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B. Pepe32, K. Surata33, F. Suhartono34, M. Sipayung35, A. Purwanto & W. Dvorak36


Eucalyptus urophylla naturally occurs on volcanically derived soils on seven islands in eastern Indonesia (Timor, Flores, Wetar, Lembata (Lomblem), Alor, Adonara and Pantar) at altitudes that range from 180 m to 3000 m (Figure 1). It is one of the most commercially important forest species as an exotic in the world. It is often crossed with E. grandis to produce hybrid progeny that are well adapted to tropical conditions and the hybrids are more disease resistant than the E. grandis parent.

To broaden the genetic base of E. urophylla for plantation forestry, organizations like the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia and the Centre Technique Forestier Tropical (CTFT, now CIRAD-Forêt), France have collaborated with the Indonesian government over the last three decades to make research seed collections of the species in natural stands on the seven islands (see Martin and Cossalter 1975 a-b; Martin and Cossalter 1976 a-e, Eldridge et al. 1994, Gunn and McDonald, 1991). The Brazilian government and private industry have also made small seed collections of E. urophylla in Indonesia, most notably in the 1970s and 1980s (Moura, 1983).

From 1996 to 2003, a new series of explorations and seed collections were made in natural stands of E. urophylla by research staff of PT Sumalindo Lestari Jaya, a private Indonesian forestry company and CAMCORE, North Carolina State University, USA, an international tree conservation and domestication programme. The collections were conducted with the assistance of the Forestry Research Institute, Kupang, Timor (Nusa Tenggara Timur).

The objective for these new collections were to assess the conservation status of E. urophylla across its natural distribution and to sample mainly untested populations that recently became assessable with the opening of new roads on the islands (Hodge et al. 2001). The goal was to distribute the genetic material to the CAMCORE membership for establishment of ex situ conservation banks and progeny tests. The conservation status of each population was assessed during exploration and seed collection and categorized according to rules developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as either Low Risk (LR), Vulnerable (V), Endangered (EN) or Critically Endangered (CR) (see Farjon and Page, 1999).


The collections were the most comprehensive made of the species to date.

In the seven years of seed collections, 62 populations and 1104 mother trees were sampled on the seven islands where E. urophylla is known to occur (Table 1, Figure 1). Explorations to the neighboring islands of Solor, Besar and Palue yielded no new sighting of the species. New populations were identified on most of the seven islands of known occurrence as the accessibility and local knowledge about the location of eucalypt populations were better than that available to previous collectors.

Of the 62 populations visited, the conservation status of 39% of these was classified as low risk, 24% as vulnerable, 20% as endangered and 5% as critically endangered. Populations identified as “low risk” all came from Wetar and Timor.

Table 1. Location of the Eucalyptus urophylla populations sampled and their conservation status. LR= low risk, V=vulnerable, E= endangered, and CR=critically endangered





Elev Range (m)

No. of Trees

Conservation Status



08° 16' S to 08° 21' S

123° 03' E to 123° 18' E

494 - 1000





08° 14' S to 08° 18' S

124° 30' E to 124° 45' E

320 - 1300


CR, E, V



08° 31' S to 08° 41' S

122° 15' E to 122° 47' E






08° 16' S to 08° 34' S

123° 24' E to 123° 32' E

540 - 980


V, E



08° 20' S to 08° 28' S

124° 03' E to 124° 12' E

380 - 840





09° 31' S to 09° 43' S

124° 04' E to 124° 19' E






07° 51' S to 07° 53' S

126° 15' E to 126° 28' E

409 - 750



The detailed table of E. urophylla populations explored by the mission  is available from W. Dvorak.

Figure 1. Geographic range of Eucalyptus urophylla and the location of the 62 populations
sampled by the Sumalindo/CAMCORE collections.

The Wetar provenances are protected because of their geographic isolation and by the fact that the human population pressure on the island is still minimal. The Timor populations appear well conserved because most are within the boundaries of Mt. Mutis Forest Park.

The conservation situation is much different on the other five islands. All the E. urophylla populations sampled on Pantar and Flores are either endangered or critically endangered (Table 1). These include the well-known populations on the slopes of Mt. Egon and Mt. Lewotobi, Flores, such as Ile Nggele and Hokeng, respectively. The newly discovered population Koangao, Flores, is being converted to cassava plantations and will be lost in the next several years. Stands on Adonara, Lomblem and Alor range from vulnerable to critically endangered. The disappearance of important eucalypt populations is primarily the result of land conversion to agriculture and the establishment of more economical short-rotation crops like macadamia nut trees. It is realistic to assume that in 25 years time, all that will be left of the E. urophylla genetic base in Indonesia will be on the islands of Timor and Wetar.

