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Full text of "The conservation and sustainable use of the crop genetic resources of Central America. A Darwin initiative funded project. Report on phase 1"

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The Conservation and Sustainable Use of the 
Crop Genetic Resources of Central America 



A Darwin Initiative funded project at WCMC 






Phase 1 documents 



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WORLD CONSERVATION 
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WORLD CONSERVATION 
MONITORING CENTRE 

Harriet Gillett 



219, Huntingdon Road. Cambridge CB3 ODL, U K 

Tel: (02231 277314 Telex 817036SCMUG Fax (02231277136 

harnetg@wcmc co uk 







The mission of the 
World Conservation Monitoring Centre is to provide 
information on the status, security and 
management of the Earth's biological diversity. 



The Conservation and Sustainable Use of the 
Crop Genetic Resources of Central America 



A Darwin Initiative funded project at WCMC 



Phase 1 documents 



* Project proposal 

* Appraisal meeting agenda 

* Delegates at appraisal meeting 

* Draft discussion paper 

* Project summary March 1994 (English and Spanish) 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2010 with funding from 
UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge 



http://www.archive.org/details/conservationsust94wcmc 



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Unique Identifier: 120.4 
1. Project Title: 



2. Submitted by: 



WORLD CONSERVATION 
MONITORING CENTRE 



THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF THE 
PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES OF CENTRAL AMERICA 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, 
Cambridge CB3 ODL, UK, in collaboration with the Royal 
Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh and Kew, and a consortium of 
North and Central American and European agencies that will 
participate in the project (see Section 1 1) 



3. Objectives: 



in. 



IV. 



v. 



VI. 



to assess the status, distribution and threats to the most economically important 
plants and their wild relatives in Central America 

to determine current and potential uses and economic benefits of the plant genetic 
resources of the region 

to promote the conservation of genetic variation amongst the wild progenitors and 
landraces of agricultural crop plants in the region 

to reinforce the economic values of plant genetic resources as an incentive for 
countries in the region to conserve their biodiversity 

to build the capabilities of the national institutions within the region to identify, 
evaluate and utilise their plant genetic resources as a key component of the 
biological wealth of the countries 

to develop a methodology and operational practice for quantifying the status, use 
and economic values of plant genetic resources that can be applied in other 
regions of the world 



4. Timetable: 



Phase 1 
Phase 2 
Phase 3 
Phase 4 



Feasibility Assessment 
Scoping Workshop 
Pilot Project, Central America 
Global Application 



January 1994 - April 1994 
April 1994 - October 1994 
November 1994 - December 1995 
1996-2000 (uncosted) 



5. Executive Summary: 



The accelerating erosion of the genetic diversity of plants of current or potential 
economic value represents a wasting opportunity for farmers, local communities and 
governments to benefit from their sustainable utilisation. The need to conserve genetic 
resources for their use in food production, sustainable agriculture and new 
pharmaceuticals is widely recognised by governments and provides a powerful incentive 
for the conservation of biodiversity. This realisation is reinforced by the provisions of 
Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Convention, both of which stress the need to identify 
and monitor the status, threats to, and utilisation of plant genetic resources. 



17 August 1993 



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A study is proposed of the in situ plant genetic resources of Central America, focusing 
particularly on the wild progenitors and landraces of agricultural crop plants. A broad- 
based consortium of developed and developing country agencies will be established with 
a strong emphasis upon building the capabilities of the institutions within the region. 
The project will develop, field-test and refine a methodology for in-country gathering 
of data and assessing national priorities, which will be presented to the FAO 1995 
Conference on Plant Genetic Resources. It is envisaged that this methodology will then 
be applied throughout the world at the country level as a key input to the year 2000 
Global Plan of Action. Central America has been identified for the pilot study because 
of its high level of indigenous crop genetic diversity - the region is recognised as a 
Vavilov Centre - and its well established network of agricultural, botanical and 
ethnological expertise. 

The loss of genetic diversity in agricultural crop plants is one of the most serious, but 
often overlooked, issues in the conservation of biodiversity, not least because of the need 
to maintain maximum diversity in the context of global climate change. This study will 
develop the tools and operational procedures for countries to identify and assess their 
own genetic assets as the basis for recognising their economic benefits and conservation 
priorities. 

6. Relevance to the Darwin Initiative 

The proposal fulfils the Darwin Initiative Committee's recommendations: 4(i) funding 
would have a catalytic role constituting only 25% of the pilot project costs and a 
considerably smaller proportion of total project costs; 4(ii) this research is not funded 
through traditional channels; 4(iii) the project focuses on conservation and sustainable 
use of biodiversity in areas rich in genetic resources; 4(iv) the project directly addresses 
obligations under the Biodiversity Convention; 5(i) the project is collaborative and will 
use existing links and develop additional links with institutes in developing countries; 
5(iv) it will provide information on wild progenitors of crop plants which may have 
direct benefit to in-country commercial activities; 5(v) it will involve local communities 
outside the UK specifically developing a methodology that will be applied not only to 
wild relatives of crops in South America, but also to those in Africa and Asia. 

7. International Context: 

7. 1 The key principle underlying the Convention on Biological Diversity, signed by 
158 countries at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, is the need to generate 
economic incentives through sustainable use programmes for countries to 
conserve their biological resources. Because of the potential provided by 
biotechnology to develop such economic benefits, the Convention gives specific 
attention to the issues of access to genetic resources, the transfer of relevant 
skills and technologies, and the fair and equitable sharing of economic benefits, 
arising from the exploitation of genetic materials. 

7.2 Clearly, this focus on biotechnology and commercial exploitation assumes that 
a country has the capability to recognise and evaluate the genetic resources it has 
at its disposal. The Convention therefore places particular emphasis on the need 
to identify genetic materials that offer the greatest potential for sustainable use, 
and on monitoring processes and activities that are likely to have a significant 
adverse effect upon their conservation (Article 7). 

7.3 This emphasis upon the use of genetic resources is reinforced by Resolution 3 of 
the Conference for the Adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity 



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(May 1992), which "recognises the benefits arising from the care and 
improvement by the- peoples of the world of animal, plant and microbial genetic 
resources to supply their basic needs...". Resolution 3 goes on to propose: 

• the identification and monitoring of plant genetic resources of potential value 
for food and sustainable agriculture 

• the promotion of genetic diversification in crop production in agricultural 
systems 

• the promotion of research on, and utilisation of, poorly known but potentially 
useful plants and crops 

• the strengthening of national capabilities for the identification and utilisation 
of plant genetic resources 

7.4 These measures are strengthened by the section on the Conservation and 
Sustainable Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Sustainable 
Agriculture included in Agenda 21 (chapter 14) of the Earth Summit. This 
statement recognises the accelerating rate of genetic erosion of crop species, and 
amongst other activities calls for: 

• the characterisation, evaluation and utilisation of plant genetic resources for 
agriculture, particularly for the minor crops and other under-utilised or non- 
utilised species, including tree species for agro-forestry 

• the establishment of mechanisms to assess, study, monitor and use plant 
genetic resources to increase food production 

• the establishment of joint activities, including training, for research on plant 
genetic resources through networks of collaborating institutions 

• the development of regional and global networks for the protection of plant 
genetic resources in situ in conservation areas 

• the building of in-country capabilities through training, raising awareness and 
technology transfer 

• the preparation of periodic state-of-the-world reports on plant genetic 
resources 



7.5 Agenda 21 also makes the specific proposal (paragraph 14.62) to develop major 
collaborative projects involving developed and developing countries for the 
advancement of basic scientific research in plant genetic resources, particularly 
for the enhancement of poorly known or neglected crops. 

7.6 It can be seen, therefore, that there is an internationally recognised need to 
develop a collaborative programme with a global application to identify, study 
and monitor the status and use of plant genetic resources, particularly the wild 
relatives of economically important and poorly known crop species. This 
proposal has been developed in response to that challenge. 



8. Project Overview: 

8.1 It is proposed to establish a broad-based consortium involving developed and 
developing country agencies drawn from both the governmental and private 
sectors to undertake the project. The main focus will be to gather baseline data 
on the status, distribution, and utilisation of plant genetic resources throughout 
Central America as the basis for their conservation and sustainable use. 

8.2 The data collection will be undertaken by appropriate in-country organisations 
using a standard methodology. All participating agencies will contribute to the 



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development of this methodology through a workshop to be held at the 
commencement of the project. The primary role of the developed country 
participants will be to contribute their data holdings, to assist the in-country 
agencies in implementing the methodology, to provide training and skills transfer, 
and to contribute to the process of building capacity within the region. In 
addition, WCMC will serve as the catalyst for the development of the project, 
will coordinate the activities of the agencies in-country, and will synthesise the 
final regional report. 

8.3 The information generated by the project will reside in an appropriate database 
format within the countries, and will provide the basis for quantifying the 
diversity and potential value of their genetic resources. Such recognition of their 
genetic materials will reinforce the strategies and action plans that the countries 
will be preparing under the terms of the Biodiversity Convention. 

8.4 Although the full scope of the project will be agreed collectively by all the 
participating agencies, it is envisaged that the primary orientation will be focused 
towards the wild relatives and landraces of commercial crops, particularly those 
that are: 

• of economic significance, particularly at the farm level 

• important for maintaining in situ genetic diversity 

• threatened with extinction or serious exploitation in the wild 

• of limited geographical distribution 

• experiencing severe genetic erosion 

• poorly researched and little known 

• protected within existing conservation areas 

• included in ex situ programmes 



8.5 The project is envisaged as comprising four distinct phases: 

Phase 1: Feasibility Assessment 

- explore the need, practicalities and logistics of undertaking the study with the 
main international agencies working in the genetic resources sector, 
particularly the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the 
International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR), both based in Rome 

- identify the relevant collaborating agencies, both international and from within 
the region, and seek their participation 

- convene a small pre-workshop appraisal meeting of the main participating 
agencies at which to assess the strategic planning, operational procedures and 
achievability of the project 

Phase 2: Project Scoping 

- prepare a detailed proposal based on the appraisal meeting as input to a 
scoping workshop 

- convene a planning workshop within the region involving all the participating 
agencies for the purpose of agreeing the scope, practicalities and procedural 
arrangements for the project, including the drafting of a methodology for the 
data gathering and assessment 

- formalise and agree the methodology with a set of user guidelines for in- 
country implementation 

- agree the options and procedures to safeguard the intellectual property rights 
of farmers, local communities and nations in the Central American region 



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- develop a full operational plan for Phase 3 agreed by all participants which 
will be used to secure the necessary funds 

Phase 3: Pilot Project, Central America 

- undertake the study within the Central American region as agreed at the 
scoping workshop, applying the methodology and guidelines 

- assess the national needs and priorities for the conservation and sustainable use 
of plant genetic resources 

- demonstrate the potential benefits and values of genetic variability at the farm, 
community and government levels as an incentive for genetic resource 
conservation 

- establish the in-country capability to monitor the status, threats and use of 
plant genetic resources 

- synthesise a report on the conservation and sustainable use of the plant genetic 
resources of Central America 

- revise the methodology and guidelines in the light of the experience of the 
pilot study for promulgation throughout the world 

Phase 4: Global Application 

- assess the conservation status, sustainable use and economic benefits of the 
plant genetic resources of the regions of the world through the application at 
the country level of the methodology and guidelines revised in context of the 
experience of the Central American pilot study 

8 . 6 The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is convening in mid- 1 995 the Fourth 
International Technical Conference on the Conservation and Sustainable Use 
of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Sustainable Agriculture, which is 
likely to call for a Global Plan of Action and a State-of-the- World Report. It is 
proposed that the Central American report be tabled at this FAO Conference, and 
that the revised methodology be promulgated for adoption by countries as part 
of the Global Plan of Action. 

8.7 Agenda 21 calls for countries to adopt policies and programmes for the in situ, 
on-farm, and ex situ conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources 
by the year 2000. Such national programmes must be based upon a rational 
assessment of the status, use and values of their genetic resources. It is the goal 
of this project to stimulate the compilation of the data necessary for determining 
national priorities under the Global Plan of Action. The project will therefore 
contribute directly to the in situ assessment of plant genetic resources as a key 
contribution to the 1995 FAO Conference. 



9. Project Content: 

9.1 The work programme and institutional responsibilities will be agreed at the 
scoping workshop. The emphasis will be to facilitate the national agencies to 
undertake the in-country data gathering and priority assessments with the 
international agencies providing technical and scientific support as appropriate. 
The existing national capabilities vary considerably - some countries such as 
Costa Rica and Mexico already have substantial programmes under way for 
prospecting and assaying plant genetic resources, whereas others have little or 
none. In so far as is possible, the experience of agencies within the region, such 
as Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio) of Costa Rica, and the 
Universidad Nacional Autdnoma de Mexico (UNAM), will be mobilised for 



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training and capacity building in other countries, supplemented by the 
international agencies as appropriate. 

9.2 It is anticipated that the scoping workshop will want to consider the following 
aspects of the work programme, although this list is not intended to be exclusive: 

i. determine what information on plant genetic resources of Central 
America is available and in what format 

survey the existing data sets held by such institutions as WCMC; Missouri 
Botanical Garden; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Royal Botanic Garden, 
Edinburgh; Conservatoire et Jardins Botaniques, Geneve; ILDIS; 
Conservation International; INBio; UNAM, and other national and 
international data centres (see Section 10 for full names of acronyms); 
ascertain best method of sharing data through common file structures or 
through agreed transfer formats 

ii. determine which plant genetic resources are of the highest priority for 
conservation and sustainable use 

on the basis of the data collected and the perspectives of the in-country 
institutions, determine the taxonomic groups and geographical locations 
for priority assessment 

iii. develop a standard methodology for gathering the data in-country, 
and prepare guidelines to facilitate national agencies undertaking this 
work 

to ensure comparability in the national assessments, it is intended to 
develop a common methodology with accompanying guidelines for the 
data management; the outline of this method will be agreed at the 
workshop with the final version endorsed by the participating agencies as 
the mechanism for data gathering 

iv. establish a procedural and financial mechanism to honour intellectual 
property rights of the suppliers of the information 

work with in-country experts and institutions as well as international 
bodies to create a structure in which information on plant genetic 
resources can be shared; this will include identifying the relevant in- 
country institutions to coordinate data gathering activities and to establish 
an appropriate mechanism to ensure that the farmers and local 
communities providing the information share in any commercial benefits; 
the mechanism must recognise the intellectual property rights inherent in 
the information, particularly relating to traditional uses by indigenous 
peoples, farmers and local communities whose interests must be fully 
considered. The process of gathering data on traditional plant uses and 
plant genetic resources must not be allowed to create opportunities for 
unscrupulous collectors to benefit without adequate safeguards of the 
interests of the information sources 

v. establish a cooperative network of campesinos, in-country and out-of- 
country experts, national biodiversity centres, and international 
agencies to share existing information and to gather the information 



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that is not available 

facilitate the cooperative ties and information sharing amongst institutions 
and researchers, and make the information available to all interested 
parties in a variety of appropriate formats - reports, diskettes, and on 
global electronic networks, such as the Internet; sharing this information - 
including bibliographic data, ongoing projects, and geographic and taxon- 
based data (these data sets will, therefore, be textual as well as graphic, 
such as maps and images) - will help reduce duplication of effort, better 
focus and integrate existing research programmes in different countries, 
and identify the gaps in the existing information; technical assistance will 
also be offered for the development and expansion of plant genetic 
resources databases being developed in-country 

vi. map the distribution of plants deemed to be of highest priority; 
correlate these maps with maps of human populations and settlement 
patterns 

using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, map the overlap 
of species diversity, cultural diversity, human population demography, and 
the development pressure upon biological resources; utilize this 
information to fine-tune the priorities set in ii. above 



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vii. provide training to in-country personnel 

work with national institutions and international agencies to train 
personnel in conservation and genetic sampling techniques as part of the 
process of building the in-country capacity for the improved management 
of plant genetic resources 

viii. sample the genetic diversity of the priority species, restricting initial 
activities to a small number of taxa in a few areas 

using in-country scientists, students, and parataxonomists, carry out 
intensive studies on the genetic variability and stability of several priority 
species; it may be possible to develop a coefficient of kinship as a 
measure of genetic diversity in major crop types in specific localities as 
a baseline for monitoring genetic erosion 

ix. collect and maintain appropriate material in local and international 
gene-banks and seed-banks 

incorporate material into appropriate facilities and ensure its long-term 
storage, curation and access; the project will not include sufficient 
resources to support the ex situ facilities themselves, but will ensure that 
the species and varieties are included in ex situ collections 

x. assess or facilitate floristic checklists, inventories, and floras for the 
conservation areas of the region to determine which species are 
protected in those areas and which are not 

assess the extent to which the plant species are already protected within 
conservation areas through the completion of surveys and floristic 
inventories; ensure that the management plans for protected areas give full 
recognition to the conservation of plant genetic resources within their 
boundaries; compare the distribution of species of high conservation 
concern for their genetic importance with their presence in protected 
areas, and work with the relevant national authorities to ensure the 
adequate protection of such species that lie outside conservation areas; 
promote the establishment of new protected areas in identified centres of 
high genetic diversity 

xi. coordinate the conservation activities of the botanic gardens and 
similar organizations in the region to carry out in situ and ex situ 
conservation programs 

work with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) to ensure 
that the botanic gardens in the region are working in a coordinated fashion 
to preserve and study as much of their plant genetic resources as possible; 
this conservation work will include both in situ and ex situ activities, and 
will need to encompass a wide variety of kinds of plants - wild species 
(used both for extractive and non-extractive purposes), landraces, semi- 
domesticates, and cultivated plants 



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10. Project Outputs: 

