Communiqué de presse

ITTO acts to protect tree genes

Yokohama, Japan, 20 September 2000

The launch of guidelines on conservation of tropical timber trees will help conserve valuable genetic resources in Asia and the Pacific, according to ITTO's Executive Director Dr. Manoel Sobral Filho.

Dr. Sobral was speaking at the IUFRO World Forestry Congress, which was held in Kuala Lumpur in August. He said that conserving the genetic diversity of tropical timber trees is essential for a viable tropical timber trade.

"This diversity is the raw material for genetic improvement in the future, which will help increase timber yields and improve wood quality," he said. "This in turn will increase the viability of sustainable forest management as a land use option. That's good for forests, good for trade and good for people who are dependent on forests for their livelihood."

Maintaining the biodiversity of tropical timber species is also important for other reasons, he said.

"Timber species play crucial ecological roles. By conserving their genetic diversity we will help ensure that the forest can cope with environmental change." The publication series, which was funded by ITTO through contributions by the governments of Japan and the USA and produced by the Malaysia-based Regional Centre for Forest Management, comprises:

• State-of-the-art Review on Conservation of Forest Tree Species in Tropical Asia and the Pacific
• Technical Guidelines for the Establishment and Management of In situ Conservation Stands of Tropical Timber Species
• Technical Guidelines for the Establishment and Management of Ex situ Conservation Stands of Tropical Timber Species
• Operational Plans for the Conservation of Selected Tropical Timber Species in Southeast Asian Countries

The series was launched at an ITTO-sponsored satellite meeting at the Congress by the Honourable Datuk Haron bin Siraj, Secretary General of the Malaysian Department of Primary Industries. The satellite meeting also included presentations on other aspects of sustainable forest management, including reduced impact logging, transboundary conservation reserves and the costs of sustainable forest management.

For copies of the publication, please contact: Mr Collins Ahadome, Information Officer, itto@itto.or.jp