Skip to main content

Strategies for genetic conservation of trees in the Peruvian Amazon

Abstract

Forestry practices and high rates of land clearance for agriculture are causing genetic erosion of valuable tree species in the Peruvian Amazon, thereby endangering the economic sustainability of rural communities and limiting Peru's opportunities for the development of new timber and non-timber forest products. The potential utility and limitations of six low-input interventions to help forestall further genetic erosion in the region are discussed, with a focus on local community involvement. Improved agroforestry systems may help reduce deforestation by increasing farm productivity, although methods to increase the currently low adoption rate of these technologies need to be developed. Use of strategic tree domestication techniques can also improve farm productivity and prevent inadvertent genetic drift and inbreeding associated with traditional domestication practices, although to have a major impact, current programs need to be extended across the region. Woodlot forestry could supplant selective extraction of timber and offers an attractive opportunity for poverty alleviation if appropriate credit and land tenure policies can be developed. However, it may also result in increased deforestation if activities on public land cannot be controlled. The implementation of improved seed collection systems and simple seed transfer guidelines would help to reduce the collection of seed of poor quality and low genetic diversity, and avoid maladapted plantings, although such programs are difficult to monitor and seed costs may increase. Strategic identification and design of in situ conservation areas would help to ensure the viability of conserved populations, but requires the forfeiture of significant revenue from timber concessions.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Alegre JC,Weber JC andBandy DE (1998) The potential of Inga species for improved woody fallows and multistrata agroforests in the Peruvian Amazon Basin. In: Pennington TD andFernandes ECM (eds) The Genus Inga-Utilization, pp 87-100. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London

    Google Scholar 

  2. Alegre JC,Smyth J,Weber JC andBandy DE (1999) Long-term evaluation of a prototype multistrata system in the humid tropics of Peru. In: Jimenez F andBeer J (eds) Proceedings of an International Symposium on Multistrata Agroforestry Systems with Perennial Crops, pp 90-93. IUFRO Research Group SI. 15 Agroforestry, Tropical Agricultural Research and Training Center (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica, 22-27 February 1999. CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica

    Google Scholar 

  3. Anderson AB (ed) (1989) Alternatives to Deforestation: Steps toward Sustainable Use of the Amazon Rain Forest. Colombia University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  4. Asquith NM, Wright SJ andClauss MJ (1997) Does mammal community composition control recruitment in neotropical forests? Evidence from Panama. Ecology 78: 941-946

    Google Scholar 

  5. Barbier EB (1997) The economic determinants of land degradation in developing countries. In: Greenland DJ,Gregory PJ andNye PH (eds) Land Resources: on the Edge of the Malthusian Precipice? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, pp 31-39. The Royal Society, London

    Google Scholar 

  6. Barton D (1994) Indigenous agroforestry in Latin America: A blueprint for sustainable agriculture. NRI socio-economic series No. 6. Natural Resources Institute, Chatham, UK

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bawa KS (1991) Reproductive biology and genetics of tropical trees in relation to conservation and management. In: Gomez-Pampa A andWhitmore TC (eds) Rain Forest Regeneration and Management. Man and Biosphere Series, Vol 6, pp 119-134. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Paris and Parthenon Publishing, Carforth, UK

    Google Scholar 

  8. Bawa KS andSeidler R (1998) Natural forest management and conservation of biodiversity in tropical forests. Conservation Biology 12: 46-55

    Google Scholar 

  9. Beyene T (1997) The seeds of survival/Ethiopia program. In: Rohrbach DD,Bishaw Z andvan Gastel AJG (eds) Alternative Strategies for Smallholder Seed Supply. Proceedings of an international conference on options for strengthening national and regional seed systems in Africa and west Asia. Harare, Zimbabwe, 10-14 March 1997, pp 129-132. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patarcheru, India

    Google Scholar 

  10. Boom BM (1985) Advocacy Botany for the Neotropics. Garden 9(3): 24-32

    Google Scholar 

  11. Brush SB (1991) A farmer-based approach to conserving crop germplasm. Economic Botany 45(2): 153-165

    Google Scholar 

  12. Campbell RK (1991) Soils, seed-zone maps and physiography: Guidelines for seed transfer of Douglas-fir in southwestern Oregon. Forest Science 37(4): 973-986

    Google Scholar 

  13. Castillo RO (1995) Plant genetic resources in the Andes: Impact, conservation and management. Crop Science 35(2): 355-360