10. 1 At the farm and local community level: 

a greater appreciation of the uses and benefits of maintaining genetic 

diversity in agricultural crops 

an improved realisation of the economic values of plant genetic resources 

as an incentive for their conservation 

a contribution to the on-going debate about farmers' rights, the 

commercial applications of traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, 

and intellectual property rights 

10.2 At the national government level: 

a greater awareness of the economic benefits of the sustainable use of 

genetic resources as an incentive for their conservation 

an improved ability to identify priorities for the conservation and 

sustainable use of biological resources to be incorporated in national 

biodiversity strategies and action plans 

an increased capability to plan and manage national genetic resources, 

based upon a comprehensive database of the status, distribution and use 

of plant genetic resources and the improved skills for their evaluation 

a re-appraisal of national agricultural policies and fiscal policies that 

impact genetic diversity 

an improved recognition of the national biological assets of the countries 

as an input to their negotiations with overseas companies for the 

commercial exploitation of their genetic resources 

a contribution to the debate about access to genetic resources, transfer of 

biotechnology, and the equitable showing of benefits arising from the 

commercial use of genetic materials 

10.3 At the regional level: 

a regional review of the status, distribution and use of the most 

economically important plant genetic resources of Central America 

a regional assessment of the priorities for the conservation and sustainable 

use of the plant genetic resources of Central America, based on the 

national analyses 

a contribution to the regionally-based initiatives for crop improvements 

and sustainable agriculture 

10.4 At the global level: 

a contribution to the identification and assessment of in situ plant genetic 
resources for the FAO 1995 Conference 

a tried and tested methodology with accompanying user guidelines for 
application by countries as a contribution to the proposed FAO Global 
Plan of Action 



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11. Participating Agencies: 

This project is inherently collaborative in nature, and much effort will be needed to 
organize and manage an international network of institutions and individual researchers 
working in this area. A partial list of proposed collaborating institutions includes: 

11.1 International agencies: 

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), UK 

Comisidn Nacional de Recursos Fitogen6ticos de Costa Rica (CONAREFI) 

Conservation International (CI), US 

Conservatoire et jardins botaniques, Geneve, Switzerland 

Consortium on Plant Resources of the Americas (COPRA), US 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Italy 

International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR), Italy 

International Legume Database and Information Service (ILDIS), UK 

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Mexico 

IUCN - The World Conservation Union, Switzerland 

Mesoamerican Plant Genetic Resources Network (REMERFI) 

Missouri Botanical Garden, US 

New York Botanical Garden, US 

Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS), US 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, UK 

Smithsonian Institution, US 

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), US 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, US 

11.2 National agencies: 

Asociacidn para la Conservacidn de Naturaleza (ANCON), Panarni 
Asociacidn para la Investigacidn y Propagacidn de Especies Panamenas (AIPEP), 

Panama 
Center for Agricultural Technology (CENT A), El Salvador 
Centra Agrondmico Tropical de Investigacidn y Ensehanza (CATIE), Costa Rica 
Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, Costa Rica 

Forage Legume and Pasture Research Program, Ministry of Agriculture, Belize 
Institute of Agronomic Research, University of San Carlos, Guatemala 
Institute of Science and Agricultural Technology (ICTA), Guatemala 
Instituto Interamericano de Cooperacidn para la Agriculture (IICA), Costa Rica 
Institute Mexicano de Recursos Naturales Renovables (IMERNAR), M6xico 
Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio), Costa Rica 
National Autonomous University of Honduras 
Nicaraguan Genetic Resources (REGEN), Nicaragua 
Panamerican Agricultural School El Zamorano, Honduras 
Secretary for Natural Resources (SRN), Honduras 
Universidad Nacional Autdnoma de Mexico (UNAM), Mexico 

12. WCMC data holdings: 

12.1 WCMC manages substantial data holdings on the status, distribution, threats, 
management and utilisation of biodiversity, sorted at the country or state level. 
Of these, the following holdings are likely to be the most important for this 
project: 



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Threatened plants 

WCMC holds information on nearly 69,000 taxa (species, subspecies, and 
varieties) of plants, making this one of the largest such data sets in the world. 
For each of these plants, computerised records are kept for the scientific and 
common name(s), important synonyms, source of name, life form, endemism, 
world distribution, and conservation status (using the IUCN Red Data Book 
categories at both the global level and for each country in which the plant is 
native). This information is linked to the plants bibliographic database. 
Although the database is composed in large part by threatened plants, the same 
structure is used to store information on other groups of plants - such as taxa 
covered under CITES, tropical timbers subject to international trade, and single- 
country endemics. 

Bibliography 

The WCMC plants bibliographic database is the world's largest computerised 
bibliography dealing with plant conservation issues. Its 15,000 records are linked 
extensively to other parts of the plants databases. 

Plant species richness / endemism 

WCMC holds tabular information on floristic richness for virtually all countries 
of the world, and in connection with the IUCN Centres of Plant Diversity 
project, has access to textual and georeferenced data on centres of endemism and 
high species richness. 

Habitats 

Using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology, WCMC holds digital 
data on a wide variety of topics: tropical moist forests (management, locality, 
extent, type, threats) at the national, regional, and global levels; wetlands of 
international importance; coastal areas of ecological vulnerability; global 
vegetation classifications; information on centres of plant and avian diversity; 
other habitat types at the national, regional and global levels. 

Protected Areas 

WCMC holds computerised information on the name, location, size, and 
management of over 32,000 protected areas. Each country has a data file 
describing the national system of protected areas, including its legal and 
institutional base, supported by individual site files providing detailed data on the 
main areas. This information includes all sites listed under the World Heritage 
Convention (natural sites), Ramsar wetland sites, and Biosphere Reserves. 

Floristic Inventories of Protected Areas 

WCMC maintains lists of plant species occurring in national parks and protected 
areas for those few areas that have undertaken botanical inventories. This work 
is being expanded to enable the plants database to track species protected in more 
than one area, and to record the species each area contains. 

Through an on-going contract with the CrTES Secretariat, WCMC holds 1.6 
million transaction records of CrTES-regulated organisms or derivatives. 



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460,000 of these transaction records relate to plants, linking country of export, 
import, taxon, quantity, and unit. These species represent an important economic 
asset, which, if managed on the basis of sustainable use, can provide a real 
conservation incentive to the exporting country. 

12.2 Approximately 12,000 flowering plant species have been used by people as food, 
but only about 150 have been cultivated to any extent, and today only 20 species 
are responsible for supplying 90% of the world's food. An estimated 30,000 to 
70,000 plant species have been used medicinally by local peoples, yet despite the 
fact that approximately 80% of the world's population relies entirely on local 
medicines made almost exclusively from plants, only about 5,000 species have 
been scientifically analyzed for their pharmaceutical properties. A recent request 
from IBPGR to WCMC asked for information on threatened species in 351 
genera of economic importance; these genera belong to 95 families of higher 
plants (gymnosperms and angiosperms), and they are currently represented by 
9,825 taxa in WCMC threatened plant database. 

12.3 According to the WCMC Plants database, 24,000 taxa of higher plants are 
threatened at the world level, and another 10,000 taxa are threatened at the 
national level in one or more countries where they are native. These 34,366 
threatened plants represent over 12% of all higher plants. They are distributed 
in 6,079 genera in 405 families. The largest number is found in the tropics and 
subtropical zone. 

12.4 Wild species are generally more variable than their corresponding crop, despite 
often being known from smaller numbers of samples, and have larger and/or 
different spectra of alleles. Even though 24,000 taxa are known to be threatened 
with extinction, there is an unknown, but presumably much larger, number of 
taxa whose genetic variability is being irreversibly lost. Thus, the study and 
preservation of wild species in gene-banks, field gene-banks, seed-banks, and 
botanic gardens is of critical importance. 



13. Why Central America for the Pilot Study? 

13.1 The Mesoamerican Region is recognised as being one of the nine Vavilov 
Centres of the world, areas of exceptional concentration of crop plant variation. 
The area of southern Mexico/Guatemala is also recognised as one of four nuclear 
centres from which agricultural practices have spread throughout the world (see 
attached map). The reasons for its crop diversity include the great age of 
cultivation in the region, the wide range of ecological conditions and farming 
practices, and the processes of natural selection caused by the presence of many 
different pests and diseases. 

13.2 These Vavilov Centres are of immense conservation importance because of their 
crop genetic variability, and are of major cultural significance because of the 
diversity of agricultural practices. Both are now under threat with serious 
genetic erosion arising from the accelerating destruction of natural habitats and 
from the widespread adoption of genetically uniform crop varieties. There is an 
urgent need to document and preserve this diversity. 



13.3 Central America is home to several major food crops of regional and global importance 
- Capsicum annuum (chili pepper, sweet pepper), Carica papaya (papaya), Dioscorea 



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spp. (yam), lpomoea batatas (sweet potato), Persea americana (avocado), Phaseolus 
lunatus (lima bean), Phaseolus vulgaris (haricot bean), Zea mays (sweet corn, maize), 
and Zeaperennis and Zea diploperennis. Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato), a native 
of Andean South America, was probably first domesticated in Mexico, while the centre 
of cultivation of the South American Theobroma cacao (cocoa) is in Central America. 

13.4 There is a good basis of botanical knowledge for Central America on which to base this 
project. This information base comes from nationally and regionally based initiatives 
(e.g., Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)-supported 
international agricultural centres; International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center 
(CIMMYT), Mexico; Centra Agrondmico Tropical de Investigacidnes (CATIE); 
Comisidn Nacional de Recursos Fitogeneticos de Costa Rica (CONAREFI)); 
multinational initiatives (e.g., Flora Mesoamericana (a collaborative effort of 
Missouri Botanical Garden, Universidad Nacional Autdnoma de Mexico, and the 

- Natural History Museum, London); Flora Neotropica (coordinated by The New York 
Botanical Garden); IUCN-Smithsonian Institution-World Conservation Monitoring 
Centre Latin American Plants Project; EBPGR; FAO); and predominantly North 
American initiated work (e.g., the Conservation Data Centers (CDCs) of The Nature 
Conservancy; the Rapid Assessment Program of Conservation International; Institute 
of Economic Botany (IEB) of the New York Botanical Garden; Organization of 
Tropical Studies (OTS)). 

13.5 There is also a long history of strong botanical networks involving Central America, 
resulting in several modern regional and national floras mentioned above. The calibre 
of in-country botanical and technical expertise is high, and there are a great many 
national initiatives already under way. None of them, however, directly address the 
issues of plant genetic resources on a regional basis. 

13.6 Central America is an excellent region for the pilot project because of its strong 
existing knowledge-base, because it is has been extensively surveyed (unlike South 
America), and because it is a relatively small (only nine countries) but floristically rich 
(over 20,000 species) area. The methodologies developed will undergo extensive and 
appropriate field testing in this pilot project before they are promulgated on the global 
scale. 



14. Project Schedule: 

Phase 1 

Phase 2 



Phase 3 



Phase 4 



commence 


January 


1994 


appraisal meeting 


March 


1994 


commence 


April 


1994 


scoping workshop 


June 


1994 


methodology and guidelines 


August 


1994 


full operational plan 


October 


1994 


commence 


November 


1994 


interim report 


June 


1995 


FAO Conference 


mid 


1995 


final Central American report 


October 


1995 


revised methodology and guidelines 


December 


1995 


commence 




1996 


State-of-the- World report 




2000 



17 August 1993 



:\ADMIN\PROGRAM\TRANSFER\120-4.PRO 



The Conservation and Sustainable use of the 
Plant Genetic Resources of Central America 

AGENDA 



Planning Appraisal Meeting 

8-10 March 1994 

WCMC Cambridge 



Tuesday 8 March 

10am- lpm Introductory Session 



1 Welcome and introduction to WCMC - Harriet Gillett 

2 Introduction to the project - Sara Oldfield 

3 Smithsonian Institution's Latin American Plants Program - Jane 
Villa-Lobos 

4 The work of IPGRI in Central America - Dr Daniel Debouck 

5 The work of CONAREFI and REMERFI - Luis G. Gonzalez 

6 The role of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - Roger Smith 

7 The work of CAB International - Dr Shaun Hobbs 



l-2pm Lunch 

2-2. 45pm Demonstration of BG Base 

3-5pm Discussion 



8 The availability of data on in situ conservation of plant genetic 
resources of Central America 

9 Refining the focus and objectives of the project 

- geographical coverage 

- habitat coverage 

- species coverage 

- inclusion of landraces 



Wednesday 9 March 

9-11. 30am Discussion 



10 Refining the focus and objectives of the project (cont'd) 

Page 2 



11. 30am- 12. 30pm Demonstration of GIS 
12. 30- 1.30pm Lunch 

1.30-5. 30pm Discussion 

1 1 Data collection and exchange - technical aspects 

12 Institutional arrangements for collaboration and data exchange 

13 Technology transfer and training 

Thursday 10 March 

9-1 lam Discussion 

14 Planning of scoping workshop - venue, participants, finance, 
preparation of key discussion documents 

11am- lpm Conclusions 

The afternoon will be free for further informal discussions and demonstrations at the Centre. 



Participants 

Dr Daniel Debouck, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) 
Harriet Gillett, WCMC 

Mr Luis Guillermo Gonzalez, President of the National Commission for Plant Genetic 
Resources of Costa Rica (CONAREFI). 

Sara Oldfield, WCMC 

Dr John Peacock, International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) 

Sir Ralph Riley, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. 

Chris Sharpe, WCMC 

Dr Roger Smith, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 

Jane Villa-Lobos, Smithsonian Institution. 

Dr Kerry Walter, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. 



PU (WCMC) - MAIL file as of 29 MAR 1994 Page 1 

elegates at Plant Genetic Resources Workshop 8-10 March 1994 at WCMC 



ML. MAILING LABEL. 



5034 Dr. Ir. Daniel G. Debouck, 
Genetic Diversity Research 
IPGRI Americas Group 
Oficina Regional para las 
Americas 
c/o CIAT A. A. 
6713 Cali 
COLOMBIA 



TY PHONE/FAX/EMAIL 

O W: (5723) 675050 X329 

F: (5723) 647243 
ciat-ipgri@cgnet . com 



5510 Ms. Harriet J. Gillett, Research I W: (0223) 277314 



Officer 

World Conservation Monitoring 

Centre 

219 Huntingdon Road 

Cambridge CB3 0DL 

UNITED KINGDOM 



H: 0223 322604 

F: (0223) 277316 
harriet.gillett@wcmc.org.uk 



5755 Mr Luis Gmo Gonzalez, Presidente I W: 

tComision Nacional de Recursos H: 
Fitogeneticos 
Apdo. 10309 (1000) F: 

San Jose 
COSTA RICA 



(506) 223-5922 
(506) 236-0610 

(506) 297 0449 



5752 Dr Shaun L A Hobbs, Head of 
Department 
CAB International 
Plant Breeding and Genetics 
Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8DE 
UNITED KINGDOM 



I W: (0491) 832111 

F: (0491) 833508 
cabi@cgnet . com 



J255 Ms. Sara F. Oldfield 

World Conservation Monitoring 

Centre 

219 Huntingdon Road 

Cambridge CB3 0DL 

UNITED KINGDOM 



I W: (0223) 277314 
H: 0767 677558 

F: (0223) 277136 

sara . oldf ield@wcmc . org . uk 



>754 Dr John M Peacock, Cereal 
Physiologist 

The International Center for 
Agricultural Research in the Dry 
Areas (ICARDA) 
PO Box 5466 
Aleppo 
SYRIA 



I W: 963 21 213 477 



F: 963 21 213 490 



753 Sir Ralph Riley 
16 Gog Magog Way 
Stapleford, Cambridge 
UNITED KINGDOM 



757 Mr Roger Smith 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 

Wakehurst Place 

Ardingly 

Haywards Heath, Sussex RH17 6TN 



I H: (0223) 843845 



CB2 5BQ 






Kew 


I 


W: 081 332 5080 
F: 0444 892714 



TPU (WCMC) - MAIL file as of 29 MAR 1994 Page 2 

Delegates at Plant Genetic Resources Workshop 8-10 March 1994 at WCMC 



MAIL. MAILING LABEL TY PHONE/FAX/EMAIL. 



4209 Ms. Jane Villa-Lobos, 
Coordinator 

IUCN/SI/WCMC Latin American 
Plants Project 
Smithsonian Institution 
Department of Botany, NHB-166 
Washington, DC 20560 
USA 



I W: 202-357-2027 

H: 301-330-1687 

F: 202-786-2563 
mnhbo019@Bivm. si . edu 



4252 Dr. Kerry S. Walter 
Royal Botanic Garden 
Inverleith Row 
Edinburgh EH3 5LR 
SCOTLAND 



I W: 031 552-7171 EXT 246 
H: 031-556 1910 
F: 031 552-0382 



DRAFT 

CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE UTILISATION OF 
PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES OF CENTRAL AMERICA 

Discussion paper 

Introduction 

The project, Conservation and sustainable utilisation of plant genetic resources of Central 
America focuses on the identification, management and economic valuation of in situ plant 
genetic resources of Central America. The project aims to mobilise the existing network of 
botanical expertise, together with a large consortium of governmental and non-governmental 
agencies, to build the capacity of in-country institutions to monitor, manage and evaluate 
their plant genetic resou r ces. The information generated will remain with the national 
agencies, but arising out of the regional assessment will be a set of guidelines and database 
tools for assisting other countries to undertake reviews of their own in situ genetic resources. 
These guidelines will then be promulgated through the 1996 FAO Conference on the 
Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Sustainable 
Agriculture. 

As specified in the project proposal, the objectives of the project are: 

i. to assess the status, distribution and threats to the most economically 

important wild plants and their wild relatives in Central America. 

ii. to determine current and potential uses and economic benefits of the plant 
genetic resources of the region. 

iii. to promote the conservation of genetic variation amongst the wild progenitors 
and landraces of agricultural crop plants in the region. 

iv. to reinforce the economic values of plant genetic resources as an incentive for 
countries in the region to conserve their biodiversity. 

v. to build the capabilities of the national institutions within the region to 
identify, evaluate and utilise their plant genetic resources as a key component 
of the biological wealth of the countries. 

vi. to develop a methodology and operational practice for quantifying the status, 
use and economic values of plant genetic resources that can be applied in 
other regions of the world. 

The project is thus broad in its scope and ambitious in its objectives. If the objectives are to 
be reached, careful planning and extensive collaboration will be essential. Funding for the 



initial phase of the project provides a valuable opportunity to prepare for this major initiative 
in plant genetic resource appraisal and conservation. The first phase of the project is 
essentially a feasibility exercise. Preliminary discussions have been held with IPGRI, FAO, 
and RBG Kew. InBio, COPRA, RBG Edinburgh, WWF, IUCN and others have been 
contacted to introduce the project and invite participation. Consultation is currently being 
extended to a wider network including the organisations listed in Annex 1. The planning and 
appraisal meeting brings together a small selected group of experts to discuss the scope and 
practicalities of the project. 

