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L. Roche
Leader of IUFRO W.P. 2.02.2
Head, Department of Forestry
University of Ibadan


Following the last congress of the International Union of Forestry Research Organisations (IUFRO) in March 1971, a new Working Party entitled Gene Resource Conservation was formed. This Working Party falls into Subject Group 2 (Species, Provenances and Gene Resources), Division 2 (Forest Plants and Forest Protection) of the reorganized IUFRO structure.

In December of the same year a meeting was held at the Commonwealth Forestry Institute, Oxford, to determine the long- and short-term objectives of the Working Party. A report of this meeting was prepared and circulated with a covering note soliciting comments on the proposed objectives worked out at the Oxford meeting. Subsequent correspondence and discussions led to the formulation of the following major objectives:

  1. To collect, synthesize, and disseminate data on the genetic impoverishment of tree species.

  2. To collect, synthesize, and disseminate data on appropriate conservation procedures for particular species and ecosystems.

  3. To promote the development of programmes of conservation for endangered spcies and species being subjected to genetic impoverishment.

It was decided that these major objectives could be best achieved as follows:

  1. By preparing Data Sheets (see specimen for Eucalyptus globulus in Appendix I) on tree species undergoing genetic impoverishment but not sufficiently endangered to warrant inclusion in the Red Data Book prepared under the auspices of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). All species would be so treated, but particularly those of economic importance as sources of wood, food or fodder.

  2. By forwarding data on the genetic impoverishment of tree species to interested individuals and agencies such as the Forest Services of the countries in which the affected species occur, FAO, IUCN, as well as to other related IUFRO Working Parties.

  3. By organizing conferences on Forest Gene Resource Conservation and by publishing the proceedings of such conferences.


The Working Party was formally established by the spring of 1972, and two reports have been distributed to potential collaborators in different parts of the world. Eight data sheets have been prepared, and commitments have been obtained for the preparation of others. The following species have been treated to date:

Pinus radiataW.J. Libby
P. pentaphyllaH. Takehara
P. koraiensisH. Takehara
P. armandiiH. Takehara
Juniperus bermudianaE.R. Groves
Alnus jorullensisP. Rosero
Eucalyptus globulusJ.W. Turnbull
Ulmus wallichianaH.M. Heybroek

Apart from the continued preparation of data sheets, attempts have been made to gather information that is relevant to forest gene resource conservation and to disseminate this information to collaborators. Encouragement has also been given to the formation of local committees to deal with aspects of gene resource conservation. Since 1972 work has continued on a book entitled “The Genetics of Forest Ecosystems” (Stern and Roche 1974: Springer-Verlag, in press) which has a bearing on gene resource conservation. It is expected that this book will be published in the spring of 1974.


The Working Party will continue to solicit data sheets, and to collate information that is relevant to forest gene resource conservation. General statements of the situation on forest gene resource conservation for particular regions will also be solicited. Such statements can pave the way for local action and also help to identify those species for which data sheets should be prepared.

The work, which will be increasingly directed towards tropical forest ecosystems, is now being carried out in cooperation with the Federal Department of Forest Research, Nigeria. It is anticipated that this cooperative effort will give an impetus to the work of the Working Party in relation to tropical forest ecosystems in general, but particularly in relation to gene resource conservation in West Africa.

Copies of data sheets and reports prepared to date, and further information on the Working Party may be obtained from:

Professor Laurence Roche
Department of Forestry
University of Ibadan
Ibadan, Nigeria.

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