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Activities > APFORGEN Workshop 2018


APFORGEN workshop:
Enhancing Conservation and Sustainable Use on Endangered Tree Species:
Review of Available Information and Setting Priority for Action

26-28 March 2018
Kunming, China

The workshop was successfully held in Kunming, China from 26 to 28 March 2018. Organized by APFORGEN, National Forest Genetic Resources Platform of China, APAFRI and other collaborators, the workshop was attended by 24 participants from Lao PDR, Cambodia, Italy, Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, China, United Kingdom, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. This two-day expert workshop was organized to meet the following objectives:

1. Identify priority species, common interests, and collaboration opportunities among Asian countries and regional and international organizations, to enhance the contribution of conservation and sustainable use in Dalbergia spp. or other endangered tree species.
2. Share information about available resources and expertise that can help countries and organizations identify and address relevant genetic diversity issues in their work.
3. Share the experience and progress of research about the endangered species (e.g. Dalbergia spp.), e.g. plant taxonomy, population genetics, ecology, plantation cultivation etc.
4. Review and release the strategy of APFORGEN 2017-2022
5. Seek the potential collaborative project opportunities.

Session 1: Brief introduction of the on-going and pipelined international cooperation project under APFORGEN.

Dr. Huang Ping presented the NSFC-CGIAR joint project with the title of ‘the analysis and evaluation on the genetic diversity of Dalbergia spp. in Asia Pacific’. The project is cooperated with Bioversity International and will do the relevant research on the population genetic and phylogeography from January 2018 till December 2022.

Dr. Riina highlighted one of the APFORGEN’s objectives 2018-2022 which is to ‘make available information about the forest genetic resources in the Asia Pacific region’ since for many tropical Asian tree species, information both on genetic diversity and distribution is lacking. Dr. Riina introduced the research project on APFORGIS that aims to fill in the knowledge gaps in species distribution and biology through regional collaboration and the application of latest spatial analysis methods. Funded by Germany, the project is coordinated by Bioversity from December 2017 till December 2019.

Dr. John MacKay presented the research proposal on ‘conserving Rosewood genetic diversity for resilient livelihoods in the Mekong’. Working with forestry authorities and rural communities in four Greater Mekong Subregion countries, the project will use in situ and ex situ methods to safeguard the genetic resources of three Dalbergia rosewood species of high conservation concern.

Dr. Suchitra Changtragoon provided some information about the project proposal submitted to CITES consideration on ‘developing DNA markers to identify origin of Dalbergia cochinchinensis wood in selected ASEAN countries’. The DNA markers tool could be applied for verification of the origin of confiscated logs, wood and wood products in the future. By enhancing law enforcement, the forensic DNA markers are expected to assist in reducing illegal trafficking of this species.
Session 2: Overview on the endangered tree species conservation and sustainable use in Asia Pacific.
Dr. Rekha R. Warrier provided an overview on conservation of genetic resources of endangered tree species in India. There are nearly 450 plant species have been identified in the categories of endangered either due to overexploitation of species; or rarity of occurrence. One of the areas that need urgent attention in the matter of biodiversity conservation including FGR conservation and management for India is ‘integrated database development at all organizational and management levels, to effectively utilize the data for decision making and establishment of a national information system’.

Dr. Woraphan Himmaphan presented the conservation and management of forest genetic resources of Rosewood in Thailand. Rosewood is categorized in high-end class and faced to the serious illegal logging in Thailand. Thai Rosewood was voted to the list under Appendix II of the CITES which regulates trade of threatened species through logging permits and agreed quotas.

Dr. K. Palanisamy focused on the evaluation, conservation and documentation of forest genetic resources in India. The strategies for conservation and management of FGR have been developed; prioritized 30 economically and environmentally valuable tree species for FGR programme. Exploration, collection of germplasm and establishment of gene bank for Tectona grandis and Pongamia pinnata in Southern India have been carried out.

Dr. Enrique L Tolentino, Jr presented the issues and challenges in the conservation of the Philippine National Tree, Pterocarpus indicus. The tree which is also known as Philippine rosewood is valued for its premium wood but was been subjected to massive exploitation and utilization both legally and illegally until now.