The meeting will identify further participating organisations and the working relationships 
between them. It will also refine the scope of the project in terms of the species, habitats and 
geographical area to be covered. This discussion paper has been prepared as a background 
document for the meeting, to identify the key issues involved and to provide information, in 
the Annexes, to substantiate the discussions. 

Issues 

Participants and Networking 

Discussions with IPGRI and FAO have emphasised the fundamental need to ensure full 
involvement with national partners in Central America from the outset of the project. The 
main national organisations have been identified. They will be invited to join the initiative 
following the development of a preliminary strategy at the planning and appraisal meeting. 
It is anticipated that all relevant national agencies will be invited to the scoping workshop to 
be held in Central America later in the year. Full NGO involvement will be encouraged, with 
further consultation to identify the relevant organisations to invite. 

Networking between the genetic resource community in Central America is developing 
effectively with the recent creation of REMERFI and COPRA. 

Networking between conservation agencies active in the region operates on various levels. 
Intergovernmental cooperation is, for example, promoted by CICAD, the Central American 
Council for Environment and Development. HJCN's regional office for Meso-America 
(ORMA) also has a key role to play in promoting collaboration within the region. 

Networking between botanists is also well-established within the region. The preparation of 
Flora Mesoamericana is a major collaborative venture between botanists inside and outside 
the region. The botanical community has also collaborated very effectively in the collection 
of information on threatened plants. One result is the development of the major review, 
Threatened plants of Central America, which is being published by the Smithsonian 
Institution and WCMC. 

The extent to which farmers and local communities can be reached by the project will need 
to be further considered. Discussions with RBG Kew have initially emphasised the difficulties 
of trying to involve local people in a broad initiative of this nature, particularly where they 
are not involved in the NGO networks. It may however be possible to link with existing 
initiatives such as the Plants for People initiative of UNESCO, WWF and RBG Kew. 



The current project allows the opportunity to bring together the different interest groups, to 
facilitate information exchange and action planning. Preliminary discussions have indicated 
that the development of complementarity of studies and closer collaboration should be one 
of the main benefits of this initiative. 

Species coverage 

One of the key objectives of the project is to assess the status, distribution and threats to the 
most economically important plants and their wild relatives in Central America. There is an 
extensive and growing body of literature on the economic and other useful plants of the 
region from which species lists can be drawn. From such information it may be necessary 
to select certain genera and/or species for priority consideration and various plant groups 
have been suggested. 

1. Fruit trees and vegetables. 

2. Groups considered as priorities for attention by REMERFI, as identified at the Second 
Preparatory meeting, (see Annex 2). 

3. Wild relatives of crop species. 

4. Timber species. 

5. Threatened wild plant species. 

The project's emphasis on economic plants has been questioned with the suggestion that 
socially important plants should also be considered. 

Data collection and exchange 

A clear need has been recognised during preliminary project discussions for coordination of 
information collection and storage for the in situ conservation of plant genetic resources. 
Whereas common formats for data collection and procedures for data exchange are well- 
established on an international basis for ex situ plant conservation, particularly for crop 
genetic resources, this is not yet the case for in situ conservation. 

Priorities for discussion at an early stage will be mechanisms and formats for exchange of 
information, the extent to which it is practical and desirable to compare and link the datasets 
of key organisations and existing networks, and how major gaps in the existing data can be 
filled. It will be useful to discuss the respective roles of different organisations 

Methodologies 

Procedures for the collection of field data need to be addressed. Methodologies are, for 
example, needed to locate populations to be conserved in situ, and also methods for 
monitoring and managing these populations once located. 

In general it would appear that inventory of the plant genetic resources within protected areas 
remains a priority in Central America. Once this information is collected and collated it will 
be important to assess to the extent to which the genetic resources of a particular species are 
effectively conserved. 



The Genetic Diversity Group of IPGRI plays a key role in the development of methodologies 
for collecting for ex situ conservation. Ecogeographical survey methodology is being 
developed for collecting purposes and has been tested in Morocco, Pakistan and Syria on 
vegetable species. The relevance of such techniques for in situ conservation purposes could 
be considered. IPGRI is also looking at the prediction and measurement of genetic erosion 
and the social and economic aspects of collecting formats. 



It is intended that a forestry expert based in the Latin American Office of IPGRI, will work 
on the development of ecogeographical surveys for individual timber species. The species 
chosen will be decided locally by collaborating institutions. 



Annex 1 

Organisations involved in Plant Genetic Resource Conservation in Central America 

This overview is far from complete, but indicates the range of key organisations, which are 
likely to be involved in the project, outlining their current activities. 

Regional Organisations 

REMERFI 

A recently established regional network which promotes the conservation and, through plant 
breeding and biotechnology, the utilisation of plant genetic resources. REMERFI is 
sponsored by CATIE, FAO, IPGRI and ICCA. 

Consortium on Plant Resources of the Americas (COPRA) 

The intention of COPRA is to promote and enhance cooperation in the study, rational use 
and conservation of useful plant resources of the Americas. An information system is planned 
to: 

- develop and maintain relevant databases and directories of plant resources projects 

- develop a network index to plant resource databases 

- identify gaps in knowledge with regard to plant resources 

The Smithsonian Institution (Department of Botany) is providing an interim base for COPRA. 
Other organisations involved in the creation of COPRA include: AID, Office of Forestry, 
Environment & Natural Resources, USA; BGCI; IUCN/SI Latin American Plants Project; 
Instituto Nacional Indigenista, Mexico; Missouri Botanical Garden; New York Botanical 
Garden; The Nature Conservancy Latin America Program; USDA, National Germplasm 
System; WCMC; WRI; WWF-US, Biodiversity Support Program. 

It is intended to involve all relevant national organisations in the countries concerned and 
regional bodies such as REMERFI. 

The Tropical Agricultural Research and Training Center (CATIE): 

CATIE plays a central role in the coordination of research and training in relation to the 
biodiversity of Central America. The member countrie of CATIE are Costa Rica, Dominican 
Republic, Guatemals, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. One of CATlE's technical 
activities is the REnewable Natural Resources Department, which has four programmes: 
agroforestry, silviculture, wildlands and watershed management. One of the primary 
objectives of the wildlands programme is managing protected areas in Central America and 
elsewhere in Latin America, including in situ genetic resource conservation. Other services 
provided by CATIE include maintenance of the Central America regional fruit germplasm 
collection; and Informacidn y Documentacidn Fcrestal para America Tropical (INFORAT). 

CATIE, with technical support from IUCN, is currently managing a project called 
"Conservation for sustainable development in Central America. " Activities under this include 



the planning of an integrated system of protected areas for the Department of El Peten in 
Guatemala and the sustainable use of non-timber products by local communities in the area 
of Talamanca in Costa Rica. 

IUCN Regional Office for Meso-America (ORMA) 

ORMA is responsible for regional; programmes on wetlands, wildlife management and 
marine and coastal resources. In 1992 the Regional Office set up a GIS Unit. Geographical 
databases have been prepared for projects in Nicaragua and Costa Rica and a general 
database for Costa Rica which includes information about protected areas and forest cover 
for the whole country. Databases are currently being prepared for the Forestry Pilot Project 
in Peten, Guatemala; for Trifino, between Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador; and for 
the Lago Atitlan Basin in Guatemala. 

International organisations 

Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) 

CGIAR was founded in 1971 as an independent, international consortium sponsored by FAO, 
the World Bank and UNDP. The CGIAR, which is serviced by a Secretariat (based at the 
World Bank, Washington, DC) and advised on scientific issues by a Technical Advisory 
Committee, TAC (based at FAO, Rome) carries out agricultural research through activities 
of its 17 International Agricultural Research Centres including CIAT, and CIMMYT. 
CIAT - Centro Internacional de Agriculture Tropical. Apartado Aereo 6713, Cali, Colombia. 
A CGIAR Centre, founded in 1967. Focuses on germplasm development (with global 
mandate for beans, cassava and tropical forages) and on resource management research in 
Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The Phaseolus bean collection consists of about 36,000 accessions, both cultivars and wild 
species. CIAT has preserved more than 20,000 forage accessions of more than 750 wild 
legume and grass species. The 5500 cassava accessions are mostly cultivated clones of 
Manihot esculenta, collected in primary centres of genetic diversity in South and Central 
America. CIAT conserves cassava germplasm both in the field and as an in vitro collection. 

CIAT emphasises a better understanding of the genetic diversity of the germplasm 
collections. Intensive research is under way in areas such as the origins of crops, improved 
observation methods, numerical taxonomy of key species, use of isozymes to study genetic 
structures, and molecular and biochemical finger printing (FAO, 1993). 

CIMMYT - Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo. PO Box 6641, Mexico 
06600 DF, Mexico. 

A CGIAR centre, founded in 1966. Focuses on crop improvement, research covers maize, 
wheat, barley and triticale. CIMMYT collects, evaluates, documents and maintains maize 
and wheat genetic resources for future and current use by agricultural researchers worldwide. 
CIMMYT staff monitor populations of landraces and teosinte through regular visits to 
farmers' fields and natural habitats in Mexico and Guatemala. 



UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 

The mandate of FAO is to support development efforts in fisheries, forests and agriculture. 
It provides technical assistance in its fields of competence; facilitates the free exchange of 
information and know-how between nations and assists member countries in the execution 
of field programmes in support of sustainable agricultural development. 

In 1962, FAO established a Panel of Experts on Plant Exploration and Introduction. This 
Panel was mandated to advise FAO on matters relating to plant genetic resources, and to help 
develop international guidelines for the collection, conservation and exchange of crop 
germplasm. A Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources was established in 1968 and 
remains active. One of its tasks is the regular updating of a list of species and provenances 
for which priority action is recommended in the field of exploration, conservation, collection, 
evaluation and utilisation. 

FAO's work on plant genetic resources encompasses the following activities: 

i. provision of an intergovernmental forum for discussion and negotiation - the 

Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, 
ii. provision of policy guidance through internaitonlly agreed documents (eg 

International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources approved in 1983) 
iii. collection, analysis and dissemination of information through its World 

Information and Early Warning System on Plant Genetic Resources, 
iv. provision of technical assistance to developing countries. 

FAO has convened three International Technical Conferences on plant genetic resources and 
a fourth is planned for 1996. This Conference, at which documentation on the State of the 
World's Plant Genetic Resources will be examined and an Action Plan presented, will include 
forest genetic resources as an explicit component of its programme. 

The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (EPGRI) 

IPGRI is an independent institute of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural 
Research (CGIAR), which has developed from the International Board for Plant Genetic 
Resources (IBPGR). The mandate of IPGRI is to advance the conservation and use 
of plant genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations. The objectives 
of IPGRI are: 

i. to assist countries, particularly developing nations, to assess and meet their 

needs for conservation of plant genetic resources, and to strengthen links with 
users of plant genetic resources. 

ii. to build international collaboration in the conservation and use of plant genetic 
resources. 

iii. to develop and promote improved strategies and technologies for plant genetic 
resources, and integrated methods of conservation. 



iv. to provide an information service to inform the world's genetic resources 
community of both practical and scientific developments in the field. 

IPGRI's work is carried out through collaboration with national institutions and research 
bodies. Providing technical support and training for national programmes is the basis for the 
work of the Institute. 

The focus of IPGRI's work is shifting to in situ conservation and the current WCMC project 
is seen as an essential next step in the collation of the necessary data. IPGRI is also 
expanding its role to cover forest genetic resources and again in situ is going to be the 
priority. Particular emphasis will be given to species with commercial and socio-economic 
importance. 

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 

UNEP was established in 1973 and charged with working with governments, other UN 
organisations and NGOs around the world to coordinate and catalyse action on the global 
environment. 

UNEP coordinates the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) and the Global 
Resource Information Database (GRID), elements of the United Nations Earthwatch 
programme. GEMS is a collective international programme to acquire, through global 
monitoring and assessment, the data that are needed for the rational management of the 
environment. GRID provides an environmental data management service throughout the 
United Nations. Data from satellites, aircraft and ground survey are incorporated into the 
system. WCMC is currently negotiating formal status as the biodiversity node of GEMS. 

UNEP Harmonization of Environmental Measurement office (UNEP-HEM) as part of GEMS 
is involved in a number of catalytic and coordinating activities aimed at improving the 
compatibility of environmental data on a global coverage. UNEP-HEM has recognised the 
importance of developing an improved, practical and widely-acceptable global classification 
scheme for vegetation classification. It has been considering various approaches to this 
problem in close cooperation with WCMC and also the International Geosphere Biosphere 
Programme core project Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (IGBP-GCTE). 

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 

UNDP has developed Environmental Management Guidelines, as a means of incorporating 
principles of environmental management into its work. UNDP funds a wide range of 
environmental projects including those which encourage sustainable development and the 
improvement of the 'quality of human life'. 

Unesco 

Unesco has responsibility for the World Heritage Convention (The Convention concerning 
the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage). This aims to protect natural and 
cultural areas of 'outstanding universal value' as World Heritage Sites. 



The conservation of tropical forests is an integral part of the Unesco Man and the Biosphere 
(MAB) Programme. A set of five interlinked types of tropical research activity is undertaken 
within the framework of the MAB Programme and related Unesco activities: 

• biological diversity, traditional ecological knowledge, and integrated 
conservation in the humid tropics 

• ecological and economic sustainability of tropical rain forest management 

• forest regeneration and ecosystem rehabilitation in the humid tropics 

• tropical soil fertility and its biological management 

• savanna ecology and management; responding to stress and disturbance. 

The overall objective of this work is to contribute to the development of sustainable land- 
use systems appropriate for the social, cultural and biological characteristics of the 
peoples and ecological systems of the humid and sub-humid tropics. Under the MAB 
Programme, internationally important areas are protected as Biosphere Reserves. These 
are selected and managed as natural or minimally-disturbed representative examples of 
the world's ecosystem types. They are also selected to demonstrate the relationship 
between conservation and development and may include buffer zones with varying levels 
of human use and exploitation. 

It is proposed that biosphere reserves be considered as a key element in the establishment 
of the FAO network of in situ conservation areas for plant genetic resources and be 
incorporated in the FAO Global Plan of Action. 

The World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC): 

WCMC is an independent charity established by IUCN, UNEP and WWF. Its aim is to 
support conservation and sustainable development by providing comprehensive and up-to- 
date information. WCMC's information resources relevant to this project include: plant 
species of conservation concern; important natural habitats and areas of special biological 
richness; protected areas; data on plant utilisation and trade and plant conservation 
bibliography. 

Information on Central American plant species has been collected through liaison with 
local botanists by the IUCN-WCMC-Smithsonian Institution Latin American Plants 
Project in Washington DC. These data have all recently been included in the Plants 
Database of WCMC. 

WCMC also receives information on the conservation status of plant species through the 
IUCN/ Species Survival Commission (SSC) network of specialist group members, for 
example experts of the Palm Group and Cactus and Succulent Group. Both these groups 
are preparing Action Plans which include information and recommendations of relevance 
to the project. 

Information on plant utilisation and trade relates, for example to plants listed under the 
CITES Convention and also to international trade in timber species. WCMC holds all the 
records of plant trade recorded in the Annual Reports of CITES member states on behalf 
of the CITES Secretariat. 



Information on the conservation status and trade in tropical timber species has been 
collected under contract to the International Tropical Timber Organisation (TTTO); 
European Union and National Governments. Further development of the timber data 
holdings is planned with financial support expected from the Dutch Government. A 
particular focus of this work will be timbers of Latin America through regional 
collaboration and data exchange. 

At present, the WCMC Plants database has over 3900 species recorded as tropical 
timbers or trees, 2560 of which are timbers and 600 recorded as threatened at a global 
level. A list of trees of Central America produced as an output of the Database is given 
as a supplement to this paper. 

WCMC maintains comprehensive data on protected areas of the world. Information is 
obtained from official sources (government agencies responsible for administering 
protected areas) and elsewhere, through a global network of contacts ranging from policy- 
makers and administrators to land managers and scientists. Supporting information is 
obtained from published and unpublished literature and other media. A list of the 
protected areas of Central America is given in Annex X . Management of information 
on natural World Heritage sites and biosphere reserves is undertaken in collaboration with 
IUCN and UNESCO. Data sheets on biosphere reserves and World Heritage Sites are 
given as a supplement to this paper. 

Links have been established between the WCMC Plants database and datasheets on 
protected areas. Presence within protected areas has been recorded for some plants 
species, for example, on tropical timber species as part of the work for ITTO. 

A review of floristic inventories for protected areas in the Tropics was undertaken by 
WCMC in 1992, based on information held by the Centre. The following are some of the 
protected areas of Central America for which WCMC held plant inventory data. 



10 



COUNTRY 


PROTECTED AREA 


PLANT INVENTORY 


Costa Rica 


Guanacaste NP 


Comprehensive tree 
list (215 spp.) 


Guatemala 


Atitlan NP 


Extensive higher plant list 
(290 spp.) 


Honduras 


Rio Platano Biosphere 
Reserve 


Preliminary higher plant list 
(114 spp.) 


Mexico 


El Cielo Biosphere 
Reserve 


Preliminary higher plant list 
(167 spp.) 


Mexico 


Reserva de la Michila 


Preliminary higher plant list 
(209 spp.) 


Mexico 


Sierra de Manantlan 


Comprehensive higher plant 
list (1958 spp.) 


Mexico 


Sian Ka'an Biosphere 
Reserve 


Comprehensive higher plant 
list (850 spp.) 


Nicaragua 


Volcan Masaya NP 


Preliminary higher plant list 
(228 spp.) 


Panama 


Darien NP 


Extensive tree list (290) 


Panama 


Isla Maje Reserve 


Preliminary higher plant list 
(219 spp.) J 



WWF 

WWF is the world's largest private international conservation organisation with 28 
Affiliate and Associate National Organisations around the world and over 4.7 million 
regular supporters. 

WWF's three primary goals are the preservation of global biodiversity, the conservation 
of forests, and the conservation of wetlands and coasts. WWF seeks to promote the 
conservation and sustainable use of annual, perennial, wild and cultivated plants through 
practical field programmes and policy work. One of its four themes in reaching these 
plant conservation goals is: germplasm conservation of economically important plants, 
notably in situ conservation of wild crop relatives, medicinal plants and species useful for 
land reclamation and agroforestry. 