    Google Scholar 

  14. Chambers R,Pacey A andThrupp L (eds) (1989) Farmers First: Farmer Innovation and Agricultural Research. Intermediate Technology Publications, London

    Google Scholar 

  15. Christoffersen LE (1989) Agroforestry in Sub-SaharanAfrica: a farmer' perspective. WorldBank Technical Paper 112. Environment Division, Technical Department, Africa Region, World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  16. Conkle MT (1997)Zonificación de semillas en México. In: Vargas HJJ,Bermejo VB andLedig FT (eds) Manejo de recursos genéticos forestales, pp 67-88. Colegio de Postgraduados, Montecillo, México y División de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Chapingo, Mexico

    Google Scholar 

  17. Coomes OT andBurt GJ (1997) Indigenous market-oriented agroforestry: dissecting local diversity in western Amazonia. Agroforestry Systems 37: 27-44

    Google Scholar 

  18. Cooper D,Velleve R andHobbelink H (1992) Growing diversity: Genetic Resources and Local Food Security. Intermediate Technology Publications, London

    Google Scholar 

  19. Current D (1995) Economic and Institutional Analysis of Projects Promoting on-farm Tree Planting in Costa Rica. In: Current D,Lutz E andScherr SJ (eds) Costs, Benefits and Farmer Adoption of Agroforestry: Project Experience in Central America and the Caribbean, World Bank Environment Paper No. 14, pp 45-80. The World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  20. Current D,Lutz E andScherr SJ (1995) The costs and benefits of agroforestry to farmers. World Bank Research Observer 10(2): 151-180

    Google Scholar 

  21. Dawson I andWere J (1997) Collecting germplasm from trees-some guidelines. Agroforestry Today 9(2): 6-9

    Google Scholar 

  22. Dayandandan S,Dole J,Bawa K andKesseli R (1999) Population structure delineated with microsatellite markers in fragmented populations of a tropical tree, Carapa guianensis (Meliaceae). Molecular Ecology 8(10): 1585-1592

    Google Scholar 

  23. Denevan WM andPadoch C (1987) Swidden-fallow agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon. Adv. Econ. Bot. New York Botanical Gardens, New York

    Google Scholar 

  24. Doligez A andJoly H (1997) Mating system of Carapa procera (Meliaceae) in the French Guiana tropical forest. American Journal of Botany 84: 461-470

    Google Scholar 

  25. Estrella E (1995) Plantas medicinales amazónicas: realidad y perspectivas. Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica, Lima, Peru

    Google Scholar 

  26. FAO (1987) In situ Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources in Peru: A Case Study. In: Forest Genetic Resources Information No. 15, pp 5-21. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  27. Fearnside PM (1995) Agroforestry in Brazil' Amazonian development policy: the role and limits of a potential use of degraded lands. In: Clusener-Godt M andSachs I (eds) Brazilian Perspectives on Sustainable Development of the Amazon Region, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris, France

    Google Scholar 

  28. Follis MB andNair PKR (1994) Policy and institutional support for agroforestry: An analysis of two Ecuadorian case studies. Agroforesry Systems 27(3): 223-240

    Google Scholar 

  29. Gentry AH (1988) Tree species richness of upper Amazonian forests. Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences 85: 156-159

    Google Scholar 

  30. Gentry AH andOrtiz SR (1993)Patrones de composición floristica en la Amazonia Peruana. In: Kalliola R,Puhakkaay M andDanjoy W (eds) Amazonia Peruana-vegetación humeda tropical en el llano subandino, pp 155-166. Turku University Press, Turku, Finland

    Google Scholar 

  31. Gentry AH andVasquez R (1988) Where have all the Ceibas gone? A case history of mismanagement of a tropical forest resource. Forest Ecology and Management 23: 73-76

    Google Scholar 

  32. Guariguata MR,Rosales Adame J andFinegan B (2000) Seed removal and fate in two selectively-logged lowland forests with contrasting protection levels. Conservation Biology (in press)

  33. Guarino L andMaxted N (1996) Complementary approaches to collecting plant genetic resources by national programs. Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter 107: 19-22

    Google Scholar 

  34. Hall P,Walker S andBawa K (1996) Effect of forest fragmentation on genetic diversity and mating system in a tropical tree, Pithecellobium elegans. Conservation Biology 10: 757-768

    Google Scholar 

  35. Hamrick JL (1993) Distribution of genetic diversity in tropical tree populations: implications for the conservation of genetic resources. In: Resolving Tropical Forest Resource Concerns through the Improvement, Gene Conservation and Domestication of New Species, pp 74-82. IUFRO conference proceedings, October 1992, Cartagena and Cali, Columbia. Oxford Forestry Institute, Oxford, UK