In his presentation, Dr. Chan Sophal informed that illegal cutting of Dalbergia cochinchinesis in Cambodia has resulted in few and sparse populations of this species. In 2002, the second CTSP meeting on the Forest Gene Conservation Strategy defined Dalbergia cochinchinensis as a priority species in need of immediate conservation intervention and appropriate protection. This species is protected by Cambodian Forestry Law No. 35.

Dr. Bansa Thammavong presented the conservation and sustainable use for the endangered tree species in Lao PDR. Alongside policy reforms, the Lao government has attempted to formulate some conservation strategies related to forest genetics resources such as National Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, Action plan to 2020 which are supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; and the Science Technology and Environmental Agency.

Dr. N.D.R. Weerawardane provided an overview on conservation and use of indigenous tree species in Sri Lanka. Large number of indigenous species are protected in situ in natural forests in the country. In addition, they are also protected ex situ in National Botanic Gardens in different locations in the country. Research programme are also underway to conserve genetic resources of indigenous species.

Dr. Zheng Yongqi presented the country report on FGR conservation of endangered species in China. China has paid great attention to conservation of endangered tree species. In 1980, IUCN has started to work in China and in 1996, China acceded IUCN, becoming a formal member country. Other international organizations involved in conservation of endangered species in China include the International Association of Botanic Gardens, UN Education, Science, Culture and Organizations (UNESCO), Man and Biosphere (MAB) Program, and FAO.

Dr. Lee Chai Ting outlined the genetic conservation and management guidelines of a critically endangered forest tree species Aquilaria malaccensis (Thymelaeaceae). Known for its prized resin-impregnated agarwood, its natural populations in Malaysia have been seriously threatened by illegal poaching. As such, a comprehensive population genetic study has been carried out in recent years.
Session 3: Case study on the research progress for the endangered species conservation in Asia Pacific.
Dr. Suchitra Chantragoon focused on the research on genetic diversity and phylogeographic DNA markers in Dalbergia cochinchinenisis in Thailand. A case study was presented on identifying whether 142 confiscated pieces of wood are from any of three illegally logged trees of endangered rosewood in the National Park.

Dr. Li ShiJin presented the taxonomy of Dalbergia in Asia where 92 species were confirmed in the genus Dalbergia in Asia. 27 names were reduced as synonyms. The lectotypes of the 26 names were designated. The information provided under each species includes correct name, an elaborate description, detailed distribution data and phenology.

Dr. Christopher Kettle provided an overview of the importance of FGRs for meeting sustainable development goals. With a focus on the Dipterocarpaceae, several case studies from high-value tree species across Asia and the different ways they are vulnerable to forest fragmentation were presented.

Dr. Hong Kyung Nak presented the conservation strategies of endangered subalpine pine species in South Korea considering their genetic diversity. Abies koreana is an endemic species in South Korea. However, about one-third of the habitats are damaged probably due to the warming of the Korea Peninsula and the increase of climbers. In order to restore the damaged Abies koreana forest, seedlings (or saplings) will be reintroduced considering the genetic diversity.

More than 50% of the world’s critically endangered Magnoliaceae species are distributed in China. Dr. Lin Liang presented the cryopreservation of embryogenic cultures of ten Magnoliaceae species. Cryopreservation is considered as an ideal method for long-term conservation of Magnoliaceae species.

Dr. Hannes Gaisberger presented a spatially threat mapping framework for tree species with the case studies from Central Asia and Burkina Faso. There is a general agreement on the need to ensure the in situ conservation and availability of valuable genetic resources of wild tree species. In order to be able to adopt adequate conservation measures, a spatial assessment of their distribution and a sound analysis of the causes of and their sensitivity to threats is required. Two projects led by Bioversity International in Central Asia and Burkina Faso gave the opportunity to develop a spatially explicit threat assessment methodology with focus on expert feedback, as there is no comprehensive and standardized approach available at the moment.

Field trip
A field trip to Kunming Botanical Garden was held on the third day of the workshop. The garden was first built in 1938 for the purpose of cultivating rare and endangered flowers, medicinal herbs and major trees.

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