Plants for People Programme: this is a joint programme of UNESCO, WWF and Royal 
Botanic Gardens Kew. The programme supports ethnobotanists to work with local 
communities in tropical countries to record and study the use of wild and semi-cultivated 
plant resources and to promote the sustainable use of such resources. 



11 



WWF supported projects: 

Ethnoflora of the Chinampa Agricultural System, Mexico (Project 6284): WWF is 
funding a project to highlight the advantages of this traditional farming system. Based in 
San Andres Mixquic, the project has already examined the flora and its uses by local 
people. Plant species of global importance have been documented, including teosinte. 

Threatened plant uses in protected areas (Project 6466): US/Mexican border. 

Ethnobotany in Oaxaca: Since 1985, WWF has been supporting ethnobotanical work in 
the state. Research on useful plants has been carried out by Chinantec, Mixtec and Mixe 
people who are sponsored by the Sociedad para el Estudio de los Recursos Bioticos de 
Oaxaca, Asociacion Civil (SERBO A.C.), a Mexican NGO that combines participatory 
studies of ecology and ethnobotany with communal management of forest resources. 

Central America: Forest Ecological Development of Large Scale Forestry Concessions. 
(Project 9647) 

Costa Rica: Osa Peninsula Forest Conservation and Management Project (BOSCOSA). 
(Project CR0025) 

Guatemala: People centred ecodevelopment - Sierra de las Minas Reserve. (Project 
GT0012) 

Guatemala: Agroecosystems as Conservation Resource in Neotropics. (Project GT0013) 

Guatemala: Participatory forestry planning for Mayan comuniites. (Project 9626) 

Honduras: documentation of resources of Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. (Project 
HN008) 

Honduras: Integrated management of the northern zone of the Rio Platano Reserve. 
(Project HN085 1.01) 

Mexico: Conservation and sustainable use of resources in Sian Ka'an Reserve. (Project 
MX0025) 

Mexico: Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve Establishment and Management. (Project 
MX0030) - work has included evaluating and researching the flora associated with honey 
bee production; and the pigeon pea Cajanus cajan populations. (Project MX0030) 

Mexico: Diagnostic study and evaluation of El Ocote Ecological Reserve. (Project 
MX0032) 

Mexico: Community development and natural resource management in the Calakmul 

Biosphere Reserve. (Project MX0853.1) 

Mexico: Planning and managing the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve. (Project 

MX0856) 

12 



Mexico: Conservation of tropical rain forests in Chiapas. (Project 3246) 

Mexico: Community development and natural resource management in El Ocote, 
Chiapas. (Project 9513) 

Panama: Management and sustainable development of Darien Biospohere Reserve. 
(Project PA0002) 

Panama: Management of La Amistad National Park. (Project PA0004) 

National Organisations 

INBio: 

The National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) is a non-profit and private Costa Rican 
institution established in 1989. InBio is dedicated to the conservation of wild land 
biodiversity through facilitating its nondestructive intellectual and economic uses both 
nationally and internationally. INBio operates under the assumption that a developing 
tropical society will only conserve a major portion of its wild biodiversity if this area can 
generate enough intellectual and economic income to pay for its own upkeep and also 
make a contribution to the national economy. 

The INBio Association is governed by an Assembly of Founders and a Board of 
Directors. INBio works closely with many other public and private institutions, both in 
Costa Rica and overseas. 

The divisions of INBio are: 

- The Division of National Biodiversity Inventory 

This Division is undertaking a comprehensive inventory of all taxa through broad 
participation. The basic field work is conducted by "parataxonomists" working out of 
local Biodiversity Offices. They are guided by INBio curators who work with a network 
of national and international curators and taxonomic specialists. Identified reference 
collections, field guides and electronic identification services such as expert systems are 
being developed. All information on the species, geographic distributions, and natural 
history are in the public domain and will be freely networked internationally. 

The Division of Biodiversity Prospecting 

Biodiversity prospecting is focused on the search for interesting chemicals produced by 
plants, insects and micro-organisms, that may be of use to the pharmaceutical and 
medical industry. Expansion is anticipated in areas such as pesticides and other industrial 
chemicals, and in the search for potentially valuable genes. 

The biodiversity prospecting and research process is carried out both in Costa Rican 
institutions, and in collaboration with foreign institutions of higher education and 
companies. 



13 



The recent contract between INBio and Merck, Inc. , is an example of collaboration with 
the commercial sector. Research samples collected in government-owned conserved wild 
lands are managed under a specific agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources, 
Energy and Mines (MIRENEM). These samples are passed to the commercial user under 
contract, who in turn pays INBio's costs - and therefore, indirectly the conserved wild 
lands' costs. Ten percent of all fees paid by the commercial user are paid directly into 
MIRENEM' s budget. Half of any royalties will go directly to MIRENEM; the other half 
will be used to maintain the INBio process. 

The Division of Biodiversity Information Management 

INBio's biodiversity information (specimen data, literature and field data) is growing 
rapidly, and when coupled with relevant supporting information such as topographic 
maps, soil maps, climate data, land use, and much more, the data package is extremely 
complex. Data management, including the development of GIS, is being undertaken in 
collaboration with Intergraph Corporation of Huntsville, Alabama, USA, and various 
other agencies. New technologies, including artificial intelligence and field data collection 
devices such as GeoPositioning Systems are being researched. 

The Division of Biodiversity Information Distribution 

Through this Division, INBio distributes biodiversity information widely throughout 
society. Activiites include making available natural history and taxonomic information to 
schools and universities, commenting on commercial development of conserved wild 
lands, working with legislators, being a member of policy-making commissions and 
symposia, training staff of conservation areas, producing hard copy field guides and other 
kinds of biodiversity literature and holding national and international planning meetings. 



The Nature Conservancy 

Established in 1951, The Nature Conservancy is an international, non-profit 
environmental organisation, sited in the USA, which is committed to the protection of 
natural diversity. The Nature Conservancy works with local conservation organisations 
throughout Latin America, helping to build their conservation capacity. A current 
cooperative campaign involving more than 30 conservation organisations, is 'Parks in 
Peril ' . This aims to improve management of 200 key protected sites in Latin America 
and the Caribbean by the end of the century. 

The Nature Conservancy is involved in the establishment and operation of a network of 
Conservation Data Centres (CDCs), through the provision of technical, scientific and 
administrative support and training. The Conservancy also makes available the computer 
technology, data inventory and management methodology and procedure manuals on 
which the CDC network is based. 



14 



Conservation Data Centres 

The CDCs in Central America are: 

CDC-Guatemala: Universidad de San Carlos 

CDC-Panama: ANCON 

CDC-Costa Rica: Programa de Patrimonio Natural (Fundacion Neotropica). 

Centro de datos para la conservacion de la naturaleza en Sonora, Mexico. 

World Resources Institute (WRI) 

WRI, sited in Washington DC, is an independent research and policy institute founded 
in 1982 to help governments, environmental and development organisation and the private 
sector, address sustainable resource use and development issues. The work of WRI 
focuses on six broad areas: climate, energy and pollution; forests and biodiversity; 
economics; technology; resource and environmental information; and institutions. 

RBGKew 

The mission of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is to ensure better management of the 
Earth's environment by increasing knowledge and understanding of the plant kingdom. 
Kew is involved in major biodiversity research programmes in many parts of the world 
and has collaborative links with botanical institutions worldwide. In the Central American 
region, for example, Kew has strong links with InBio in Costa Rica and UNAM. 

The focus for collaboration in this project will Kew's interdepartmental Drylands Group. 
Included within this are the Seed Bank and SEPASAL project. The Seed Bank stores and 
assesses the conditions of storage for wild species with a focus on arid and semi-arid land 
plants. The staff have extensive collecting experience and knowledge of policy issues 
relating to genetic resource conservation. 

The Plants for Arid and Semi-arid Lands (SEPASAL) project, within Kew's Centre for 
Economic Botany, brings together diverse traditional and academic knowledge on useful 
plants of drylands. The database is used to provide development organisations and 
individual research workers with information on useful plants and to target species for 
germplasm collection and storage. At present the database contains information on 
approximately 6000 dryland species, excluding major crop species. About 2000 of these 
are Central American plants, with a particular focus on Mexican species. 

Data currently held in the SEPASAL database include: scientific name (including 
synonyms); geographical distribution (to country or state level); life form and life cycle; 
habit; uses (linked to plant part used) and site and climate tolerances. An extensive 
upgrade of the database has recently begun. The number of species covered is being 
increased, and additional information on the species and use groups of particular interest 
is being added. The upgraded database will run on desk-top computers. 



15 



Alongside the SEPASAL database, Kew maintains an Economic Botany Bibliographic 
Database which currently contains citations to more than 150,000 references dealing with 
plants of economic value. 

Natural History Museum 

The Natural History Museum is the main focus for Central American botany within the 
UK. Flora Mesoamericana is a collaborative project organised by the Museum, UNAM 
and Missouri Botanical Garden. The Flora will be a concise guide to the identity and 
distribution of the approximately 18,000 species of flowering plants and ferns in tropical 
Middle America, from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico to the 
Panama/Colombia border. 

Other work being carried by Museum staff in relation to Central America include close 
collaboration with INBio and work on forest management in Belize. Scientists from the 
Museum have worked with Cost Rican biologists at InBio since its inception. They have 
made a considerable training input to the parataxonomists and curatorial staff. External 
funding has been secured for young Costa Rican biologists to work in the Natural History 
Museum to gain experience in collections management and familiarity with a wide range 
of biodiversity. 

The Oxford Forestry Institute (OFI): 

OFI is a world centre for forest research, development and education. The Institute's 
Forest Genetics Group, has established over three decades of activity, expertise in most 
key issues of forest genetic resources, in collaboration with many national agencies and 
institutions. The Group's programme areas are: 

i. exploration, acquisition and systematics 

ii. population genetics and reproductive biology 

iii. distribution and evaluation 

iv. quantitative genetics and breeding strategy 

Central America has been one of the two main geographical focuses for the work of the 
Forest Genetics Group. Since 1963, OFI has made collections in the entire Central 
American region for provenance and progeny trials, especially of pines. Since 1980 it has 
also made collections of tropical broadleaf trees from arid and semi-arid zones of Central 
America. 

Recent and current research projects relating to Central America include: 

Intensive study ofLeucaena genetic resources in Central America and Mexico. ODA- 
funded project R4524 from 1.1.90 to 31.12.94. 

Intensified transfer afforest genetic technology and information in C. America. (CATTE 
Tree Improvement project) ODA-funded project from 1.11.92 to 31.10.95. 



16 



Exploration and collection of Calliandra calothyrsus. ODA-funded project R4485 from 
1.10.90 to 30.9.93. - This project involved field collecting in Mexico and elsewhere in 
Central America. 

Evaluation of geentic variation in Gliricidia sepium. ODA-funded project R4525 from 
1.11.89 to 31.9.92. 

Other work includes collaboration with staff of the ODA-funded COSEFORH 
(Conservacidn y Mejoramiento de Recursos Forestales de Honduras) project in Honduras 
on biodiversity of the coniferous forests of Central America. 

BRAHMS (Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System) is an information 
system which has evolved in association with the forest genetics programme. The system 
stores and monitors species information and botanical data derived from herbarium 
specimens. It has a broad range of routine and research oriented management functions, 
such as preparing species checklists and distribution maps. Applications of BRAHMS 
(which runs on FoxPro software) include the compilation of species checklists for the 
states of Oaxaca and Nayarit, Mexico undertaken by the main herbarium in Mexico 
(MEXU). Also under this project BRAHMS is used to study areas of special interest in 
the Tehuantepec region and the Tehuacan Valley. In Honduras, a project to establish a 
national data collection network at five sites was initiated in 1992, using the BRAHMS 
system. This links in with an existing project at the Paul C. Standley herbarium at El 
Zamorano. 

Universidad Autdnoma Nacional de Mexico (UNAM) 

UNAM is a leading centre of excellence for botanical and ethnobotanical research and 
plant conservation activities. 

A wide range of field projects are undertaken with, for example, botanical research being 
undertaken in the Lacandon Region, and studies of the biogeography, distribution and 
conservation status of the cacti of the Chihuahuan Desert. 

US Department of Agriculture (USD A): 

USD A is actively involved in the assessment of plant genetic resources and biodiveristy. 
The USD A Economic Botany Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, maintains a database 
on minor economic plant species. 

New York Botanical Garden 

(Michael Balick, Director of Economic Botany) has a collaborative project with the Belize 
Ministry of Health, the Departments of Archaeology and Forestry and the Belize Centre 
for Environmental Studies. The Belize Ethnobotany Project involves screening of 
medicinal plants for active ingredients based on ethnobotanical uses and traditional 
knowledge. 



17 



Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona. 

FLORUTIL Project - surveying the rare and useful plants of the border states of US and 

Mexico. 



18 



Annex 2 
Economically and socially important plants of Central America 

Fruit crops 

Anacardium excelsum (marandn) 

Annona muricata (soursop) REMERFI priority 

A. purpurea (soncoya) 

A. scleroderma (posh-te) 

Ananas comosus (pineapple) REMERFI priority 

Bactris gasipaes (peach palm) REMERFI priority (IPGRI neglected crop project) 

Byrsonima crassifolia (nance) 

Carica papaya (papaya): originated in lowlands of eastern central America but is no 
longer known in the wild. REMERFI priority 

Casimiroa edulis (white sapote, zapote bianco) 

Coccoloba uvifera (sea-grape) 

Diospyros digyna (black sapote) 

Hylocereus ocamponis (pitaya) REMERFI priority 

Inga edulis (ing£-cip6) 

Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena, guaje) 

Malpighia emarginata (Barbados cherry, acerola) 

Muntingia calabura (Jamaica cherry) 

Myrciaria floribunda (Rumberry) 

Passiflora edulis REMERFI priority (IPGRI neglected crop project) 

Passiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla) 

P. quadrangularis (giant granadilla) 



19 



Persea americana (avacado): Primitive wild relatives are restricted to small areas in 
Central America. Persea americana continues to exist as a wild plant in small areas of 
Central America, occurring for example in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, 
Corcovado National Park and La Selva Biological Reserve of Costa Rica. REMERFI 
priority 

Pouteria campechiana (yellow sapote, zapote amarillo) 

Pouteria sapota (zapote mamey) 

- The Sapotaceae in general are a REMERFI priority 

Prunus salicifolia (capuh'n) 

Rollinia mucosa (biriba) 

Psidium guajaba (guava) REMERFI priority 

Spondias purpurea (Jamaica plum) REMERFI priority 

Spices and stimulants 

Bixa orellana (annatto) REMERFI priority 

Capsicum annuum (chili pepper): wild peppers are still collected and sold locally. 

Eryngium foetidum (culantro) REMERFI priority 

Fernaldia pandurata (loroco) REMERFI priority 

Pimenta dioica (pimento, allspice): pimento is derived from the dried unripe fruits of 
Pimenta dioica a small evergreen tree of Central America and the Caribbean. Jamaica 
is the main country of commercial production and allspice is also collected from the wild 
in Central America. Currently Guatemala (and Mexico) supply almost 30% of the 
international market. REMERFI priority 

Theobroma cacao (cocoa): Centre of cultivation is Central America. REMERFI priority 

Theobroma angustifolium (cacao silvestre) 

Vanilla planifolia (vanilla): is the most important spice of the New World. Native to 
Central America, this climbing orchid was used in pre-Colombian times by the Aztecs 
as a flavouring for chocolate. It was first introduced to Europe in around 1510. Now 
countries which grow vanilla include Madagascar, the Seychelles, Reunion and the 
Comoros Islands. REMERFI priority 



20 



Vegetables 

Arracacia xanthorrhiza Peruvian carrot REMERFI priority 

Capsicum spp. (capsicum peppers) REMERFI priority 

Chamaedorea tepejilote (pacaya) REMERFI priority 

Chenopodium berlanderi (huanzontle) REMERFI priority 

Cnidoscolus chayamansa (chaya) REMERFI priority 
(see also Cnidoscolus spp. under miscellaneous below) 

Crotalaria spp. (chipilin) REMERFI priority 

Cucurbitaceae (cucurbits) REMERFI priority 

Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato): land races. All wild relatives (spp. in South America) 
have limited ranges. REMERFI priority 

Opuntia spp. (nopal) REMERFI priority 

Physalis philadelphica (Mexican husk tomato) REMERFI priority (IPGRI neglected crop 
project ?) 

Sechiwn edule (chayote) REMERFI priority (IPGRI neglected crop project) 

Solarium americanum (yerba mora) REMERFI priority 

Solarium spp.: One of the main centres of diversity of wild species of potato is in central 
Mexico. 

Roots and tubers 

Dioscorea spp. (yam): REMERFI priority 

Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato): REMERFI priority 

Manihot spp.: Southwestern Mexico is one of the main centres of diversity for wild spp. 
with 16 spp (FAO, 1984). Manihot esculenta is a cultigen unknown in the wild. 

Xanthosoma sagittifolium (tiquisque) REMERFI priority 

Xanthosoma sp. (malanga) REMERFI priority 



21 



Beans and other legumes 

Pachyrhizus erosus (Mexican yam bean): native to SW Mexico. See NAS (1979) - and 
also for other legumes of the region. REMERFI priority 

Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean): populations of several taxa are being lost to overgrazing 
in northern Mexico. 

Phaseolus vulgaris (haricot bean): some wild relatives in Mexico are in need of 
conservation attention. 

Cereals 

Zea mays, Zea perennis, Tea diploperennis (maize): 

The two wild subsp. of maize, Zea mays var. mexicana and Zea mays var. parviglumis 
are vulnerable. The three other Zea spp. should probably be considered endangered, two 
having highly restircted distributions in Jalisco, Mexico and the third in southeastern 
Guatemala and northern Honduras the closest to extinction because of grazing pressures 
(FAO, 1984). 

Zea diploperennis is protected in the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve (Mexico.). 

Tripsacum spp. (relative of maize): 

Several species with limited ranges in Mexico may be at risk (FAO, 1984). 

Timbers 

There are many economically important timber species in the region. Two examples 
which have been heavily exploited and are now listed on CITES Appendix II are: 

Swietenia mahagoni, a species of true mahogany generally known as American 
mahogany, Cuban mahogany, or Honduran mahogany is native to Central America and 
the Caribbean. It has been important in international commerce since the sixteenth 
century. Stocks are now severely depleted and the species provides an extreme example 
of genetic erosion. 

