In my opening remarks to the conference I noted that the ideal policy for the indefinite conservation of plant gene pools is undoubtedly the establishment of reserves of adequate size to maintain samples of the important ecosystems in conditions where the natural population dynamics of all the flora and the dependent fauna are impaired as little as possible. The ideal is not one that can now be easily implemented, since it is questionable whether undisturbed samples of appropriate size can always be found. Experience in many parts of the world is showing that conservation in the field demands much more than simply putting a fence around a fragment of a particular association and leaving it to its own devices. As the areas of the major forest, grassland and other ecosystems diminish, so we find that positive management of the residues becomes more and more essential. Such management will often demand special attention with regard to establishment and regeneration, not only of the dominants, but of the whole associated flora if the aim is to preserve something near a realistic sample of the original balanced association. This is especially true for forests. It is often asserted, probably quite correctly, that timber extraction does not necessarily have to destroy the original forest community structure completely, nor to eliminate the associated non-arboreal flora, provided that exploitation policies are adopted which permit natural reseeding and reestablishment. Yet the fact is that we lack much of the fundamental knowledge needed to formulate such policies. We are lamentably ignorant of the reproductive systems of all but a tiny fraction of the angiosperms, and for the tropics, where the problems are most urgent, the proportion is the least. Some of the gaps in knowledge can be filled by the use of living collections and it is my purpose in this paper to point out a few of the opportunities.
KeywordsPhotoperiodic Response Reproductive Physiology Ideal Policy Provenance Information Timber Extraction
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.