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Biodiversity and Conservation of Woody Plants 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.
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 share 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. 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 conservation 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 understand farmer's cultivation practices impact the sustainable utilization of pineapple, relationship between genetic diversity and conservation of genetic resources were investigated. 10. Multiple approaches for conservation of forest tree biodiversity. Bartolomeo Schirone The current extinction crisis requires dramatic action to save the Earth's biodiversity. Therefore, The conservation of biodiversity has become a major concern for resource managers and conservationists worldwide, and it is one of the foundation principles of ecological sustainable forestry. A strategy value has been assigned to biodiversity in terms of genetic resources, through the conservation of plant populations in their natural habitats (in situ) to better evolve and adapt to physical environmental trends and change and interact with other life forms. Multiple approaches involving in situ and ex situ strategies, along with ecosystem sustainability are the best options for conservation forest tree biodiversity. 11. Biotechnological approaches for preserving temperate hardwood biodiversity. Charles H. Michler Hardwood tree species in forest, plantation, and urban environments (temperate regions of the world) are important biological resources that play a significant role in the economy and ecology of terrestrial ecosystems. Because of these values of hardwood species, preserving forest tree biodiversity through the use of biotechnological approaches should be an integral component in any forestry program. Biotechnological tools are available for conserving tree species as well as genetic characterization that will be needed for deployment of germplasm through restoration activities. 12. Biotechnology and conservation of plant biodiversity. Carlos Albert Cruz-Cruz Advances in plant biotechnology provide new options for collection, multiplication and short- or long- term conservation of plant biodiversity, using in vitro culture techniques. Significant progress has been made for conserving endangered, rare, crop plants, and forest trees. Cell and tissue culture techniques ensure the rapid multiplication and production of plant material under aseptic conditions. Cryopreservation (liquid nitrogen -1960 C) is the only technique that ensures the safe and cost-effective and long-term conservation of wide range of plant species, including forest trees. < 13. Biodiversity and conservation of germplasm of mulberry. Kanjupillai Vijayan As the threat from urbanization, climate change, and global warming, conservation of plant genetic resources is seen widely as a necessary step to preserve world's germplasm for posterity. Both ex situ and in situ strategies for conservation of biodiversity and genetic resources are discussed in mulberry. 14. Prospects of conserving date palm diversity for sustainable production. S. M. Jain The rapid loss of genetic diversity has become a major concern worldwide for the genetic improvement of crops for sustainable agriculture, especially under climate change. Conservation, distribution and utilization of natural and induced genetic diversity have become essential for establishment of gene/germplasm banks. Both ex situ and in situ conservation strategies are discussed for the conservation of genetic diversity and genetic resources in date palm. 15. Conservation and maintenance of woody plant genetic resources of North India. Pramod Tandon The North India is rich in biodiversity due to high rainfall and plant of sunshine, coupled with unique geographical positioning. It is also known as the `Cradle of Flowering Plants' because of rich diverse flora. The valuable plant genetic resources are being lost at an alarming rate due to human activities and climate change. Therefore, there is urgent need to conserve genetic diversity in the forests in this region.