Lignum vitae or guayaco Guaiacum officinale, a species of dryer tropical forest areas of 
Central America and the Caribbean. 

Other timber species, many of which are threatened in all or part of their range, are 
listed below. A more comprehensive list of the threatened tree species of Central America 
is given as a supplementary document. 

Abies guatemalensis (Guatemalan fir) 
Alfaroa manningii (Gavilan Colorado) 
Alnus jorullensis (Jaul) 
Aspidosperma megalocarpum (Chichique) 



22 



Astronium graveolens (Goncalo alves) 

Batocarpus costaricensis (Ojoche macho) 

Bombacopsis quinata (Pochote) 

Brysonima crassifolia (Nance) 

Calophyllum brasiliense (Santa Maria, jacareuba) 

Campnosperma panamensis (Sajo, orey) 

Carapa guianensis (Crabwood, andiroba) 

Caryocar costaricense (Ajo, aji) 

Costilla elastica (Balata) 

Cedrela odorata (cigarbox cedar) 

Ceiba pentandra (Ceiba) 

Cordia alliodora (Pardillo) 

Cupressus lusitanica (Mexican cypress) 

Cynometra hemitomophylla (Guapinol negro) 

Dalbergia retusa (Coccoloba) 

Dalbergia stevensonii (Honduras rosewood) 

Dialium guianense (Jutahy) 

Didymopanax morototonii (Jereton) 

Enterolobiwn cyclocarpum (Guanacaste) 

Guaiacwn sanctum (Lignum vitae, guayacan bianco) 

Guarea grandifolia (Muskwood) 

Guazuma ulmifolia (Guacimo) 

Hymenaea courbaril (Courbaril, guapinal) 

Juglans olanchana (Nogal) 

Mora oleifera (Nato) 

Myroxylon balsamum (Balsamo) 

Oreomunnea pterocarpa (Palo Colorado) 

Pinus ayacahuite (Mexican white pine) 

P. caribaea 

var. hondurensis (Caribbean pine) 
P. chiapensis (Pinabete) 
P. oocarpa (Pino Colorado) 
P. pseudostrobus (Pino bianco, ocote) 
Pithecellobium dulce (Manila tamarind) 
Platymiscium pleiostachywn (Cristobal) 
Podocarpus guatemalensis (Podo) 
Quercus copeyensis (Roble, Copey oak) 
Spondias mombin (Hog plum, ciruela) 
Swietenia humilis (Pacific Coast mahogany) 
S. macrophylla (Bigleaf mahogany, caoba) 
Tabebuia guayacan (Cortez) 
Tachigali versicolor (Cafia fistula) 
Terminalia amazonia (Almendra) 
Vantanea barbourii (Caracolillo) 



23 



Medicinal plants 

Annona glabra (Anona) 

Aristolochia odoratissima (Amargosa, bejuco magico) 

Casimiroa edulis (Chapote) 

Cecropia peltata (Guarumo) 

Chrysobalanus icaco (Icaco, coco plum) 

Curatella americana (Sandpaper tree) 

Jatropha curcas (Physic nut, pifioncillo) 

Myroxylon balsamum 

var. pereirae (Peruvian balsam) 
Piper tuberculatum (Buttonwood) 
Rauvolfia tetraphylla (Devil pepper) 
Strychnos panamensis (Guaco, snale seed) 
Talauma mexicana (Flor del corazon) 

Until quite recently 95% of all steroids were obtained from extracts of neo-tropical yams 
of the genus Dioscorea. Diosgenin derived from the Mexican yam, a rainforest species, 
has been the basic material for the production of many steroidal drugs including the birth 
control pill. Price increases imposed by the Mexican Government stimulated synthetic 
production of diosgenin by pharmaceutical companies and have also led to the search for 
new natural sources. 

Ornamental plants 

Ornamental plants of economic value in Central America include orchids, bromeliads, 
foliage plants, cacti, agaves and other succulents. Many of these are covered by the 
CITES Convention. 

The main exporting countries for the genus Tillandsia are Guatemala and Honduras. Data 
from World Wildlife Fund-Germany indicates that from January 1988 to March 1988, 
c. 6 million plants were exported from Guatemala, primarily to Germany and the 
Netherlands. Plants exported include both wild-collected specimens and plants produced 
in the local horticultural industry. 

Chamaedoreas and their products are used extensively in the floricultural and horticultural 
industries. Cut leaves of several species are a staple item in the florist trade of the USA; 
many leaves also are imported by Europe. Most of the leaves appear to originate in 
Mexico, but some come from Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. In 1986, an 
estimated 359,219,000 leaves were imported by the USA (314,419,000 from Mexico; 
40,179,000 from Guatemala; 4,145,000 from Costa Rica) (Hodel 1992). 

Cycads are traded internationally for specialist horticultural collections. Although many 
of the species (Zamiaceae) are. exported by Mexico, countries such as Guatemala, 
Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama are also trading in their various native species. Many 
of the Central American species are commercially exploited due to the proximity of the 
U.S. horticultural market. 



24 



Other Species 

Agave spp.: sisal, tequila etc. REMERFI priority. An Action Plan for the conservation 
of Agave spp. has been prepared by members of the SSC Cactus and Succulent Specialist 
Group. 

Amaranthus spp. (amaranth) REMERFI priority (IPGRI neglected crop project) 

Avicennia germinans (Black mangrove) 

Brosimum alicastrwn (Ramon) 

Bursera simaruba (Palo mulato) 

Carludovica costaricensis (Cuajiote) 

Carnegiea giganiea (saguaro): Many local uses as described in: Desert Plants 2(1) Spring 
1980. 

Chamaedorea spp. (Parlor palms) 

Cnidoscolus elasticus; Cnidoscolus tepiquensis (chilte): overtapping and habitat 
destruction have destroyed many Mexican populations (FAO, 1984). 

Cyperus canus (Tule) 

Euphorbia antisyphilitica (Candellila) - significant source of income to rural communities. 
Many populations lost (FAO, 1984). 

Genipa americana (Jenipapo) 

Geonoma hoffinanniana 

Laguncularia racemosa (White mangrove) 

Luchea Candida (Algodoncillo) 

Manilkara zapota (chicle) 

Chicle, the latex of the Central American sapodilla tree Manilkara zapota, is included in 
most good quality chewing gums. Long appreciated by Mayan people chicle was first 
sweetened and processed for commercial use in the late nineteenth century. Today 
"chicleros" still tap wild trees but the the trees are no longer so abundant in the wild. In 
Mexico and Guatemala many sapodilla trees are dying prematurely because younger trees 
are being tapped and the recovery period between tapping has been reduced. (IPGRI 
neglected crop project) 

Neonicholsonia watsonii 

25 



Protium copal (Copal) 

Reinhardtiana koschnyana (Window palm) 

Rhizophora mangle (Red mangrove) 

Schippia concolor (Pimento palm) 

Styrax argenteus (Resino) 

Trema micrantha (Capulin, white bay-cedar) 



26 



Annex 3 

CENTRES OF PLANT DIVERSITY 

The IUCN Plant Conservation Programme has undertaken a project with collaboration 
from botanists around the world to identify the several hundred major Centres of Plant 
Diversity (CPD). These are defined as places particularly rich in plant life which would, 
if protected, safeguard the majority of wild plants in the world. A three volume 
publication is being prepared jointly with WWF. The information collected during the 
CPD project will reside at WCMC and the maps are stored in the Biodiversity Map 
Library. 

Central American centres of plant diversity selected for the publication are listed below 
with brief notes on their useful plants. Selection of sites and preparation of the data sheets 
has been undertaken primarily by botanists within the region. 

MEXICO 
1. Lacandon Rain Forest Region. 

This region occurs in eastern Chiapas between, between the Usumacinta River and the 

Perlas and Lacantun rivers. It covers an area of about 6,000 km 2 of which reserves 

account for 4,122 km 2 . 

The vegetation consists of: tropical and montane rain forests, cloud forest, semideciduous 

tropical forest, savanna, pine-oak forest, seasonally flooded forest, gallery forest, open 

wedands. 

There flora shows high species diversity, with about 4,000 species of vascular plants and 

some endemics. 

Useful plants 

The Lacandon forest contains important reserves of timber, such as Calophyllum 
brasiliense var. rekoi, Cedrela odorata, Cordia spp., Dialium guianense, Lonchocarpus 
castilloi, Swietenia macrophylla, Tabebuia guayacan. Other species of economic 
importance include Manilkara zapota; Costilla elastica var. elastica, latex used as a 
source of rubber; Cymbopetalum penduliflorum — the flowers are used among the Maya 
Amerindians for flavouring and medicine; Pimento dioica (allspice), Poulsenia armata, 
Pouteria mammosum and many other trees with edible fruits. Brosimum alicastrum has 
promising economic potential; the fruits, seeds, leaves, wood, latex and bark all being 
used. 

Several species of palms (e.g. Geonoma oxycarpa, Scheelea liebmannii) are used by the 
local inhabitants for roofing. Additionally, seeds, seedlings and leaves of some small 
palms called xate (e.g. Chamaedorea tepejilote, C. oblongata, C. elegans) are collected 
for horticulture and exported to the USA. 



27 



2. Uxpanapa-Chimalapa Region. 

An area of evergreen, semi-evergreen and montane rain forest, covering about 7,700 
km 2 in Southeastern Veracruz and eastern Oaxaca. There are no areas set aside for 
conservation. The flora has high species endemism. 

Useful plants 

The region contains important timber resources, including high quality tropical woods as 
Cedrela odorata (tropical red-cedar), Calophyllum brasiliense var. rekoi (Santa Maria) 
and Swietenia macrophylla and endemics such as Sterculia new sp., much used locally 
in the manufacture of fine plywood. A large native population of the important fruit tree 
Pouteria sapota (the zapote mamey) is present; there are few such populations elsewhere. 
Several non-timber montane species are important in the local economy, especially 
palmita (Chamaedorea sp.). 

3. Sierra de Juarez, Oaxaca. 

An area of mainly montane cloud forest covering about 1,700 km 2 in northeastern Oaxaca 
state, Southern Mexico. The flora consists of around 2000 spp. with many endemics. 
There are currently no protected areas. 

Useful plants 

In the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, which includes the Sierra de Juarez, several indigenous 
peoples (Chinantec, Mixe and Mixtec) have extensive knowledge and uses of the flora, 
which have been receiving thorough study (Martin and de Avila-B. 1990; Martin 1992). 
In the 1970s there were large-scale collections of Dioscorea tubers, used in the synthesis 
of birth-control pills. The Sierra de Juarez contains rich timber resources such as Abies, 
Pinus, Liquidambar, Quercus. Among the region's various ornamental species are tree 
ferns, cycads, pipers, aroids, bromeliads and orchids. 

4. Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Region. 

This area of about 9000 km 2 southeast of Mexico City in southeastern Puebla and 
northern Oaxaca states, has around 2700 plant spp. with about 30% endemic. The 
vegetation consists of 

several dryland scrub formations with many xerophytic species and some deciduous 
forest. The only conservation area is a Botanical garden (1 km 2 ). 

Useful plants 

Many native species are used traditionally for example as medicinals, food (e.g. cactus 
fruits), fibres, fuelwood, living fences, and ceremonially; some are sold in local markets. 
Various succulent species and bromeliads are of considerable horticultural value, for 
example, cacti, Nolina, Beaucarnea, Dasylirion, Agave, Hechtia, Tdlandsia. 



28 



5. Canyon of the Zopilote Region. 

An area of mixed scrub and forest vegetation, covering 4,383 km 2 south of Mexico City 
in central Guerrero state. There are over plant 2,000 species, with high diversity and 
endemic genera and species. Part of the area is protected in the Omitelmi Ecological State 
Park and three other areas for reserves have been suggested. 

Useful plants 

The region is very rich in timber resources. For general purposes including fuelwood, 
the following species are used Pinus ayacahuite, P. devoniana (P. michoacana), P. 
chiapensis, P. herrerae, Quercus uxoris, Q. laurina, Abies religiosa, A. guatemalensis; 
for construction, the palm Brahea dulcis, Cordia elaeagnoides, Pithecellobium dulce; and 
for artisanry and carvings, the latter two hardwoods and Actinocheita potentillifolia. 

Some species are used in local ceremonies, such as Bursera copallifera (copal) and 
Solandra spp. (copa de oro). Among medicinals are Ternstroemia pringlei (te - de tila), 
Juniperus flaccida, Magnolia schiedeana and Chiranthodendron pentadactylon (flor de 
la manita), which is now cultivated in Europe and USA. 

6. Sierra de Manantlan Region and Biosphere Reserve. 

Situated in southwestern Jalisco and northeastern Colima, with an area of 1396 km 2 . The 
vegetation consists of various forest types including tropical dry forest (which may be the 
most diverse in woody species in the world) tropical subdeciduous forest, mesophyllous 
montane forest. There are about 2,800 vascular plant species. Endemics reported only 
from the Sierra de Manantlan include Zea diploperennis, Agrostis novogaliciana, Populus 
guzmanantlensis, Crown wilburii, Cnidoscolus autlanensis, Vernonia pugana. 

Useful plants 

Wild taxa's germplasm for important crop and tree species (Zea, Phaseolus, Pinw, 
Abies); over 500 species used traditionally. 

Some species threatened due to selective exploitation are Cedrela odorata, Swietenia 
humilis, Fraxinus uhdei, Juglans major, Tilia mexicana, Abies religiosa, Guaiacwn 
coulteri, Talauma sp., Magnolia iltisiana. 

7. Pacific Lowlands, Jalisco: Chamela Biological Station 

and Cumbres de Cuixmala Reserve. 

A region of c. 350 km 2 in coastal Jalisco southwest of Guadalajara. An area of 8.6 km 2 
is conserved. The vegetation is mainly tropical deciduous forest. The flora shows high 
diversity especially of woody plants; 1,120 vascular plant species in 544 genera of 124 
families known from region; about 16% of the species are regionally endemic. 



29 



Useful plants 

The region only has been easily accessible to settlement since a coast highway opened in 
1972, there is no local tradition of useful plants. Many residents are from upland Jalisco 
or neighboring states (mostly Colima and Michoacan), and have brought common names 
and uses from their home areas for application to these sometimes different species. 
Examples include Plumeria rubra leaves used to relieve earache, Spondias purpurea fruits 
used in a drink, Stenocereus chrysocarpus fruits eaten as a delicacy, and Hura polyandra 
used for timber Hintonia latiflora and Physodium adenodes var. adenodes have 
ornamental potential. 

Various timber species occur and their woods are locally marketed: Cordia alliodora, C. 
dentata, C. elaeagnoides, C. seleriana; Dalbergia congestiflora; Guaiacum coulteri; 
Platymiscium lasiocarpum; Swietenia humilis. Already Celaenodendron mexicanum is a 
locally choice timber tree for roof beams and building posts. 

8. Upper Mezquital River Region, Sierra Madre Occidental. 

Western Sierra Madre mountains in the south of Durango state, covering c. 4,600 km 2 . 
The vegetation consists principally of conifer, pine-oak and oak forests, tropical dry 
forests, and patches of tropical subdeciduous forest. La Michilia Biosphere Reserve (700 
km 2 , 70 km 2 as core), live in the temperate forest area. 

Useful plants 

Out of c. 2,900 species of vascular plants, more than 450 wild species used for 
medicinal, food and other purposes by local people including Tepehuan Amerindians. 
Many timber species are extracted. Among the species with economic value, are Pinus 
durangensis, P. cooperi, P. teocote and P. ayacahuite. Quercus spp. have economic 
value for charcoal, and lumber potential. Wild crop relatives include Phaseolus and 
Solarium spp. 

A few species, such as Laelia speciosa, are collected to sell in nearby cities as 
ornamentals, whereas others such as Senecio sessilifolius (peyotillo) and S. albo-lutescens 
(matarique) are sold for medicinal purposes in local markets (cf. M. Gonzalez 1984). 

The ethnobotany of the region's mestizos and Tepehuanes has been studied by M. 
Gonzalez and R. Galvan (1984, 1991, 1992), and additional works on the useful plants 
and agro-ecological practices are in preparation. 

9. Gomez Farias Region and El Cielo Biosphere Reserve. 

An area of around 2,400 km 2 in southwestern Tamaulipas state. 
Vegetation consists of tropical dry forest; tropical semideciduous forest; cloud forest; 
oak, pine, and mixed oak and pine forests; desert scrubs or brushlands; riparian 
vegetation. There are over 1,000 vascular plant species. 60% of region is in El Cielo 
Biosphere Reserve (1,445 km 2 ). 



30 



Useful plants 

From a report on useful plants of Tamaulipas (Hernandez et al. 1991), the many 
following species and uses were derived for the G6mez Farias region: 167 medicinals, 
98 edible, 11 fodder, 5 energy sources, 84 timbers, 16 industrial usage, 69 ornamentals. 
Several native species are grown in family gardens to provide spices or medicinals. In 
the past, cloud forest and oak and pine forests were exploited for their timber; these 
forests harbor at least fourteen oak and four pine species. 

In the tropical forests are several species with commercial value, such as Bursera 
simaruba (gumbo limbo) — wood, resin, incense; Enterolobiwn cyclocarpwn (guanacaste) 
— timber, fodder; Cedrela odorata (cedro) — cabinet wood; Tabebuia pentaphylla (cinco 
hojas) — timber; Brosimum alicastrum (ojite or ramdn) — wood, food (edible seeds, 
potable latex); Lysiloma divaricata (rajador) — timber. 

The desert scrublands have various species of local importance, such as Helietta 
parvifolia — timber; Acacia berlandieri, Gochnatia hypoleuca, Opuntia spp. — fodder; 
Dasylirion spp. — edible, alcohol fermentation, ornamental; Brahea berlandieri — house 
building; Agave spp. (e.g. A. lechuguilla), Yucca camerosana — fiber; Quercus spp., 
Rhus microphylla, R. virens, Krameria ramosissima — tannin; and Turnera diffiisa, 
Chrysactinia mexicana, Hesperozygis marifolia, Jatropha dioica, Larrea tridentata — 
medicinal (Chimal et al. 1989). 

