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27. Participatory seed source management in Cambodia
Long Boung
[39] and Phann Phoeun[40]


ABSTRACT

Cambodia has lost nearly 15 percent of its forest cover within the last three decades due to illegal logging and rapid agricultural expansion. Up to 6 million ha of the forests are considered as degraded and need rehabilitation. The forests are both dry-land (evergreen, deciduous, mixed forests, coniferous, etc.) and edaphic (flooded and mangrove) types. Forest plantations play an important role in improving soil and environmental degradation. At present, most planting efforts use seeds of poor quality from unidentified sources. Source of seed supply is a critical factor that determines the raising of successful plantations. Seed sources or seed production area is important for tree improvement programmes as it is the primary source of planting material. The Cambodia Tree Seed Project has established 11 seed sources in natural forests, with 17 species of indigenous tree species. Besides, seed production area of exotic species (Acacia and Eucalyptus) has also been raised. People have been involved in raising and management of seed production areas that may eventually help in large-scale forest rehabilitation programmes.

BACKGROUND

Cambodia has a land area of 181 035 km2 and shares its border with Thailand, Lao PDR and Viet Nam. Population is about 12 million with a growth rate of 2.49 percent (National Census 1998). Eighty-five percent of the people are rural farmers, whose livelihoods depend mainly on subsistence agriculture, forest products and other natural resources.

Before 1973, 73 percent of Cambodia's geographical area was under forests. But during the last three decades these resources have rapidly declined and the forest cover in 1997 was estimated at 58 percent. Two major forest types exist, dry-land forest comprising evergreen, deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests; and edaphic forests, which include flooded and mangrove forests. However, the existence of these forests is under threat from over exploitation due to concessions, illegal logging, and rapid agriculture expansion after decades of civil war. Up to 6 million ha of the remaining forest is considered as degraded and needs rehabilitation.

FOREST PLANTATION

Forest plantation plays an important role in improving soil and rehabilitation of degraded forests. Forest plantations have high yields compared with natural forests and create many jobs for farmers and labourers and thereby contribute to rural development (Prasad and Kandaya 1992).

The Royal Government of Cambodia pays high attention to the forest rehabilitation through plantations. At present, for most planting programmes, seeds collected from locally grown trees are being used. The genetic quality of these seeds is not known. Seeds of indigenous species such as Hopea odorata, Anisoptera costata, Dipterocarpus alatus, Afzelia xylocarpa, etc., are usually collected from natural forests or temples near the nurseries.

The quality of tree seedlings for fast volume increment with seed of good quality from known seed sources, is a critical factor in achieving successful plantations. Therefore, the issue of tree seed selection for planting programmes must be carefully considered. The government encourages planting both indigenous and exotic species in the forest rehabilitation and reforestation programmes in the over-logged areas and degraded land. The indigenous species are preferred for conservation, timber production, and non timber forest products, whereas the exotic species preference is for the immediate forest products such as firewood, poles and shade.

ESTABLISHMENT OF SEED PRODUCTION AREAS IN NATURAL FOREST

Seed production is important in tree improvement programmes, since they provide the first source for planting material. They are not directly linked to the establishment of seed orchards, which are the defused sources of improved planting material, but they often form an interim source until progeny tested seeds can be obtained from the seed orchards (Schmidt 1993).

The Cambodia Tree Seed Project, which is part of Forest Research Institute, has so far established 11 seed production areas in natural forests with 17 species of indigenous tree species (Table 1). These 17 species were classified as rare and endangered and need to be conserved either in-situ or ex-situ.

Besides the indigenous species, the seed production areas of exotic species have also been established in various provinces. With support from CSIRO, seeds of Acacia auriculiformis, A. mangium, A. crassicarpa and Eucalyptus camaldulensis were brought from Australia.

