Monday, July 4, 2011

Conserving forest genetic resources

Special attention should be paid to species that are of definite importance to more than one country and for which action requires international dimension. Documenting the status of these resources is vital to the conservation and sustainable management of forests across the globe which requires a better understanding of specific features of forest trees and their genetic diversity.
It is however noted that in Kenya research efforts are being put on some tree species such as Prunus Africana, Warbugia ugandensis and East Africa Sandalwood - the latter being the first tree to receive presidential protection for five years. Tree genetic resources are under great pressure and national programmes and local communities need technical advice and support. In the absence of adequate knowledge, countries are in danger of not being able to meet their internal demands for wood energy, food, environmental and ecosystems, which underpins overall sustainable development.
When forest genetic variation is lost through degradation and deforestation or inappropriate selection process, the successive generations are less able to respond to adverse conditions such as atmospheric pollution, climate change, pests and diseases. It is therefore important that forest genetic resources are conserved for the present and future generation.
Genetic diversity provides the fundamental basis for the evolution of forest tree species and for their adaptation to change. Conserving forest genetic resources is therefore vital, as they are unique and irreplaceable resources for the future.
Source: Science Africa Vol. 16 (June-July 2011 Issue)

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