About this book
The richness of tropical plant diversity is widely recognized and the full range of this diversity is often not well appreciated. This wide diversity includes wild relatives of existing crops or landraces and also many neglected or underutilized species with potential as food sources, medicinal or ornamental uses. The rapid loss of these plant species is also very much recognized as they are under threat from a rapidly increasing population pressure and from natural and manmade disasters. The importance of germplasm conservation is being increasingly realized with expanded effort to conserve tropical plant species by a wide range of countries and international agencies. In situ and ex situ approaches are both needed for optimal conservation. Research on utilization, characterization of the germplasm and development of conservation techniques is being carried out in order to fully safeguard the diversity and to obtain the best storage available for the collections. Information on these approaches is scattered in journals, book chapters and technical reports from scientists in all corners of the world and not readily available to all interested parties. Hence, we feel that it is timely to present these various conservation efforts all in one place. To this end we approached researchers involved in conservation of tropical plant species with diverse viewpoints and from diverse locations to contribute to this book. We hope to provide a review of the methods and current status of conservation of a range of tropical plant species. Plants included in this volume are from the major crops, fruit, oil palm, coconut and forestry species. In addition ornamentals with a focus on orchids, and the spices and medicinal plants are represented. This book also provides information on the richness of tropical plant diversity, the need to conserve, and the potential utilization of these genetic resources. Future perspectives of conservation of tropical species are discussed. Besides being useful to researchers and graduate students in the field, we hope to create a reference for a much wider audience interested in the conservation of tropical plant diversity.
Normah M. Noor, Ph.D., received her B.A. in Biology from Macalester College (Minnesota), her M.S. in Crop Science from Michigan State University and her PhD in Seed Science from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (Agriculture University of Malaysia). She is a Professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia) as well as Director of its Institute of Systems Biology. Her groundbreaking work leading to the development of a technique for the cryopreservation of embryonic axes of rubber represented seminal work in the cryopreservation of recalcitrant seeds. Her research on cryopreservation and conservation of tropical fruit species, particularly of Garcinia, Citrus and Nephelium, has led to the development of techniques for the long-term conservation and micropropagation of these economically (and traditionally) important species.
H.F.Chin Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus at University Putra Malaysia and Honorary Fellow of Bioversity International. He obtained four agricultural Sciences degrees from the University of Melbourne, His main interest is in seed conservation and storage, in particular recalcitrant seeds. He served in National and International seed committees such as the National Seed Council, Malaysia, Advisory Committee on Seed Storage of the International Board of Plant Genetic Resources (1981-1992), Chairman of Seed Storage Committee of International Seed Testing Association(1986-1992). Has served 51 years in his career in teaching and research
Barbara M. Reed Ph.D. received her Bachelor of Science in Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Master of Science in Botany and Plant Pathology and Ph.D. in Botany at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Reed is a research scientist with USDA-ARS since 1989.The program goals of her research project encompass development of improved and broadly applicable methods for tissue culture of the temperate fruit, nut and specialty crop germplasm; development of low temperature or other slow-growth storage techniques for in vitro cultures; development of cryopreservation methods to facilitate the storage of clonal germplasm in liquid nitrogen; technology transfer of cryogenic techniques to other genetic resources labs; and evaluation of the genetic stability of in vitro-stored plants and cryopreserved meristems.