INTERNATIONAL NEEM NETWORK:
Peter Aarup Iversen8 and Pierre Sigaud9
National collaborators of the International Neem Network (INN) and resource persons met in a workshop on data analysis held at the Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI), in Jodhpur, India, 21 to 25 March 200110. This paper presents the main outcomes of the workshop and follow-up action taken.
Following the discussions and recommendations of the First and Second International Consultations on Neem Improvement, (held respectively in Bangkok (Thailand) in January 1993, and Jodhpur (India) in March 1994), the International Neem Network was established with the long term objective to improve the genetic quality and adaptability of neem and to improve its utilization, throughout the world, as a contribution to development in the countries concerned. Emphasis was in particular given to meeting the needs and requirements of rural people. In the initial stage, it was decided that the main activities of the Network should focus on provenance exploration, collection and exchange of material for establishment of internationally coordinated trials.
National institutions of 23 countries, in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, have originally participated in the Network activities, which are coordinated by FAO in technical collaboration with the DANIDA Forest Seed Centre (DFSC, Denmark).
Twenty five seed-sources, representing the eco-geographical variation in the natural range of distribution of the species, were selected for seed collection and exchange among network collaborators in 1995, for establishment of international provenance trials. A number of trials had shown good survival after five years and it was proposed to undertake a general review of their status during a workshop on data analysis.
OBJECTIVE OF THE WORKSHOP ON DATA ANALYSIS
The main objectives of the workshop were to (i) report and discuss the state of the international provenance trials established in 1995; (ii) present progress made in data collection and analysis on individual trials; (iii) discuss possible future assessments, and criteria to be monitored; (iv) consider the relevance and feasibility of a global assessment of the trials; and (v) discuss the future activities of the Network.
STATUS OF TRIALS IN MEMBER COUNTRIES
It was found that at least 15 provenance trials still exist with satisfactory survival rates. It was also clear that growth showed very different pattern in humid and arid conditions.
Most provenances growing in arid areas still display important variations in relative ranking over time, and no provenance has so far shown a stable and constant dominance for traits related to vigour (inc. height and diameter).
The network decided to carry out a global evaluation divided into climatic subregions as a complement to the conclusions drawn on the individual trials. The preliminary results of the global evaluation attempt, in the climatic sub-regions, could be presented during the next workshop of the INN, which will be planned within the next 2 years.
PROPOSED WORKPLAN FOR 2001 - 2002
1. Publication of the Proceedings of the Data Analysis Workshop
2. Completion of data collection and analysis, and publication of conclusions
3. Case study on trial management and assessment in Tanzania
4. Feasibility study of global assessment by climatic zone
5. Dissemination of the INN goals, rules and technical publications on the internet, through the FAO homepage.
ACTION TAKEN SO FAR
1. DFSC and FAO will provide the National Tree Seed Programme in Tanzania with technical support through a field mission planned in September 2001. The results of the case study on trial management and assessment should be used later in other trials locations.
2. A first version of the International Neem Network homepage has been prepared and posted at the FAO's forest genetic resources website, in English. The site will be available in French and Spanish soon.
3. A contractual agreement is being discussed between ICFRE (including AFRI, Jodhpur, and IFGTB, Coimbatore) to gather and compile data and undertake eco-regional assessments of neem provenances behaviour.
4. Additional information and data have been sent from Myanmar and Nepal, and publication of the proceedings should be carried out during the last quarter 2001.
A first version of a homepage for the International Neem Network is now posted on the internet. It is placed on the homepage for Forest Genetic Resources and can be accessed at: http://www.fao.org/forestry/FOR/FORM/FOGENRES/Inn/INNhome.stm. A CD-ROM has also been printed and circulated to INN collaborators. The site and CD-ROM contain all publications by the Network including manuals, maps, reports, functioning principles for the network, list of collaborators and selected links to other sites on neem. It has been proposed that country-based information from national institutions collaborating in the network be also posted in the next update. Any comments and suggestions about the webpage are most welcome and should be forwarded to: Forest-Genetic-Resources@fao.org
8 Associate Professional Officer, Forestry
Department, FAO, Rome
9 Forestry Officer, Forestry Department, FAO, Rome
10 The report of the workshop is available on line at http://www.fao.org/forestry/FOR/FORM/FOGENRES/Inn/publications/wjodhfr.stm ; or in hard copy, on request.