Biodiversity and Conservation of Woody Plants

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M. R. Ahuja
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17, Sustainable Development and Biodiversity

1. Forest tree genetic resources. Jakko Koskela

Genetic diversity is the fundamental basis of all biological diversity. Trees are keystone species of forest ecosystem, and recent studies have revealed that heritable traits in a single tree species can also influence community structure and ecosystem-level processes in forests. The genetic diversity in forest trees ensures the occurrence and functioning of forest ecosystems in a broad range of environmental conditions.

2. Divergent patterns of nuclear genetic diversity across the range of Prunus africana in Africa. Thomas Geburek

Forest ecosystems s
hare a high similarity of plant biodiversity, although it mainly occurs in isolated mountains regions (Afromontane) of Africa. Thirty natural populations of Prunus africana from 9 African countries covering a large part of Afromontane regions were studied for patterns of nuclear genetic diversity and their application to conservation strategies.

3. Global and local diversity indicators of evolutionary potential in tree species within and outside forests. Lars Graudal

There is general trend of biodiversity loss at global, regional, and local levels. To monitor this trend, international policy processes have created a wealth of indicators over the past two decades. However, genetic diversity indicators are
regrettably absent from comprehensive bio-monitoring schemes. Different attempts to assess the levels of genetic diversity are explored in this review.

4. Native woody plant diversity under Eucalyptus populations in Ethiopia.
Shifraw Alem


The aim of this study is to assess the impact of Eucalyptus camaldulensis in a semi-arid area on native woody plants diversity and density in Ethiopia. A total of 37 species at plantation, and another 30 species at the native woodland were identified and studied for genetic biodiversity.

5. Biodiversity conservation in the face of dramatic forest disease: conservation strategy for tanoak. Richard C. Cobb

Non-native diseases of dominant tree species have diminished North American forest biodiversity, structure, and ecosystem function over the last 150 years. Since the mid-1990s coastal California forests have suffered extensive decline of the endemic over-story tree tanoak. Distinct strategies for conserving genetic diversity and disease control are discussed.

6. &nbs
p; Coffee landscapes as refugia for native forest diversity in Ethiopia. Gretachew Tadesse

Land-use changes threaten biodiversity and ecosystem services. Some of the last remaining forest fragments in Ethiopia, and world's only habitats that retain genetically diverse wild coffee populations, have experienced rapid recent conversion to coffee farms, and agricultural plantations. Patterns of woody plant diversity were explored in this region.

7. Genetic consequences of climate change for northern plants. Inger Greve Alsos

Climate change would lead to loss of range of many species, and thus to a loss of genetic diversity. Genetic diversity was analyzed in 1200 populations from 27 northern plant species, using molecular markers. The expected range reduction in 27 species
was larger than reported for temperate plants; however all were predicted to lose genetic diversity according to species distribution modelling.

8. Conservation of genetic resources in pomegranate. Nidhi Verma

Pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits known to mankind. It is important for its taste, nutrition, and medicinal properties. The origin of pomegranate is considered to be in central Asia, from where it has spread to the rest of the world. Genetic diversity in pomegranate is found in a wide range of climate conditions. Genetic diversity and cons
ervation of pomegranate are discussed.

9. Conservation and utilization of genetic resources in pineapple. Enoch G. Achigan-Dako

Valuation of farmer's knowledge has been viewed as a source to promote sustainable use of plant genetic resource. In order to
This book provides complete, comprehensive, and broad subject-based reviews for students, teachers, researchers, policymakers, conservationists, and NGOs interested in the biodiversity and conservation of woody plants.
Forests cover approximately 31 percent of the world's total landmass; 93 percent is natural forest and only 7 percent consists of planted trees. Forest decline is progressing at an alarming rate worldwide. In addition to human activities (logging, deforestation, and exploiting forest lands for agriculture and industrial use), a number of other factors - including pests and diseases, drought, soil acidity, radiation, and ozone - are cumulatively contributing to global forest decline.

The present situation forces us to focus on forest conservation strategies for the present and future. Gene conservation and maintaining genetic diversity in forest ecosystems are crucial to the preservation of forest genetic resources. This calls for integrated action to implement both the in situ (on site) preservation of forest stands and ex situ (distant from the original site) strategies for the conservation of woody plants' genetic resources. Selected priority areas include: 1) assessing patterns of genetic diversity and threats, 2) understanding the biological processes regulating genetic diversity, 3) assessing the impact of human activities and climate change on genetic diversity, and 5) finding methods for prioritizing species and populations for the conservation of forest trees genetic resources.

All chapters were written by leading scientists in their respective fields, which include: woody plant diversity, ecology and evolution; assessment of genetic diversity in forest tree populations; conservation planning under climate change; and in situ and ex situ strategies, including biotechnological approaches, for the conservation of woody plants genetic resources.