Difficult challenges exist on how to conserve populations of E. urophylla, either in situ or ex situ for the long term. Eucalyptus alba occurs on the fringes of or within most E. urophylla populations and there must be regular gene flow between the two species. Questions about what represents a “pure species” remains. Socio-economic question can be asked about why small landholders in Indonesia should conserve E. urophylla in situ when other land use alternatives generate more income. Ex situ conservation efforts are made difficult because of contamination of pure lines of E. urophylla with pollen of other eucalypt species such as E. grandis. Furthermore, the long-term conservation of large number of populations is prohibitively expensive for many organizations.

CAMCORE has established more than 100 provenance/progeny trials of this genetic material in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, South Africa and Venezuela. An initial assessment of 32 trials of 23 populations and 434 families was made in 2001 and reported on by Hodge et al. 2001. A more complete analysis will be made in 2004.

CAMCORE intends to address these challenging conservation issues by conducting a comprehensive molecular assessment of the species that complements the allozyme work of House and Bell (1994). We envision that new molecular techniques will allow us to better examine questions about migration and genetic structure of the species. Our hope is to relate marker information to provenance results so that priorities can be identified for in situ conservation approaches in Indonesia and better define practical strategies for ex situ conservation.

This conservation and testing effort exemplifies the benefits of international cooperation. PT Sumalindo Lestari Jaya, co-sponsor of the project, does not plant E. urophylla commercially as is true for eight other CAMCORE industrial members. Yet all organizations in CAMCORE contributed some funds for the explorations and seed collections of E. urophylla and pay for all the field establishment, maintenance, and assessment of ex situ conservation plantings and genetic tests.


The authors acknowledge with great appreciation the technical and/or financial contributions of the PT Sumalindo Lestari Jaya Research staff, the Forest Research Institute, Kupang, Indonesia, and members of the CAMCORE Cooperative.


Eldridge, K., Davidson, J., Harwood, C. and van Wyk, G. 1994. Eucalypt Domestication and Breeding. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 288p.

Farjon, A., and Page, C. 1999. Conifers. Status Survey and Action Plan. IUCN. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 121 p.

Hodge, G.R., Pepe, B., Wijoyo, F.S. and Dvorak, W.S. 2001. Early results of Eucalyptus urophylla provenance /progeny trials in Colombia and Venezuela. In: Developing the Eucalypt of the Future, Proc. IUFRO Working Party 2.08.03, Valdivia, Chile, Sept 9-13.

House, A. P. N. and Bell, J.C. 1994. Isoenzyme variation and mating systems in Eucalyptus urophylla S. T. Blake. Silvae Genetica 43,2-3:167-176.

Gunn, BV, and McDonald, MW. 1991. Eucalyptus urophylla seed collections. Forest Genetic Resources Information. 1991, No. 19, 34-37;

Martin, B., and Cossalter, C. 1975a. The Eucalypts of the Sunda Islands. [Part 1]. Bois et Forets des Tropiques. 1975, No. 163, 3-25.

Martin, B., and Cossalter, C. 1975b. The Eucalypts of the Sunda Islands. [Part 2]. Bois et Forets des Tropiques. 1975, No. 164, 3-14.

Martin, B., and Cossalter, C. 1976a. The Eucalypts of the Sunda Islands. [Part 3]. Bois et Forets des Tropiques. 1976, No. 165, 3-20.

Martin, B., and Cossalter, C. 1976b. The Eucalypts of the Sunda Islands. [Part 4]. Bois et Forets des Tropiques. 1976, No. 166, 3-22.

Martin, B., and Cossalter, C. 1976c. The Eucalypts of the Sunda Islands. [Part 5]. Bois et Forets des Tropiques. 1976, No. 167, 3-24.

Martin, B., and Cossalter, C. 1976d. The Eucalypts of the Sunda Islands. [Part 6]. Bois et Forets des Tropiques. 1976, No. 168, 3-17;

Martin, B., and Cossalter, C. 1976e. The Eucalypts of the Sunda Islands. [Part 7]. Bois et Forets des Tropiques. 1976, No. 169, 3-13;

Moura, VPG. 1983. Resultados de pesquisa com várias procedencias de Eucalyptus urophylla S.T. Blake no centro-leste do Brasil. Silvicultura São Paulo 31:474-480.

32 .Formerly Planning Director, PT Sumalindo Lestari Jaya, East Kalimantan, Indones

33 Forestry Research Institute, Kupang, Timor, Indones

34 Formerly Director of Research, PT Sumalindo Lestari Jaya, East Kalimantan, Indones

35 Formerly, Research Forester, PT Sumalindo Lestari Jaya, East Kalimantan, Indones

36 CAMCORE, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. U

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