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Koskela J.,Third University of Rome | Vinceti B.,Third University of Rome | Dvorak W.,North Carolina State University | Bush D.,CSIRO | And 9 more authors.
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2014

Over the last 200 years, genetic resources of forest trees have been increasingly transferred, within and outside of species' native distribution ranges, for forestry and for research and development (R&D). Transferred germplasm has been deployed to grow trees for numerous purposes, ranging from the production of wood and non-wood products to the provision of ecosystem services such as the restoration of forests for biodiversity conservation. The oldest form of R&D, provenance trials, revealed early on that seed origin has a major influence on the performance of planted trees. International provenance trials have been essential for selecting seed sources for reforestation and for improving tree germplasm through breeding. Many tree breeding programmes were initiated in the 1950s, but as one round of testing and selection typically takes decades, the most advanced of them are only in their third cycle. Recent advances in forest genomics have increased the understanding of the genetic basis of different traits, but it is unlikely that molecular marker-assisted approaches will quickly replace traditional tree breeding methods. Furthermore, provenance trials and progeny tests are still needed to complement new research approaches. Currently, seed of boreal and temperate trees for reforestation purposes are largely obtained from improved sources. The situation is similar for fast growing tropical and subtropical trees grown in plantations, but in the case of tropical hardwoods and many agroforestry trees, only limited tested or improved seed sources are available. Transfers of tree germplasm involve some risks of spreading pests and diseases, of introducing invasive tree species and of polluting the genetic make-up of already present tree populations. Many of these risks have been underestimated in the past, but they are now better understood and managed. Relatively few tree species used for forestry have become invasive, and the risk of spreading pests and diseases while transferring seed is considerably lower than when moving live plants. The implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (ABS) may significantly change current transfer practices in the forestry sector by increasing transaction costs and the time needed to lawfully obtain forest genetic resources for R&D purposes. Many countries are likely to struggle to establish a well-functioning ABS regulatory system, slowing down the process of obtaining the necessary documentation for exchange. This is unfortunate, as climate change, outbreaks of pests and diseases, and continual pressure to support productivity, increase the need for transferring tree germplasm and accelerating R&D. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Kadu C.A.C.,Federal Research and Training Center for Forests | Kadu C.A.C.,Kenyatta University | Konrad H.,Federal Research and Training Center for Forests | Schueler S.,Federal Research and Training Center for Forests | And 11 more authors.
Annals of Botany | Year: 2013

Background and AimsAfromontane forest ecosystems share a high similarity of plant and animal biodiversity, although they occur mainly on isolated mountain massifs throughout the continent. This resemblance has long provoked questions on former wider distribution of Afromontane forests. In this study Prunus africana (one of the character trees of Afromontane forests) is used as a model for understanding the biogeography of this vegetation zone.MethodsThirty natural populations from nine African countries covering a large part of Afromontane regions were analysed using six nuclear microsatellites. Standard population genetic analysis as well as Bayesian and maximum likelihood models were used to infer genetic diversity, population differentiation, barriers to gene flow, and recent and all migration among populations.Key ResultsPrunus africana exhibits strong divergence among five main Afromontane regions: West Africa, East Africa west of the Eastern Rift Valley (ERV), East Africa east of the ERV, southern Africa and Madagascar. The strongest divergence was evident between Madagascar and continental Africa. Populations from West Africa showed high similarity with East African populations west of the ERV, whereas populations east of the ERV are closely related to populations of southern Africa, respectively. ConclusionsThe observed patterns indicate divergent population history across the continent most likely associated to Pleistocene changes in climatic conditions. The high genetic similarity between populations of West Africa with population of East Africa west of the ERV is in agreement with faunistic and floristic patterns and provides further evidence for a historical migration route. Contrasting estimates of recent and historical gene flow indicate a shift of the main barrier to gene flow from the Lake Victoria basin to the ERV, highlighting the dynamic environmental and evolutionary history of the region. © 2012 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved.


Kadu C.A.C.,Federal Research Center for Forests | Schueler S.,Federal Research Center for Forests | Konrad H.,Federal Research Center for Forests | Muluvi G.M.M.,Kenyatta University | And 10 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2011