Table 1. Seed production area in natural forests

Species

Area (ha)

Province

Dalbergia bariensis

12.5

Preah Vihear

Pterocarpus macrocarpus

20

Siem Reap

Azardirachta indica

50

Banteay
MeanChey

Hopea ferrea

30

Ratanakirir

Dalbergia cochinchinensis

50

Siem Reap

Dipterocarpus alatus

7

Siem Reap

Pinus merkusii
Fagraea fragrans

104

Kampong Thom

Dalbergia bariensis
Pterocarpus macrocarpus
Xylia dolabriformis

21

Ratanakiri

Afzelia xylocarpa
Dalbergia bariensis
Pterocarpus macrocarpus

18

Ratanakiri

Afzelia xylocarpa
Dalbergia bariensis
Shorea cochinchinensis

20

Ratanakiri

Sindora cochinchinensis
Tarrietia javanica
Shorea farinosa
Shorea vulgaris
Dipterocarpus costatus
Anisoptera costata

117

Kampong Thom

17 species

449.2


Survey of forest seed demand conducted earlier this year has revealed that the tree species listed in Table 2 are preferred for planting programmes.

Table 2. Popular plant species used in various planting programmes

Indigenous Species

Exotic species

Cassia siamea

Acacia spp.

Dalbergia bariensis

Eucalyptus spp.

Dalbergia cochinchinansis

Melaleuca cajeputi

Dipterocarpus alatus

Leuceana leucocephala

Dipterocarpus turbinatus

Tectona grandis

Eugenia jambolina


Hopea odorata


Peltophorum dasyrrhachis


Shorea farinosa


Tarrietia javanica


Seed supply for planting programmes is important and mostly the seed sources are in remote areas, so successful management and maintenance need support and participation of local communities. The conservation of plant species also relies on good relations between forestry staff and local people (Pedersen 2002). Two pilot sites have been started and local communities are willing to participate in forest conservation. Local people are allowed access for non-timber forest products such as forest seeds, fruits, honey, mushrooms, and ants' eggs, for use and sales. The local forest staff help farmers in selling seeds to planters and other users.

BOUNDARY DEMARCATION AND SILVICULTURE TREATMENT

The boundary lines of seed production areas were made by clearing the undesired species and shrubs. The lines are made 1.5 to 3 m wide and concrete poles have been planted along the line with distance of 50 m from one another. The poles and some trees along the lines have been painted with red colour rings. As the number of mother trees per ha is fairly low, silviculture treatment such as removal of undesired trees have not been done.

EX-SITU CONSERVATION

Seeds collected from managed seed sources have been raised and used for establishment of seed production area and seedling seed orchard for ex-situ conservation in the potential area for reforestation in future. The seed orchards established in 2003 are as listed in Table 3.

Table 3. Seed orchards established in 2003

Species

Area (ha)

Afzelia xylocarpa

0.70

Aquilaria craasna

0.50

Dipterocarpus turbinatus

0.50

Hopea odorata

1.00

Shorea vulgaris

0.81

Tarrietia javanica

0.81

CONCLUSION

The participatory approach of forest management will help in taking up large forest rehabilitation programmes through reforestation in future. Such reforestation programmes will use quality seeds from natural forests and seed orchards.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Pedersen, A.P. 2002. Forest recovery with villagers - based on a case study in Khong Chiam in NE-Thailand. Paper presented at the Conference on Bringing Back the Forests. 7-10 October 2002, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Prasad, R. & Kandya, A.K. 1992. Handling of forestry seed in India. New Delhi, New Delhi Associated Publishing Company.

Schmidt, L. 1993. Selection of plus trees, Field Manual No. 2. Seed Stands, Field Manual No. 3. Seed Orchard, Field Manual No. 4. Guidelines on Establishment and Management Practices.


[39] Forest and Wildlife Research Institute, 40 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; E-mail: dfw.syphan@bigpond.com.kh
[40] Forest and Wildlife Research Institute, 40 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; E-mail: dfw.syphan@bigpond.com.kh

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