The management of tree genetic resources and the livelihoods of rural communities in the tropics: non-timber forest products, smallholder agroforestry practices and tree commodity crops

Products and services provided by trees in forests and farmland support the needs and promote the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people in the tropics. Value depends on managing both the diversity of tree species present in landscapes and the genetic variation within these species. The benefits from trees and their genetic resources are, however, often not well quantified because trade is frequently outside formal markets, there is a multiplicity of species and ways in which trees are used and managed, and genetic diversity within species is frequently not given proper consideration. We review here what is known about the value of trees to rural communities through considering three production categories: non-timber products harvested from trees in natural and managed forests and woodlands; the various products and services obtained from a wide range of trees planted and/or retained in smallholders’ agroforestry systems; and the commercial products harvested from cultivated tree commodity crops. Where possible, we focus on the role of intra-specific genetic variation in providing support to livelihoods, and for each of the three production categories we also consider wider conservation and sustainability issues, including the linkages between categories in terms of management. Challenges to ‘conventional wisdom’ on tree resource use, value and management – such as in the posited links between commercialisation, cultivation and conservation – are highlighted, and constraints and opportunities to maintain and enhance value are described.

Category: Journal articles

Author: Dawson, I.K.; Leakey, R.; Clement, C.R.; Weber, J.C.; Cornelius, J.P.; Roshetko, J.M.; Vinceti, B.; Kalinganire, A.; Tchoundjeu, Z.; Masters, E.; Jamnadass, R.

Journal or series: Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 333

Pages: p. 9-21

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication Year: 2014

Publication Format: PDF

ISSN: 0378-1127

Language: EN