Scattered populations of the same tree species in montane forests through Africa have led to speculations on the origins of distributions. Here, we inferred the colonization history of the Afromontane tree Prunus africana using seven chloroplast DNA loci to study 582 individuals from 32 populations sampled in a range-wide survey from across Africa, revealing 22 haplotypes. The predominant haplotype, HT1a, occurred in 13 populations of eastern and southern Africa, while a second common haplotype, HT1m, occurred in populations of western Uganda and western Africa. The high differentiation observed between populations in East Africa was unexpected, with stands in western Uganda belonging with the western African lineage. High genetic differentiation among populations revealed using ordered alleles (NST = 0.840) compared with unordered alleles (GST = 0.735), indicated a clear phylogeographic pattern. Bayesian coalescence modelling suggested that 'east' and 'west' African types likely split early during southward migration of the species, while further more recent splitting events occurred among populations in the East of the continent. The high genetic similarity found between western Uganda and west African populations indicates that a former Afromontane migration corridor may have existed through Equatorial Africa. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Kadu C.A.C.,Federal Research Center for Forests | Kadu C.A.C.,Kenyatta University | Parich A.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Schueler S.,Federal Research Center for Forests | And 14 more authors.
Phytochemistry | Year: 2012

Prunus africana - an evergreen tree found in Afromontane forests - is used in traditional medicine to cure benign prostate hyperplasia. Different bioactive constituents derived from bark extracts from 20 tree populations sampled throughout the species' natural range in Africa were studied by means of GC-MSD. The average concentration [mg/kg w/w] in increasing order was: lauric acid (18), myristic acid (22), n-docosanol (25), ferulic acid (49), β-sitostenone (198), β-sitosterol (490), and ursolic acid (743). The concentrations of many bark constituents were significantly correlated and concentration of n-docosanol was highly significantly correlated with all other analytes. Estimates of variance components revealed the highest variation among populations for ursolic acid (66%) and the lowest for β-sitosterol (20%). In general, environmental parameters recorded (temperature, precipitation, altitude) for the samples sites were not correlated with the concentration of most constituents; however, concentration of ferulic acid was significantly correlated with annual precipitation. Because the concentration of compounds in bark extracts may be affected by tree size, the diameter of sampled plants at 1.3 m tree height (as proxy of age) was recorded. The only relationship with tree diameter was a negative correlation with ursolic acid. Under the assumption that genetically less variable populations have less variable concentrations of bark compounds, correlations between variation parameters of the concentration and the respective genetic composition based on chloroplast and nuclear DNA markers were assessed. Only variation of β-sitosterol concentration was significantly correlated with haplotypic diversity. The fixation index (F IS) was positively correlated with the variation in concentration of ferulic acid. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) indicated a weak geographic pattern. Mantel tests, however, revealed associations between the geographic patterns of bioactive constituents and the phylogenetic relationship among the populations sampled. This suggests an independent evolution of bark metabolism within different phylogeographical lineages, and the molecular phylogeographic pattern is partly reflected in the variation in concentration of bark constituents. The results have important implications for the design of strategies for the sustainable use and conservation of this important African tree species. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Koskela J.,Third University of Rome | Vinceti B.,Third University of Rome | Dvorak W.,North Carolina State University | Bush D.,CSIRO | And 10 more authors.
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2014

Over the last 200. years, genetic resources of forest trees have been increasingly transferred, within and outside of species' native distribution ranges, for forestry and for research and development (R&D). Transferred germplasm has been deployed to grow trees for numerous purposes, ranging from the production of wood and non-wood products to the provision of ecosystem services such as the restoration of forests for biodiversity conservation. The oldest form of R&D, provenance trials, revealed early on that seed origin has a major influence on the performance of planted trees. International provenance trials have been essential for selecting seed sources for reforestation and for improving tree germplasm through breeding. Many tree breeding programmes were initiated in the 1950s, but as one round of testing and selection typically takes decades, the most advanced of them are only in their third cycle. Recent advances in forest genomics have increased the understanding of the genetic basis of different traits, but it is unlikely that molecular marker-assisted approaches will quickly replace traditional tree breeding methods. Furthermore, provenance trials and progeny tests are still needed to complement new research approaches. Currently, seed of boreal and temperate trees for reforestation purposes are largely obtained from improved sources. The situation is similar for fast growing tropical and subtropical trees grown in plantations, but in the case of tropical hardwoods and many agroforestry trees, only limited tested or improved seed sources are available. Transfers of tree germplasm involve some risks of spreading pests and diseases, of introducing invasive tree species and of polluting the genetic make-up of already present tree populations. Many of these risks have been underestimated in the past, but they are now better understood and managed. Relatively few tree species used for forestry have become invasive, and the risk of spreading pests and diseases while transferring seed is considerably lower than when moving live plants. The implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (ABS) may significantly change current transfer practices in the forestry sector by increasing transaction costs and the time needed to lawfully obtain forest genetic resources for R&D purposes. Many countries are likely to struggle to establish a well-functioning ABS regulatory system, slowing down the process of obtaining the necessary documentation for exchange. This is unfortunate, as climate change, outbreaks of pests and diseases, and continual pressure to support productivity, increase the need for transferring tree germplasm and accelerating R&D. © 2014 The Authors.

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