Leaves of the small Chamaedorea palm (e.g. C. radicalis, palmilla) are collected and 
exported to the USA for floral arrangements. On a much smaller scale, Magnolia 
schiedeana flowers and Ternstroemia sylvatica (trompillo) fruits are occasionally 
collected. 

10. Cuatro Cienagas Region. 

An intermontane basin area of c. 2,000 km 2 in central Coahuila, northern Mexico. 
Vegetation consists of grasslands with aquatic, semiaquatic and gypsum-dune habitats in 
valley; desert scrub and chaparral on mountain slopes, with oak-pine woodlands and 
montane forests of pine, fir and Douglas-fir. The area has a flora of 860 species in 458 
genera of 114 families, 23 species are endemic. 

Useful plants 

Many plants of this flora are part of traditional medicine used in the rural communities. 
The extraction of wood from the Sierra de la Madera is the most extensive exploitation 
and threatens the population of Abies durangensis var. coahuilensis. 

11. Apachian/Madrean Region of Southwestern North America, including Northwest 

Mexico 

Phytogeographic province is the Sierra Madre Occidental, where the Apachian and 
Madrean floristic districts interdigitate. Situated largely in northwest Mexico, as far south 



31 



as the Sinaloa border with Sonora and Chihuahua, and northward along the continental 
divide (Sonora-Chihuahua border region) to southwestern New Mexico and southeastern 
Arizona of the United States. The region is approximately 300 km from east to west, 
centered on the divide, and 600 km long, from the Chiricahua and Animas mountains in 
the United States, to the Rio Mayo, Rio Fuerte, and Rio Verde drainages in Sonora and 
Chihuahua, Mexico. 

The vegetation consists of Madrean montane coniferous forests; oak-coniferous 
woodland; tropical deciduous forest; barrancan oak woodland; oak savanna; Madrean 
chaparral; short-grass prairie; subtropical thornscrub; and desert fringe. 

There are an estimated 3,500-4,000 species of vascular plants. Chiricahua Mountains 
support 1200 species, and the Animas Mountain 450 species. The flora of the upper Rio 
Mayo region in southeastern Sonora and southwestern Chihuahua includes about 2100 
vascular plant species; the flora of the Rio Bavispe region in northeastern Sonora contains 
at least 1200 species. High species endemism (on the order of 20-50 percent), and a 
large number of species at their northern limits. Many at their eastern or western limits 
on the "Deming Bridge." 

Most of the region in the United States has some form of protection; National Monument 
and Forest Service protection of the Chiricahua Mountains, private foundation protection 
of the Animas Mountains, Forest Service protection for other montane habitats. Less than 
10 percent of the area in Mexico is currently protected; small areas in national parks and 
some mountains under the jurisdiction of the Subsecretary of Ecology (SEDESOL). 
Several mountain and other regions protected by private owners. Additionally several 
significant areas designated for protection by the state of Sonora. 

Threats to the area include a World Bank project, planned $90 million logging; another 
$400-600 million of pulping and lumber development already funded or anticipated as a 
result of the U.S. /Mexico free trade zone agreement. 

Useful plants 

An estimated 60-80 wild congeners of major crops, about 10 percent at risk; the highest 
diversity of crop land races of 18 pre-Columbian cultivated species anywhere north of the 
tropics; and 600-1000 wild useful plants. One globally-endangered domesticate, Panicum 
sonorum . and several endangered medicinal plants. 

The ethnobotany of the Tarahumara, Guarihio, Mountain Pima, and Sonoran mestizos has 
been studied by Bye (1976), Gentry (1942, 1963), Laferriere (1991), Pennington (1963), 
and others. An estimated 300 food plants and 450 medicinal plants from this region have 
been ethnographically documented. These include large ethnofloral representations of the 
Agavaceae, Cactaceae, Fabaceae, and Solanaceae. 

It has been estimated that among the regional floras in arid and semi-arid southwestern 
North America 18 percent of the species have been utilized by people for food and 20 
percent for medicinal purposes (Baker & Felger in prep.; Felger & Nabhan 1978). 
About 10 percent of the edible species, or 1.8 percent of the flora, served as major food 

32 



resources (Felger 1979). These estimates, based on compilation of known data, are 
verified by individual ethnobotanical studies (e.g., Bye 1976, 1985; Felger & Moser 
1985; Gentry 1942, 1963; Laferriere 1991; Rea in prep.). For example, the Tarahumara 
utilized at least 220 species of plants for food. Their pharmacopoeia includes about 300 
plant species (Bye 1985) of which 47 are collected and sold in the urban markets of 
northern Mexico (Bye 1986). 

As noted above, the region is the richest in wild congeners of domesticated crops of any 
area north of the Tropic of Cancer. The genera of A gave . Cucurbita . Phaseolus . Prunus . 
and Solanum are well-represented in the region, and 60-100 such species are found 
exclusively in the region, about 10 percent of them at risk. At Nabogame, Chihuahua, 
the northernmost population of teosinte is disjunct several hundred km from the tropical 
range of these wild and weedy corn relatives, where they infrequently introgress with 
cultivated maize (Doebley & Nabhan 1989). Native Seed/SEARCH has distributed the 
seed of the Nabogame teosinte to make it available for plant breeders. In fact, the 
mosaic of wild montane vegetation and Indian fields has provided ideal settings for 
studying introgression between wild and domesticated Capsicum . Cucurbita . Phaseolus . 
and Zea. 

Nabhan (1990a) identified the geographic patterns of eighteen wild Phaseolus species in 
the Sierra Madre Occidental. There are several of these bean species endemic to the 
Sierras, and yet the region remains undercollected with regard to germplasm resources. 
Preliminary results from pollination, DNA and isozyme studies by Robert Bye suggest 
reciprocal gene flow between wild Phaseolus coccineus ssp. formosus and the special 
domesticate "tekdmari," the P. coccineus ssp. coccineus of the Tarahumara. The 
maintenance of gene flow between the wild and the cultivated forms by Tarahumara 
agroecological practices (which include the management of nearby forest) may account 
for the evolution of this productive scarlet runner bean that is adapted to high mountain 
areas with short growing seasons. 

Land race diversity of native crops is also richer here than in any other American region 
north of the tropics, but this crop variation is rapidly being eroded. Eighteen crop 
species, including endemic domesticates of Agave . Lepidium . Hyptis . and Panicum . are 
regionally represented in native fields. Wild relatives of domesticated crop plants in the 
Apachian-Madrean Region comprise a large list (Nabhan 1991; Nabhan & Felger 1985). 

12. Central Region of Baja California. 

Southern Baja California Norte and northeastern Baja California Sur statesc, an area of 
36,000 km 2 The vegetation consists mainly of xerophilous scrubland or brush. About 
40% of the region, 15,000 km 2 , falls within the El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve. There 
are over 500 species of vascular plants; 496 species in El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve 
— 8% locally endemic, others endemic to peninsula. 

Useful plants 

The region is no longer occupied by indigenous people and there is only very limited 
indirect evidence to indicate how they utilized the natural resources. Nevertheless, based 

33 



on ethnobotanical information from elsewhere, a good many plants represent potential 
genetic reserves with for example succulents valued for horticulture. 

13. Sonoran Desert, including Baja California 

GUATEMALA 

14. Peten Region and Maya Biosphere Reserve 

Situated in northern Guatemala, the Department of Peten 

has an area of about 36,000 km 2 , and the Maya Biosphere Reserve covers 15,000-16,000 
km 2 . The vegetation consists of subtropical semideciduous moist forest, savanna, 
wetlands. Maya Biosphere Reserve includes five national parks, three biotopes and a 
multiple-use area — Laguna del Tigre is recognized under RAMSAR, and Tikal is a 
World Heritage site.There are about 3,000 plant species in Maya Biosphere Reserve with 
distinct regional endemism. 

Useful plants 

The Peten region is rich in useful plants such as thatching palms, construction materials, 
fuelwood, fibers — e.g. Desmoncus sp. (bayal) and Philodendron sp. (mimbre) for 
basketry and furniture, forest fruits, medicinal plants, Manilkara zapota (chicozapote), 
Chamaedorea spp. (mostly two understory palms) and Pimento dioica. A few studies 
have analyzed the economic benefits of a conserving, sustainable use of Guatemala's 
tropical forests and renewable resources (Nations et al. 1988; Reining and Heinzman 
1992; Salafsky et al. 1993). An estimated 80% of the hardwoods in Guatemala are found 
in the Peten, such as Swietenia macrophylla, Cedrela odorata, Calophyllum brasiliense 
var. rekoi, Pouteria spp., Bursera simaruba, Spondias, Ficus (Leyden 1984). The Maya 
BR contains more than 300 species of useful trees (CONAP 1990). 

A potentially important forest resource is foliage and seeds of Brosimwn alicastrum 
(ramon). The seeds were an important food source in pre-Colombian times, but present 
human consumption is quite low (Heinzman and Reining 1990); the fruits, foliage and 
bark are gathered as forage for mules and horses. 

Economic Assessment of Nontimber Forest Products 

Heinzman and Reining (1990) analyzed some potentially sustainable rural extraction 
practices in the northern Peten. Collecting several products more or less sustainably for 
export represents a wage resource for over 6,000 people who otherwise subsist mainly 
on slash-and-burn ('milpa') agriculture. The total economic return from these nontimber 
forest products is greater than if the forest were converted to pasture (Heinzman and 
Reining 1990; Nations et al. 1988). 

In 1990 Guatemala passed a law (Decree 5-90) for a Maya Biosphere Reserve, 
designating 7,500 km 2 of it for extractive industry based on nontimber forest products. 
Such activity for 30-100 years has harvested three products: (1) xate palm leaves 



34 



(Chamaedorea elegans, C. oblongata) are exported through the year for floral 
arrangements, producing US$ 4-6 million annually ; (2) Extraction of chicle, the latex 
of Manilkara zapota. The largest concentration of high-grade chicle is found in the Maya 
BR and sold primarily to the Japanese. Small quantities of latex from Ficus lundellii, 
Bwnelia mayana and Stemmadenia donnell-smithii may be used as enhancing 
supplements. In 1990-1991 the high quality latex sold for US$ 3.75 per kg (Reining and 
Heinzman 1992); (3) Another important annual product harvested on a rather sustainable 
basis is allspice (pimienta gorda, Pimenta dioica). 

15. Sierra de las Minas Region and Biosphere Reserve 

The Sierra de las Minas is in eastern Guatemala with an area of around 4,374 km 2 ; the 
reserve covers 2,363 km 2 . A management plan for the Biosphere Reserve was approved 
in 1992 and active management is being implemented, but facing heavy pressure from 
timber interests. The region has cloud-forest associations, rain forests, tropical and 
premontane dry forests, and thorn scrub. The flora is extremely diverse (over 2,000 
species recorded) with high species endemism. 

Useful plants 

Major timber reserves, especially conifers, and some remnants of lowland hardwood 
forests in the north and southeast. There are 13 conifer species in the region, which is 
a major center for Pinus. The species most frequently exploited include Pinus oocarpa, 
P. patula ssp. tecunumanii and P. caribea, used especially for utility poles, railway 
sleepers and furniture. Cedrela odorata, Dalbergia (rosewood) and Vochysia spp. (San 
Juan) have been harvested in the past, but recent information on available resources is 
lacking. 

Tree-fern species (Dicksonia, Cyathea, Alsophila) are harvested to produce either pots 
or the fiber used for growing ornamental plants. Bamboo is used in basket-making. 

Medicinal plants abound. These include Ocimum spp., Crescentia alata, several 
Rubiaceae (e.g. Borreria ocymoides, Randia armata, Hamelia patens), Dorstenia 
contrajerva, Neurolaena spp., many Solanaceae. Several species of Cucurbitaceae and 
Solanaceae, including local varieties of tomato, represent potential germplasm reserves 
of food plants. 

HONDURAS 

16. Northeastern Honduras and Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve 

Located in the Mosquitia region of northeastern Honduras, covering an area of about 
5,250 km 2 . Vegetation includes mangrove and freshwater swamps and marshes; sedge 
prairie; pine savanna; gallery forest; tropical moist, subtropical moist and subtropical wet 
forests; elfin forest. The biosphere reserve is a World Heritage site, Amerindian reserve, 
archaeological park. 



35 



Useful plants 

The reserve harbors populations of some important timber trees, such as Calophyllwn 
brasiliense var. rekoi, Carapa guianensis, Cedrela odorata, Swietenia macrophylla, 
Tabebuia rosea, Virola koschnyi. The abundance of seemingly wild Theobroma (cacao) 
near Las Crucitas del Rio Aner suggests it was cultivated there in ancient times. Local 
people use native species for many purposes. 

COSTA RICA 

17. Braulio Carrillo-La Selva Region 

On the Caribbean slope in Heredia, covering an area of about 480 km 2 . The vegetation 

ranges from tropical wet forest through tropical premontane, lower montane and montane 

rain forests. 

Conservation areas consist of a portion of Central Volcanic Cordillera Biosphere Reserve: 

Braulio Carrillo National Park and La Selva Biological Station. 

There are 4,000-6,000 vascular plant species in Braulio Carrillo National Park; 1,900- 

2,200 at La Selva Biological Station. 

Useful Plants 

La Selva sector has species of known economic, including genetic, importance such as 
the rare Monstera deliciosa, as well as Vanilla pauciflora and two species of Theobroma. 
Some of the region's c. 56 reported palm species may be used for vegetable palm hearts, 
or are ornamental — e.g. Geonoma epetiolata, Chamaedorea pumila, C. amabilis. In the 
cool transition belt some valuable timber species are much more common than at the 
station — Aspidosperma cruentum, Calophyllum brasiliense var. rekoi, Dalbergia 
tucurensis, Hyeronima oblonga, Lecythis ampla, Minquartia guianensis. Alnus acuminata 
is an important upland timber species not found farther north in Costa Rica. 

18. La Amistad Biosphere Reserve 

In southeastern Costa Rica and northwestern Panama in the Talamanca range, including 
Pacific and Caribbean slopes and the highest mountain in each country. The area consists 
of 6, 126 km 2 in Costa Rica in the biosphere reserve, over 4,000 km 2 in Panama planned 
for inclusion. The area is also a World Heritage site. In Costa Rica the land is protected 
in three national parks, one protected zone, two biological reserves, one forest reserve, 
seven Amerindian reserves, one botanical garden. In Panama the existing units planned 
for the biosphere-reserve core are three national parks, one forest reserve, one protection 
forest, one Amerindian reserve. Other areas are being evaluated for addition. 
Vegetation comprises ten life zones in an altitudinal gradient from tropical humid forest 
to subalpine rain paramo, with over 90% of the Central American paramos. The flora 
shows very high diversity with about 10,000 vascular plant species and about 30% 
endemism. 



36 



Useful plants 

Many commercially valuable timber species, including, in the lowlands Carapa 
guianensis, Hyeronima alchorneoides, Aspidosperma megalocarpon, Terminalia 
amazonia, Virola spp., Vochysia spp.; at middle elevations Alnus acuminata and Cedrela 
tonduzii; and in the high mountains the oak species, which also have excellent qualities 
for charcoal, plus Magnolia, Podocarpus and several Lauraceae species. In the 
Panamanian highlands Magnolia sororwn is considered the most valuable tree species, 
producing an excellent timber. 

Plants with medicinal value are used by indigenous and non-indigenous people. Medicine 
men ('awapas') use a large variety of plants such as Dorstenia contrajerva, Petiveria 
alliacea, Psidium guajava, Quassia amara, Drimys granadensis, Senecio spp., Smilax 
spp., Dioscorea spp. Other plants for example in Palmae, Araceae, Moraceae and 
Bignoniaceae are used in handicrafts to construct baskets, hammocks, crates, bags; in 
wood carving to manufacture drums, bows and arrows, water containers; and in house 
construction. Many food plants are also found in the RBA, among them Euterpe sp. for 
its palm heart. 

19. Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park 

In southern Costa Rica near southwestern Panama, the peninsula has an area of around 
2,330 km 2 and the park 424 km 2 . Vegetation is mostly tropical wet forest, also tropical 
premontane wet and rain forests; associations include marsh, mangrove and swamp 
forests, alluvial plains forest, cloud forest. There are 4,000-5,000 vascular plant species 
on peninsula, over 500 tree species in park. In addition to the National park, there are 
adjacent forest and Amerindian reserves; and integrated land-use planning for the 
peninsula's general development. 

Useful plants 

As a result of intensive local research, the park is increasingly prominent for more 
complex and long-term biological and ecological research. The park region has been 
chosen as one of the first areas for an intensive inventory by InBio. 

Osa pulchra has notable ornamental potential. The genetic stocks of many tree species 
in the park are increasingly valuable for critical reforestation or afforestation efforts. 
Replanting has already begun on the peninsula. INBio has placed early emphasis on 
investigating plants with pharmacological properties. 

PANAMA 

20. Cerro Azul-Cerro Jefe Region 

An area of central Panama northeast of Panama City, covering 34-53 km 2 . Vegetation 
consists of various types of tropical rain forest. There are 934 recorded species of ferns 



37 



and flowering plants, with high endemism, disjunct taxa. Part of the area falls within 
Chagres National Park. 

Useful plants 

There are timber trees such as Calophyllum longifolium (Maria), Manilkara sp. (nfspero), 
Podocarpus cf. oleifolius (pino de montana). Occasionally, leaves and stalks of Socratea 
exorrhiza and Colpothrinax cookii (palma escoba) are used to make huts. Uses of endemic 
plants are not known. There are species e.g. in Rauvolfia, Cephaelis and Hamelia 
investigated for their chemical and pharmacological properties. 

21. Darien Region and Darien National Park 

A region of 16,671 km 2 in eastern Panama, with the Dari6n National Park covering 5,790 
km 2 . Vegetation consists of tropical lowland dry, moist and wet forests; perhaps 500- 
year-old secondary rainforest. Tropical premontane moist (warm transition), wet and 
pluvial forests and lower montane pluvial forest. Marshes and swamps, tall nonflooding 
forests, cloud and elfin forests. In Darien province, 2,440 plant species have been 
recorded. 