    Google Scholar 

  36. Hamrick JL,Godt MJ andSherman Broyles SL (1992) Factors influencing levels of genetic diversity in woody plant species. New Forests 6: 95-124

    Google Scholar 

  37. Harris LD (1984) The Fragmented Forest: Island Biogeography and the Preservation of Biotic Diversity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  38. Jones DW and O'Neill RV (1992) Land use with endogenous environmental degradation and conservation. Resources and Energy 14(4): 381-400

    Google Scholar 

  39. Labarta-Chávarri R (1998)Los productores de la Cuenca Amazónica del Peru y la dinámica de uso de la tierra: resultados de la caracterización de Pucallpa y Yurimaguas. Reporte de Investigación, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF). ICRAF, Pucallpa, Peru

    Google Scholar 

  40. Lawrence MJ andMarshall DF (1997) Plant population genetics. In: Maxted N,Ford-Lloyd BV andHawkes JG (eds) Plant Genetic Conservation: The In situ Approach, pp 99-113. Chapman & Hall, London

    Google Scholar 

  41. Leakey RRB andSimons AJ (1998) The domestication and commercialization of indigenous trees in agroforestry for the alleviation of poverty. Agroforestry Systems 38: 165-176

    Google Scholar 

  42. Ledig FT (1986) Conservation strategies for forest gene resources. Forest Ecology and Management 14: 77-90

    Google Scholar 

  43. Marshall DR andBrown ADH (1975) Optimum sampling strategies in genetic conservation. In: Frankl OH andHawkes JG (eds) Crop Genetic Resources for Today and Tomorrow, pp 53-80. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK

    Google Scholar 

  44. Maskey RK (1997) Sustainable agricultural development in less developed countries. Outlook on Agriculture 26(1): 39-45

    Google Scholar 

  45. Mejía K andRengifo E (1995) Plantas Medicinales de Uso Popular en la Amazonia Peruana. Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional and Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana, Lima, Peru

    Google Scholar 

  46. Montagnini F andMendelsohn RO (1997) Managing forest fallows: Improving the economics of swidden agriculture. Ambio 26(2): 118-123

    Google Scholar 

  47. Murawski DA andHamrick JL (1991) The effect of the density of flowering individuals on the mating system of nine tropical tree species. Heredity 67(2): 167-174

    Google Scholar 

  48. Murawski DA,Gunatilleke IAUN andBawa KS (1994) The effects of selective logging and inbreeding on Shorea megistophylla (Dipterocarpaceae) from Sri Lanka. Conservation Biology 8(4): 997-1002

    Google Scholar 

  49. Myers N (1988) Tropical forests and their species: going, going...? In: Wilson EO (ed) Biodiversity, pp 28-35. National Academy Press, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  50. Nair PKR andLatt CR (1998) Policy issues in agroforestry: Technology adoption and regional integration in the western Brazilian Amazon. Agroforestry Systems 38(1): 195-222

    Google Scholar 

  51. Pimbert MP andPretty JN (1995) Parks, people and professionals: putting 'participation' into protected area management. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Discussion paper No. 57, Geneva, Switzerland

  52. Poehlman JM andSleper DA (1995) Breeding Field Crops, 4th edn. Iowa State Press, Ames, Iowa

    Google Scholar 

  53. Portillo Z (1994) Sustainable farming in the Peruvian Amazon. IDRC Reports 22(3): 21-23

    Google Scholar 

  54. Prance GT (1994) Amazonian tree diversity and the potential for supply of non-timber forest products. In: Leakey RRB andNewton AC (eds) Tropical Trees: The Potential for Domestication and the Rebuilding of Forest Resources, pp 7-15. Proceedings of a conference organized by the Edinburgh Centre for Tropical Forests. HMSO, Edinburgh, UK

    Google Scholar 

  55. Raven PH (1988) Our diminishing tropical forests. In: Wilson EO (ed) Biodiversity, pp 119-122. National Academy Press, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  56. Redford KH (1992) The empty forest. BioScience 42(6): 412-422

    Google Scholar 

  57. Russell JR,Weber JC,Booth A,Powell W,Sotelo-Montes C andDawson IK (1999) Genetic variation of Calycophyllum spruceanum in the Peruvian Amazon Basin, revealed by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. Molecular Ecology 8: 199-204

