell Scientific Publications. Oxford and Edinburgh 1967.

I.B.P. HANDBOOK No. 5. Handbook to the Conservation Section of the International Biological Programme. Compiled by E.N. Nicholson. Blackwell Scientific Publications. Oxford and Edinburgh 1968.

I.B.P. HANDBOOK No. 11. Genetic Resources in Plants - their exploration and conservation. Ed. O.H. Frankel and E. Bennet. Blackwell Scientific Publications. Oxford and Edinburgh 1970.

KEIDING, H. 1970. Report on a Journey to Sumatra, Thailand and India for the Danish/FAO Forest Tree Seed Centre. January–March. (Unpublished)

LITTLE, E.L. 1970. Rare Conifers of the United States. North American Forestry Commission. Tree Improvement Working Group 6.

MORTENSON, E. 1969. Report from an Expedition to Mexico and Central America to obtain Seeds of Tropical Pines. EAAFRO. (Unpublished)

NIKLES, D.G. 1971. Cooperation in Tropical Pine Breeding. Selection and Breeding to Improve some Tropical Conifers. I.U.F.R.O. Section 22. Working Group on Breeding Tropical and Sub-Tropical Species. Oxford.

O.E.C.D. 1967. Scheme for the Control of Forest Reproductive Material moving in International Trade. Organization for Economic -Cooperation and Development. Paris, 10 November. C(67) 45(Final).

OLESEN, P.O. 1969. Collection of Forest Tree Seed in Mexico 1968. Rhod J. Agric. Res. 7:117–127.

ROCHE, L. 1970. Forest Gene Resources: their Conservation and Utilization with Special Reference to the Canadian Spruces. Information Report Q-X-16. Canadian Forestry Service. Department of Fisheries and Forestry. Forest Research Laboratory. Quebeck Region, Quebeck.


- Wilcox, J.R. & Taft, W.A. 1969. Genetics of Yellow Poplar. U.S.D.A. Forest Service. Research Paper WO-6. 12 pp.

- Kriebel, H.B. & Gabriel, W.J. 1969. Genetics of Sugar Maple. U.S.D.A. Forest Service. Research Paper WO-7. 17 pp.

- Fowler, D.P. & Lester, D.T. 1970. Genetics of Red Pine. U.S.D.A. Forest. Service. Research Paper WO-8. 13 pp.


- Wright, J.W. 1970. Genetics of Eastern White Pine. U.S.D.A. Forest Service. Research Paper WO-9. 16 pp.

- Funk, D.T. 1970. Genetics of Black Walnut. U.S.D.A. Forest Service. Research Paper WO-10. 13 pp.

- Schreiner, E.F. 1971. Genetics of Eastern Cottonwood. U.S.D.A. Forest Service. Research Paper WO-11. 19 pp.

SCHRADER, S. 1971 Paper presented at the 15th I.U.F.R.O. Congress, Gainesville, Florida. March, 1971.

SCHREINER, E.J. 1968. Forest Tree Breeding. Unasylva. Vol. 22(3), No. 90:3–10.

STERN, K. 1969. Minimum Standards for Provenance Testing and Progeny Testing for Certification Purposes. Second World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding. Section III. FO-FTB-69-11/15. Washington D.C., U.S.A.

WILLAN, R.L. 1971. Priorities in Developing Tropical Conifer Gene Resources. Working Group on Breeding Tropical and Sub-tropical Species. IUFRO/Section 22. 15th IUFRO Congress, Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A. March 1971.

YERKE, T.B. 1971. Forest Research Literature and the Evolving World Science Information Network. I.U.F.R.O. Gainesville, March 1971.

1 Commonwealth Forestry Institute

1 Society of American Foresters

Top of Page Next Page