Darien National Park is a World Heritage site and biosphere reserve, with buffer zone 
and Punta Patiiio Nature Reserve to east and Colombia's Los Ratios NP to west. Other 
protected areas are: Canglon and Chepigana forest reserves; Comarca Emberf No. 1 
(Cemaco District), Comarca Ember£ No. 2 (Sambu District), Kuna de Wali, Mortf y 
Nurra Amerindian reserve. 

Useful plants 

The Darien forests contain important reserves of timber, such as Prioria copaifera 
(cativo). This region has contributed 75% of the logs to the national market, with cativo 
comprising half of the total. Other timber species include Anacardium excelsum, 
Bombacopsis quinata, Vatairea sp., Hyeronima oblonga, Capara guianensis, Cedrela 
odorata, Cordia alliodora, Dialium guianense, Myroxylon balsamum, Swietenia 
macrophylla, Tabebuia guayacan, T. rosea, Terminalia amazonia. 

The indigenous peoples use many species, for a variety of purposes. Cooking oil is 
extracted from the palm Jessenia bataua (trupa) and the palm Phytelephas seemannii is 
used to make vegetable-ivory carvings. 

References 

Baker, M.A., & R.S. Felger. (in prep.)- Medicinal plants of Arizona. 

Bye, R. 1976. Ethnoecology of the Tarahumara of Chihuahua, Mexico. Ph.D. 
dissertation. Department of Biology, Harvard University. 



38 



Bye, R. 1985. Medicinal plants of the Tarahumara Indians of Chihuahua, Mexico, pp. 
77-104. In: R.A. Tyson & D.V. Elerick, eds. Two Mummies from Chihuahua: 
A Multidisciplinary Study. San Diego, CA: San Diego Museum Paper, no. 19, 
p. 77-104. 

Bye, R. 1986. Medicinal plants of the Sierra Madre: comparative study of Tarahumara 
and Mexican market plants. Economic Botany 40(1): 103-124. 

Chimal, A., Gonzalez-Medrano, F., Diaz, I., Hernandez, A., Noriega, R., Bravo, 
E., Perez, J., and Vazquez, J. (1989). Investigacidn sobre flora y fauna 
silvestres de la Reserva de la Bidsfera "El Cielo ", Tamaulipas. Secretaria de 
Desarrollo Urbano y Ecologia (SEDUE) and Universidad Autonoma 
Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Mexico, D.F. 106 pp. Unpublished technical report. 

CONAP (1990). Reserva de la Bidsfera Maya. Consejo National de Areas Protegidas 
(CONAP), Guatemala City. 8 pp. 

Doebley, J., & G.P. Nabhan. 1989. Further evidence regarding gene flow between 
maize and teosinte. Maize Genetics Cooperative Newsletter. 

Felger, R.S. 1979. Ancient Crops for the 21st Century, pp. 5-20, In: G. Ritchie, ed. 
New Agricultural Crops. AAAS Selected Symposium 38. Westview Press. 
Boulder, Colorado. 

Felger, R.S., & M.B. Moser. 1985. People of the Desert and Sea: ethnobotany of the 
Sen Indians. University of Arizona Press. Tucson, (reprinted 1991). 

Felger, R.S., & G.P. Nabhan. 1978. Agroecosystem diversity: A model from the 
Sonoran Desert, pp. 128-149. In: N. L. Gonzalez, ed. Social and Technological 
Management in Dry Lands. AAAS Selected Symposium 10. Westview Press. 
Boulder, Colorado. 

Gentry, H.S. 1942. Rio Mayo plants. Carnegie Institution of Washington 527. 
Washington, D.C. 

Gentry, H.S. 1963. The Warihio Indians of Sonora-Chihuahua: an ethnographic 
survey. Bureau of American Ethnographic Bulletin 186:61-144. 

Gonzalez, M. (1984). Las plantas medicinales de Durango. Centra Interdisciplinary 
de Investigacidn para el Desarrollo Integral Regional, Instituto Politecnico 
National (CIIDIR-IPN), Durango, Mexico. Cuad. Inv. Tecnol. (Durango) 1(2): 
1-117. 

Gonzalez, M. (1991). Ethnobotany of the Southern Tepehuan of Durango, Mexico: I. 
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Gonzalez, M. and Galvdn, R. (1992). El maguey (Agave spp.) y los Tepehuanes de 
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Heinzman, R.M. and Reining, CCS. (1990). Sustained rural development: extractive 
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40 



Nabban, G.P. 1991. Genetic resources of the U.S. -Mexican borderlands: wild 
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United States - Mexico Borderlands. U.C.L.A. Latin American Center 
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Pima. University of Arizona Press. Tucson. 



41 



BELIZE 

National/international designations IUCN management Area Year 

Name of area category (ha) notified 

National Parks 

Chiquibul n 107,607 1991 

Nature Reserves 

Bladen Branch I 39,256 1990 

Rio Grande IV 2,340 1968 

Society Hall I 2,729 1986 

Wildlife Sanctuaries 

Cockscomb Basin IV 102,400 1986 

Crooked Tree IV 1,470 1984 

Marine Nature Reserve 

Hoi Chan II 411 1987 

National Monument 

Half Moon Caye II 3,925 1982 

Forest Reserves 
Chiquibul 
Columbia River 
Commerce Bight 
Deep River 
Freshwater Creek 
Grants' Work A 
Machaca 

Manatee Lagoons 
Mango Creek 
Maya Mountains 
Mountain Pine Ridge 
Sibun 
Silk Grass 
Sittee River 
Swasey-Bladen 

Archaeological Reserve 

Caracol IV 20,000 



vra 


184,955 


1991 


vm 


44,789 


1954 


vm 


1,200 


1989 


vm 


31,647 


1991 


vm 


29,593 


1960 


vm 


3,439 


1986 


vm 


2,300 


1954 


vm 


3,300 




vm 


23,224 


1987 


vm 


52,124 


1984 


vm 


51,282 


1920 


vm 


42,966 


1987 


vm 


2,641 


1920 


VIII 


37,938 


1977 


vm 


6,200 


1958 



42 



COSTA RICA 



National/international designations IUCN management Area 
Name of area ca 



National Parks 

Arenal 

Ballena 

Barra Honda 

Braulio Carrillo 

Cahuita 

ChirripxS 

Corcovado 

Guanacaste 

Isla del Coco 

La Amistad (Talamanca) 

Palo Verde 

Rincon de la Vieja 

Santa Rosa 

Tortuguero 

Volcan Irazu 

Volcan Pods 

Biological Reserves 

Cabo Blanco 

Carara 

Hitoy-Cerere 

Isla del Cano 

Islas Guayabo y Negritos 

Lomas Barbudal 

Faunal Refuges 
Barra del Colorado 
Carlo Negro 
Gandoca y Manzanillo 
Golfito 
Isla Bolanos 
Tapantf 

Protection Zones 

Acuiferos de Guacimo y Pocosf 

Arenal 

Caraigres 

Cerros de Escazu 

Cerros de Turrubares 

Cerros de la Carpintera 

Cuencas del Rio Tuis 

El Rodeo 



»emen 


t Area 


Year 


>ry 


(ha) 


notified 


n 


2,000 


1991 


rv 


4,200 


1990 


V 


2,295 


1974 


n 


44,099 


1978 


V 


1,067 


1970 


n 


50,150 


1975 


n 


54,568 


1975 


n 


32,512 


1991 


n 


2,400 


1978 


n 


193,929 


1982 


n 


13,228 


1982 


n 


14,083 


1973 


n 


37,217 


1971 


n 


18,946 


1975 


V 


2,309 


1955 


i 


15,600 


1971 


i 


1,172 


1963 


i 


4,700 


1978 


i 


9,154 


1978 


rv 


200 


1978 


i 


143 


1973 


IV 


2,279 


1986 


IV 


98,000 


1985 


rv 


9,969 


1983 


rv 


9,449 


1985 


IV 


1,350 


1985 


IV 


100 


1981 


IV 


6,080 


1982 


vni 


4,270 


1987 


vm 


18,325 


1991 


vm 


4,000 


1976 


vm 


7,060 


1976 


vm 


2,340 


1983 


vm 


2,000 


1976 


vm 


4,095 


1986 


vm 


2,222 


1976 



43 



Juan Castro Blanco 

La Cangreja 

La Selva 

Las Tablas 

Miravelles 

Rio Grande 

Rio Pacuare 

Rio Sombrero - Rio Navarro 

Rio Tivives 

San Ramdn 

Tenorio 

Tortuguero 



National/international designations 
Name of area 

Forest Reserves 

Cordillera Volcanica Central 

Golfo Dulce 

Grecia 

Los Santos 

Manglares 

Rio Macho 

Volcan Arenal 

Anthropological Reserves 

Abrojos 

Alto Chirripo' 

Alto Pacuare 

Awari 

Bajo Chirripd 

Barbilla 

Boruca 

Boruca-Terraba 

Cabagra 

China Kicha 

Chirripo 

Codes 

Conte Burica 

Corina 

Coto Brus 

Guatuso 

La Estrella 

Matambu 

Nimari Bukiri 

Osa 

Rey Curr6 



Vffl 


14,258 


1968 




vm 


1,937 




1984 




Vffl 


2,815 




1982 




vm 


19,602 


1981 




vm 


11,670 


1991 




vm 


1,500 




1976 




vm 


13,060 


1991 




vm 


6,440 




1984 




vm 


2,368 




1986 




vm 


7,800 




1991 




vm 


17,650 


1991 




vm 


13,000 


1990 




management 


Area 




Year 


category 


(ha) 




notified 


vm 




61,542 




1975 


vm 




67,287 




1978 


vm 




2,000 




1973 


vm 




62,000 




1975 


vm 




35,000 




1977 


vm 




69,604 




1964 


vm 




5,256 




1969 


vn 




1,480 




1978 


VII 




77,973 




1976 


VII 




1,336 






VII 




1,332 






vn 




18,783 




1976 


VII 




2,077 




1982 


vn 




12,470 




1956 


vn 




31,983 




1957 


vn 




27,860 




1956 


VII 




2,459 






vn 




75,824 




1976 


vn 




3,538 






vn 




11,910 




1977 


vn 




1,555 






vn 




7,500 




1976 


vn 




2,743 




1976 


vn 




13,616 






vn 




1,710 




1976 


vn 




7,439 






vn 




1,700 




1985 


vn 




10,620 




1985 



44 



Salitre 

Sibuju Norte 

Talamanca - Bribri 

Talamanca - Cabecar 

Talamanca 

Tayni 

Telire 

Terraba 

Ujarras Salitre-Cabagra 

Ujarraz 

Zapatdn 

Biosphere Reserves 
Reserva de la Bidsfera de la Amistad 
Cordillera Volcanica Central 

Ramsar Wetlands 
Caiio Negro 
Palo Verde 



vn 


11,700 


1956 


vn 


2,195 




vn 


43,690 


1976 


vn 


22,729 


1976 


vn 


62,253 


1976 


vn 


13,616 


1976 


vn 


16,260 


1976 


vn 


9,350 


1956 


vn 


56,561 


1957 


vn 


19,040 


1956 


vn 


2,855 


1981 


rx 


584,592 


1982 


IX 


144,363 


1988 


R 


19,800 


1992 


R 


9,969 


1992 



World Heritage Sites 

Cordillera de TalamancaLa Amistad 



1977 



EL SALVADOR 






National Parks 






Cerro Verde 


IV 


6,500 1981 


El Imposible 


n 


5,600 1983 


Montecristo 


IV 


3,893 1979 


Wildlife Refuges 






Barra de Santiago 


rv 


2,200 1983 


El Jocotal 


rv 

GUATEMALA 


1,200 1978 


National/international designations IUCN management 


Area Year 


Name of area 


category 


(ha) notified 


National Parks 






Atitlan 


vm 


54,773 1955 


Bahia de Santo Tomas 


V 


1,000 1956 


El Rosario 


vm 


1,031 1980 


El Tigre 


n 


350,000 1990 


Lacanddn 


n 


200,000 1990 


Laguna Lachua 


n 


10,000 1978 


Mirador/Dos Lagunos/Rio Azul 


n 


147,000 1990 



45 



Rio Dulce 

Santa Rosalia 

Sipacate-Naranj o 

Tikal 

Trifinio 

Volcan de Pacaya 

Biotopes 

Chocdn-Machacas 

Mario Dary Rivera (Quetzal) 

Monterrico 

San Miguel - El Zotz 

Biotopo Universitario para la 

Conservacidn del Quetzal 



Vffl 


7,200 


1955 


vm 


1,000 


1956 


rv 


2,000 


1969 


n 


57,400 


1957 


n 


4,000 


1987 


m 


2,000 


1963 


rv 


6,265 


1981 


rv 


1,173 


1976 


vm 


2,800 


1977 


rv 


42,000 


1989 



rv 



1,153 



1977 



Forest Reserves 



Area de Uso Multiple R.B.M. 
Area de Uso Multiple R.S.M. 
Franja Transversal del Norte 
Rio Chixoy 
Rio Salama 


vm 
vm 
vm 
vm 
vm 


650,000 

34,000 

1,200 

28,000 

63,124 


1990 
1990 
1981 
1980 
1956 


Cultural Monuments 

Aguateca 

Ceibal 

Dos Pilas 

Machaquilla 


m 
m 
m 
m 


1,709 
2,100 
3,166 
2,000 


1987 
1984 
1987 
1974 


Biosphere Reserve 

Sierra de las Minas (Zona Niicleo) 


i 


105,700 


1990 


Biosphere Reserve 

Maya 


IX 


1,000,000 


1990 


Ramsar Wetland 
Laguna del Tigre 


R 


48,372 


1990 


World Heritage Site 

Parque Nacional Tikal 


X 


57,400 


1979 


Summary of Protected Areas of Honduras 






National/international designations 
Name of area 


IUCN management 
category 


Area 
(ha) 


Year 
notified 


National Parks 

Agalta 

Azul Meambar 


n 
n 


62,400 
20,000 


1987 
1987 



46 



Celaque 

Cerro Azul 

Islas de la Bahia 

LaTigra 

Montana de Comayagua 

Montana de Cusuco 

Montana de Yoro 

Pico Bonito 

Pico Pijol 

Santa Barbara 

Trifinio 

Biological Reserves 

El Chiflador 

El Chile 

ElPital 

Guajiquiro 

Guisayote 

Lancetilla 

Misaco 

Montecillos 

Opalaca 

Volcan Pacayita 

Yerba Buena 

Yuscaran 

Wildlife Refuges 

Corralitos 

El Armado 

Erapuca 

La Muralla 

Mixcure 

Montana Verde 

Montana de Puca 

Rios de Cuero y Salado 

Texiguat 

Protected Area 

Jardin Botanico de Lancetilla IV 1,253 1978 

Forest Reserves 

Agalteca 

El Cajdn 

Guanaja 

Golfo de Fonseca 

Olancho 

Sierra de Omoa 



47 



n 


27,000 


1987 


n 


15,000 


1987 


n 


29,416 




n 


7,550 


1980 


n 


18,000 


1987 


n 


18,000 


1987 


n 


15,000 


1987 


n 


112,500 


1987 


n 


11,400 


1987 


n 


13,000 


1987 


n 


5,400 


1987 


IV 


1,000 


1987 


IV 


12,000 


1987 


rv 


3,800 


1987 


IV 


7,000 


1987 


IV 


7,000 


1987 


IV 


1,681 


1987 


rv 


4,600 




IV 


12,500 


1987 


rv 


14,500 


1987 


rv 


9,700 


1987 


rv 


3,600 


1987 


rv 


2,300 


1987 


rv 


5,500 


1987 


IV 


3,500 


1987 


rv 


5,600 


1987 


IV 


6,093 


1987 


rv 


8,000 


1987 


rv 


8,300 




IV 


4,900 


1987 


IV 


8,500 


1988 


rv 


10,000 


1987 



n 


100,000 


1966 


vni 


33,696 




vm 


5,400 


1969 


vm 


50,000 


1958 


vm 


1,000,000 


1966 


vm 


8,315 





Multiple Use Reserves 
Cerro Guanacaure 
Lago de Yojoa 



National/international designations 
Name of Area 

Biosphere Reserve 

Reserva de la Bidsfera Rio Pldtano 

World Heritage Site 
Reserva de la Bidsfera Rio Ptetano 



vm 
vm 


1,000 
34,628 


1971 


management 
category 


Area 

(ha) 


Year 

notified 


IX 


500,000 


1980 


X 


500,000 


1982 



MEXICO 



National/international designations 


IUCN management 


Area 


Year 


Name of area 


category 


(ha) 


notified 


National Parks 








Benito Juarez 


n 


2,737 


1937 


Bosencheve 


n 


15,000 


1940 


Caiidn del Rio Blanco 


n 


55,900 


1938 


Canon del Sumidero 


n 


21,789 


1980 


Cascada de Bassaseachic 


n 


6,263 


1981 


Cerro de la Estrella 


n 


1,100 


1938 


Cofre de Perote 


n 


11,700 


1937 


Constitucidn de 1857 


n 


5,009 


1962 


Cumbres de Majalca 


n 


4,772 


1939 


Cumbres de Monterrey 


n 


246,500 


1939 


El Chico 


n 


2,739 


1982 


El Cimatario 


n 


2,447 


1982 


El Gogorrdn 


ii 


25,000 


1936 


El Potosi 


n 


2,000 


1936 


El Tepozteco 


ii 


24,000 


1937 


El Veladero 


n 


3,159 


1980 


Grutas de Cacahuamilpa 


in 


1,600 


1936 


Insurgente Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon 


n 


4,324 


1939 


Insurgente Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla 


n 


1,760 


1936 


Isla Isabela 


ii 


194 


1980 


Iztaccihuatl-Popocatepetl 


n 


25,679 


1935 


La Malinche 


n 


45,711 


1938 


Lagunas de Chacahua 


n 


14,187 


1937 


Lagunas de Montebello 


ii 


6,022 


1959 


Lagunas de Zempoala 


n 


4,669 


1936 


Los M&rmoles 


n 


23,150 


1936 


Nevado de Colima 


n 


22,200 


1936 



48 



Nevado de Toluca 

Palenque 

Pico de Orizaba 

Pico de Tancitaro 

Sierra de San Pedro Mixtii 

Zoquiapan y Anexas 

Biosphere Reserves (National) 