    Google Scholar 

  58. Saenz OF (1995) Promoting participatory rural development in Peru: towards a new partnership in agricultural research and extension. In: Schneider H andLibercier MH (eds) Participatory Development from Advocacy to Action, pp 197-207. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France

    Google Scholar 

  59. Sanchez PA,Buresh RJ andLeakey RRB (1997) Trees, soils and food security. In: Greenland DJ,Gregory PJ andNye PH (eds) Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London-Series B: Biological Sciences, pp 949-961. The Royal Society, London

    Google Scholar 

  60. Scherr SJ andCurrent D (1997) What makes agroforestry profitable for farmers? Evidence from Central America and the Caribbean. Agroforestry Today 9(4): 10-15

    Google Scholar 

  61. Simons AJ,MacQueen DJ andStewart JL (1994) Strategic concepts in the breeeding of non-industrial trees. In: Leakey RRB andNewton AC (eds) Tropical Trees: The Potential for Domestication and the Rebuilding of Forest Resources, pp 91-102. Proceedings of a conference organized by the Edinburgh Centre for Tropical Forests. HMSO, Edinburgh, UK

    Google Scholar 

  62. Smith GR (1998) Are we leaving the community out of rural community sustainability? International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 5(2): 82-98

    Google Scholar 

  63. Sotelo-Montes C andWeber JC (1997)Priorización de especies arbóreas para sistemas agroforestales en la selva baja del Peru. Agroforesteria en las Américas 4(14): 12-17

    Google Scholar 

  64. Sotelo-Montes C,Vidaurre H,Weber JC,Simons AJ andDawson IK (2000)Producción de semillas a partir de la domesticación participativa de árboles agroforestales en la Amazonía Peruana. In: Memorias del II simposio avances en la producción de semillas forestales en América Latina, pp 65-72. Proyecto de Semillas Forestales (PROSEFOR)-Centro de Agricultura Tropical y de Enseñanza (CATIE)-International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), Santo Domingo, Republica Dominica, 18-22 October 1999. CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica

    Google Scholar 

  65. Toledo E andRincon C (1996) Utilización Industrial de Nuevas Especies Forestales en el Peru. Cámara Nacional Forestal, Lima, Peru

    Google Scholar 

  66. Vavilov NI (1950) The phytogeographic basis of plant breeding. In: Verndoorn F (ed) The Origin, Variation, Immunity and Breeding of Cultivated Plants. Chronica Botanica, Vol 13(1-6): 14-53

  67. Villachica H (1996) Frutales y Hortalizas Promisorios de la Amazonía. FAO project GCP/RLA/118/NET, Number 44. Secretaria Pro-Tempore, Tratado de Cooperacion Amazónica, Lima, Peru

    Google Scholar 

  68. Vosti SA, Witcover J,Oliveira S andFaminow M ( 1997) Policy issues in agroforestry: technology adoption and regional integration in the western Brazilian Amazon. Agroforestry Systems 38(1/3): 195-222

    Google Scholar 

  69. Weber JC,Sotelo-Montes C andLabarta Chávarri R (1997a) Tree domestication in the Peruvian Amazon Basin-working with farmers for community development. Agroforestry Today 9(4): 4-8

    Google Scholar 

  70. Weber JC,Labarta Chávarri R,Sotelo-Montes C,Brodie AW,Cromwell E,Schreckenberg K andSimons AJ (1997b) Farmers' use and management of tree germplasm: case studies from the Peruvian Amazon Basin. In: Simons AJ,Kindt R andPlace F (eds) Proceedings of an International Workshop on Policy Aspects of Tree Germplasm Demand and Supply, pp 57-63. ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya

    Google Scholar 

  71. Wicklein RC (1998) Designing for appropriate technology in developing countries. Technology in Society 20(3): 371-375

    Google Scholar 

  72. World Resources Institute (1990) World Resources 1990-1991. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program and the United Nations Development Program. Oxford University Press, Cambridge, UK

    Google Scholar 

  73. Yanchuk AD andLester DT (1996) Setting priorities for conservation of the conifer genetic resources of British Columbia. Forestry Chronicle 72(4): 406-415

    Google Scholar 

  74. Zobel BJ andTalbert JT (1984) Applied Tree Improvement. John Wiley and Sons, New York

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

O'Neill, G.A., Dawson, I., Sotelo-Montes, C. et al. Strategies for genetic conservation of trees in the Peruvian Amazon. Biodiversity and Conservation 10, 837–850 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016644706237

Download citation

  • agroforestry
  • genetic conservation
  • genetic erosion
  • Peruvian Amazon
  • tree genetic resources