Imagine you are a forest manager working in Malaysia. An endangered Dipterocarp tree (Shorea lumutensis) endemic to peninsular Malaysia is now so reduced in number that it is restricted only to small reserves, vulnerable to natural catastrophes, and climate change. Its small populations mean that the species is also losing its genetic diversity through inbreeding. Human threats to the remaining populations continue from logging, quarrying, conversion to oil palm plantations, and land development for tourism.
Your challenge is to develop a genetic conservation strategy to safeguard this Dipterocarp tree in Malaysia. Your strategy must take into account sustainable ecosystems, and consider both in situ and ex situ conservation measures, as well as what resources are available.
Bioversity International’s new Training Guide – Forest Genetic Resources (FGR)– will help practitioners make these kind of decisions which are the reality of day-to-day conservation planning. Primary forests have decreased worldwide by more than 40 million hectares since 2000, due to deforestation, selective logging and other human interventions. As a consequence conservation planning must consider the survival of individual tree species.
Species Genetic Conservation (Module 1) uses a mix of multi-media elements and problem-based teaching case studies to encourage participants to consider genetic diversity as a key part of the conservation planning process. The guide is a tool for teaching and learning about FGR issues both in formal education and on-the-job training.
Other modules will be shortly published, so watch this space!