Calakmul 

El Pinacate 

El Triunfo 

El Vizcaino 

Mapimf 

Michilfa 

Montes Azules 

Sian Ka'an 

Sierra de Manantlan 



n 


51,000 


1936 


V 


1,772 


1981 


n 


19,750 


1937 


n 


29,316 


1940 


n 


63,000 


1947 


n 


19,418 


1937 


V 


723,185 


1989 


V 


480,956 




i 


119,177 


1972 


V 


2,546,790 


1988 


V 


103,000 


1977 


V 


42,000 


1977 


n 


331,200 


1978 


n 


528,147 


1986 


V 


139,577 


1987 



Marine Reserve 
La Blanquilla 



IV 



66,868 



1975 



Faunal Reserve 
Isla Cedros 

Cetacean Sanctuary 
Isla de Guerrero Negro 

Refuges 
La Mojonera 
La Primavera 
Sierra de Alvarez 
Sierra del Pinacate 
Valle de los Cirios 



I 


1,000 


1978 


I 


40,000 


1979 


rv 
rv 
rv 
rv 

TV 


9,201 

30,500 

16,900 

28,660 

3,500,000 


1981 
1980 
1981 
1979 
1980 



Natural Monument 
Cerro de la Silla 



6,045 



1991 



Natural and Typical Biotope 
La Encrucijada 



IV 



30,000 



1972 



Special Biosphere Reserves 

Cascadas de Agua Azul 

El Ocote 

Isla Contoy 

Isla Guadalupe 

Isla Tibur6n 

Islas del Golfo de California 

Mariposa Monarca 



m 


2,580 


1980 


IV 


48,140 


1982 


i 


176 


1961 


i 


25,000 


1922 


vn 


120,800 


1963 


i 


150,000 


1978 


i 


16,100 


1980 



49 



Rfa Celestun 


IV 


Rfa Lagartos 


IV 


Sierra de Santa Martha 


vn 


Volcan de San Martin 


vn 


Park 




Omiltemi 


n 


Forest Reserves 




Bavispe 


Vffl 


Campo Verde 


vm 


Centenario 


Vffl 


El Gavilan 


vm 


Mesa del Pitorreal 


vni 


Papigochic 


vm 


Portion Boscosa de San Luis Potosf 


vm 


San Jos6 de los Molinos 


vm 


Sierra de Juarez 


vm 


Sierra de Los Ajos, Buenos Aires y Purica 


vm 


Sierra de Pedro Martir 


vm 



59,130 


1979 


47,840 


1979 


20,000 


1980 


1,500 


1979 



3,600 



198,164 


1939 


78,792 


1938 


3,000 


1949 


9,682 


1923 


4,900 


1923 


172,480 


1939 


29,885 


1923 


2,995 


1942 


140,000 


1951 


21,494 


1936 


74,000 


1951 


1,249,000 


1923 


32,000 


1935 


18,215 


1926 


364,952 


1937 



Sierras de Hansen y San Pedro Martir, y Mesa Pinal Vffl 
Tequixquipan VUJ 

Terenos de Puebla y Mexico Vffl 

Tutuaca Vffl 

Protection Area for Wild Flora and Fauna 

Corredor Bioldgico Chichinautzin IV 37,302 1988 

Biosphere Reserves 

El Cielo 

Montes Azules 

Reserva de Mapimf 

Reserva de la Michiha 

Sian Ka'an 

Sierra de Manantlan 

National/international designations 
Name of area 

Ramsar Wetlands 

Rfa Lagartos, Yucatan R 47,480 1986 

World Heritage Site 

Sian Ka'an X 528,000 1987 



IX 


144,530 


1986 


IX 


331,200 


1979 


IX 


103,000 


1977 


IX 


42,000 


1977 


IX 


523,147 


1986 


IX 


139,577 


1988 


IUCN management 


Area 


Year 


category 


(ha) 


notified 



50 



NICARAGUA 



National/international designations 
Name of area 

National Parks 
Archipielago Zapatera 
Saslaya 
Volcan Masaya 

Biological Reserves 
Cayos Miskitos 
Rio Indio Maiz 

Wildlife Refuges 

La Flor 

Los Guatusos 

Rio Escalante-Chococente 

Midland Areas 

Macizos de Penas Blancas 

Pinares de Dipilto 

National Natural Resource Reserve 
Bosawas 

National Natural Reserve 

Alamikamba 

Archipelago de Solentiname 

Castillo de la Inmaculada 

Cerro Bana Cruz 

Cordillera Maribios 

Estero Real 

Isla Juan Venado 

Isla de Ometepe 

Laguna Mecatepe 

Laguna de Apoyo 

Laguna de Tisma 

Makantaka 

Padre Ramos 

Peninsula Chiltepe 

Volcan Conception 

Volcan Cosiguina 

Volcan Maderas 

Volcan Mombacho 

Volcan Momotombe y Momotombito 

Yucul 



management 
category 


Area 

(ha) 


Year 
notified 


n 
n 
n 


10,000 
11,800 
5,500 


1983 
1971 
1978 


rv 

i 


502,654 
295,000 


1991 
1990 


VI 

rv 

rv 


1,500 

10,000 

4,800 


1983 
1990 
1983 


VI 
VI 


7,000 
1,500 


1976 
1983 



vm 



800,000 



1991 



IV 


2,100 


1991 


rv 


8,500 


1990 


rv 


1,500 


1990 


IV 


19,700 


1991 


VI 


34,460 


1983 


IV 


38,725 


1976 


rv 


4,500 




rv 


3,700 




m 


1,050 




rv 


2,100 




rv 


7,000 


1983 


rv 


2,000 


1991 


IV 


4,826 


1990 


VI 


1,800 


1983 


vm 


2,200 




IV 


12,420 


1976 


rv 


4,000 


1983 


VI 


2,847 


1983 


VI 


8,500 


1983 


VI 


4,826 


1990 



51 



PANAMA 



National/international designations 


IUCN management 


Area 


Year 


Name of area 


category 


(ha) 


notified 


National Parks 








Altos de Campana 


n 


4,816 


1977 


Cerro Hoya 


n 


32,557 


1984 


Chagres 


n 


129,000 


1984 


Coiba 


n 


270,000 


1991 


Darien 


n 


579,000 


1980 


La Amistad 


n 


207,000 


1988 


Portobelo 


n 


34,846 


1976 


Sarigua 


n 


8,000 


1984 


Soberania 


n 


22,104 


1980 


Volcan Baru 


n 


14,000 


1976 



National Marine Park 
Isla Bastimentos 



n 



13,226 



1988 



Scientific Reserve 
Isla Maje 

Wildlife Refuges 
Cienega del Mangle 
Islas Taboga y Uraba 
Pendn de la Onda 



1,433 



1977 



rv 


776 


1980 


IV 


258 


1984 


IV 


2,000 


1984 



Natural Monument 
Barro Colorado 



n 



15,400 



1977 



Natural Park 
Metropolitano 



265 



1985 



Forest Reserves 
Cangldn 
Chepigana 
La Tronosa 
La Yeguada 
Montuoso 

Protection Forests 
Alto de Darien 
Palo Seco 

Indigenous Reserves 
Comarca Kuna Yala (San Bias) 
Embere-Wounan (Ember-Orua) 



vm 
vm 
vm 
vni 
vm 


31,650 

146,000 

22,000 

3,000 

10,000 


1984 
1960 
1977 
1960 
1978 


vm 
vm 


211,000 
244,000 


1972 
1983 


vn 
vn 


320,000 
432,600 


1938 
1983 



52 



Water Production Reserve 
La Fortuna 

Recreation Area 
Lago Gatiin 
Golfo de Montijo 



vm 



15,000 1976 



348 1985 
80,765 1990 



Biosphere 

Parque National Fronterizo Darien 

Ramsar Wetland 

Golfo de Montijo 

World Heritage Sites 
Parque National Darien 
Parque International La Amistad 



IX 



IX 
X 



597,000 1983 
80,765 1990 



579,000 1981 
207,000 1990 



53 



spl 



WORLD CONSERVATION MONITORING CENTRE 

The Conservation and Sustainable use of the 
Plant Genetic Resources of Central America 



Project summary 



With funds from the UK Darwin Initiative and the Swedish International Development Agency (SID A), 
WCMC is undertaking a study of the in situ conservation of useful plant genetic resources of Mexico and 
Central America, focusing particularly on the wild progenitors and landraces of crop plants. The project 
is being developed in partnership with international and regional organisations including the International 
Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRr); Mesoamerican Plant Genetic Resources Network (REMERFI) 
and Smithsonian Institution. 

Mexico and the countries of Central America have a significant level of indigenous crop genetic diversity 
and this is linked with scientific and applied research interests. There is currently, within the region, a 
conjunction of very positive elements in the study and conservation of plant genetic resources. The WCMC 
project provides an opportunity to strengthen in situ conservation through interdisciplinary activities. The 
intention is to involve a wide range of national organisations, both governmental and non-governmental, 
linking the plant genetic resource sector and other agencies of biodiversity conservation. 

A regional strategy will be developed to reverse the trend of accelerating genetic erosion of plants of current 
or potential economic value. The need to conserve genetic resources for their use in food production, 
sustainable agriculture, forestry and new pharmaceuticals is widely recognised by governments and provides 
a powerful incentive for the conservation of biodiversity. This realisation is reinforced by the provisions 
of Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Convention, both of which stress the need to identify and monitor the 
status, threats to, and utilisation of plant genetic resources. 

In general, the emphasis in conservation of agricultural plant genetic resources around the world, has been 
almost entirely on ex situ conservation linked to plant breeding. Methodologies for in situ conservation have 
hardly been elaborated and information on which to plan in situ conservation strategies remains fragmented 
and incomplete. Expertise within Meso-America facilitated through this project, and with input from 
international agencies, will develop methodologies for in situ conservation, appropriate to the region, which 
can be used as a model worldwide. 



The long term objectives of the project are: 

i. to assess the status, distribution and threats to the most economically important plants and their wild 
relatives in Central America 

ii. to determine current and potential uses and economic benefits of the plant genetic resources of the 
region 

iii. to promote the conservation of genetic variation amongst the wild progenitors and landraces of 
agricultural crop plants in the region 

iv. to reinforce the economic values of plant genetic resources as an incentive for countries in the region 
to conserve their biodiversity 

v. to build the capabilities of the national institutions within the region to identify, evaluate and utilise 
their plant genetic resources as a key component of the biological wealth of the countries 

vi. to develop, field-test and refine a methodology for in-country gathering of data and assessing 
national priorities, which will be presented to the FAO 1996 Conference on Plant Genetic Resources. 

vii. to develop a methodology and operational practice for quantifying the status, use and economic 
values of plant genetic resources that can be applied in other regions of the world 

It is proposed to hold an orientation meeting within the region in September 1994 to plan details of project 
implementation. This meeting will bring together national experts in plant genetic resources and ecosystem 
conservation. In preparation for the meeting, WCMC will prepare a series of reports as a basis, for 
discussion and development of methodologies. The proposed contents of the reports result from discussions 
at a preliminary meeting between Comisi6n National de Recursos Fitogen6ticos de Costa Rica 
(CONAREFI); IPGRI Latin American Regional Office; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK; Royal Botanic 
Garden, Edinburgh, UK; CAB International and the Smithsonian Institution, USA. Wide consultation will 
be undertaken in preparation of the discussion documents for the meeting. 

As a basis for discussion WCMC will prepare: 

* the extent and coverage of information on plant genetic resources in situ 

* a directory of experts on the taxa identified as of priority by REMERFI 

* an assessment of the extent to which these species are held in ex situ collections 

* an analysis of the protected area coverage, the extent to which botanical inventories exist for 
protected areas, and the level of available information on the diversity of genetic resources conserved 
in situ 

* GIS data sets for selected taxa 

* review of database applications and draft transfer formats for data exchange on in situ conservation 
of plant genetic resources. 

For more information on the project please contact: 

Harriet Gillett 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre 

219 Huntingdon Road 

Cambridge CB3 ODL 

Tel: 0223 277314 Fax: 0223 277136 email: plants@wcmc.org.uk 



Ip 



WORLD CONSERVATION MONITORING CENTRE 

La Conservation y el Uso Sustentable de los Recursos 
Fitogeneticos de Centro America 




Resumen del proyecto 

Con los fondos del " UK Darwin Initiative" y de la Agencia International de Desarrollo de Suecia (SID A), 
el Centro Mundial de Monitoreo de la Conservation (WCMC) esta llevando a cabo un estudio sobre la 
conservacidn in situ de recursos fitogeneticos utiles de Mexico y Centro America, con un enfasis especial 
en las plantas de origen silvestre y en "landraces". El proyecto se esta desarrollando en conjunto con 
organizaciones internacionales y regionales entre las que se incluye al Instituto International de Recursos 
Fitogeneticos (IPGRI), la Red Mesoamericana de Recursos Fitogeneticos (REMERFI), y el Instituto 
Smithsonian. 

Mexico y los paises de Centro America tienen un nivel significativo de diversidad genetica en cultivos 
autdctonos, lo cual es de gran relevancia para intereses cientificos y para la investigation aplicada. En la 
actualidad existen en la region una serie de elementos muy positivos para el estudio y la conservation de 
recursos fitogeneticos. El proyecto del WCMC provee una oportunidad para fortalecer la conservacidn in 
situ a traves de actividades interdisciplinarias. La intention es la de involucrar una amplia gama de 
organizaciones tanto gubernamentales como no gubernamentales, interrelacionando asi al sector de recursos 
fitogeneticos con otras agendas de conservacidn de la biodiversidad. 

Se desarrollar£ una estrategia regional para cambiar el ritmo acelerado con el cual se estan destruyendo 
recursos geneticos en plantas que tienen un valor economico actual o potential. La necesidad de conservar 
recursos geneticos para su uso en la produccidn de alimentos, en la agriculture sustentable, en actividades 
forestales y en el desarrollo de nuevos productos farmaceuticos es ampliamente reconocida por los gobiernos 
y constituye una herramienta de gran peso para la conservacidn de la biodiversidad. Esta necesidad es 
reforzada en las disposiciones de Agenda 21 y de la Convention de Biodiversidad, las cuales enfatizan la 
necesidad de identificar y monitorizar el status, la amenazas, y la utilization de los recursos fitogeneticos. 

En terminos generates, el enfasis en la conservacidn de recursos fitogeneticos agricolas a nivel mundial ha 
estado enfocado casi exclusivamente hacia la conservacidn ex situ relacionada a la produccidn y 
reproduction de plantas. Muy pocas metodologias para conservation in situ han sido elaboradas y la 
information con la cual planificar estrategias de conservacidn in situ continua fragmentada e incompleta. 
El conocimiento sobre Mesoamerica generado en este proyecto, con la colaboracidn de agencias 
internacionales, contribuira al desarrollo de una metodologia para conservacidn in situ adecuada a la regidn, 
la cual podr£ ser utilizada como un modelo a nivel mundial. 



Los objetivos a largo plazo de este proyecto son: 

i asesorar sobre el status, la distribucidn y las amenazas hacia las plantas mas importantes en terminos 

econdmicos (y sus especies silvestres relacionadas) de Centro America, 
ii determinar los usos actuales y potenciales y los beneficios econdmicos de los recursos fitogeneticos 

de la regidn 
iii promover la conservation de variedades geneticas entre los progenitores silvestres y los "landraces" 

de plantas de cultivo agricola en la regidn 
iv reforzar el valor econdmico de los recursos fitogeneticos como un incentivo para que los paises de 

la region conserven su biodiversidad 
v contribuir al desarrollo de la capacidad de las instituciones nacionales en la regidn para que 

identifiquen, evaluen y utilicen sus recursos fitogeneticos como un componente clave de la riqueza 

biologica de sus paises. 
vi desarrollar pruebas de campo y refinar una metodologia para la recoleccidn de datos a nivel nacional 

y para el asesoramiento de prioridades nacionales, lo cual sera presentado a la Conferencia de 1996 

de la FAO sobre Recursos Fitogeneticos. 
vii desarrollar una metodologia y experiencia practica para cuantificar el status, el uso y los valores 

econdmicos de los recursos fitogeneticos, la cual pueda ser aplicada en otras regiones del mundo. 

Se propone que se lleve a cabo una reunion de orientacidn en la regidn en septiembre de 1994 para 
planificar los detalles sobre la implementacidn del proyecto. Esta reunion agrupara a expertos nacionales 
en recursos fitogeneticos y en la conservacion de ecosistemas. Para la reunion WCMC preparara una serie 
de reportes como base para la discusidn y para el desarrollo de las metodologias. El contenido propuesto 
para los reportes es el resultado de discusiones de una reunion preliminar entre la Comisidn Nacional de 
Recursos Fitogeneticos de Costa Rica (CONAREFI); la Oficina Latinoamericana Regional de IPGRI; el 
Jardin Botanico Real de Kew, Reino Unido; el Jardin Botanico Real de Edimburgo, Reino Unido; CAB 
Internacional y el Instituto Smithsonian, USA. Se llevarl a cabo una amplia consulta durante la preparacidn 
de los documentos de discusidn para la reunion. 

Como bases para la discusidn WCMC preparara: 

* la extension y cobertura de la informacidn sobre recursos fitogeneticos in situ. 

* un directorio de expertos en taxa, senalada como un prioridad por REMERFI 

* un asesoramiento sobre la medida en la cual estas especies existen en colecciones ex situ 

* un andlisis de la cobertura de areas protegidas, la medida en la cual existen inventarios botanicos 
para las areas protegidas, y el nivel de informacidn disponible de los recursos fitogeneticos 
conservados in situ 

* Datos de Sistemas de Informacidn Geografica para grupos de taxa seleccionados 

* una revisidn de aplicaciones de bases de datos y formatos preliminares de transferencia para 
intercambio de datos sobre conservacion in situ de recursos fitogeneticos 



Para mayor informacidn sobre el proyecto por favor contactar a: 

Harriet Gillett 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre 

219 Huntingdon Road 

Cambridge CB3 ODL 

Tel: + 0223 277314 Fax: 0223 277136 Correo electronico: plants@wcmc.org.uk 






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WW 



WORLD CONSERVATION 
MONITORING CENTRE 



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World Conservation Monitoring Centre 

219 Huntingdon Road 

Cambridge CB3 ODL 

United Kingdom 

Telephone +44 223 2773 14 
Fax +44 223 277136 



IUCN <§ 






, P * The World Conservation Monitoring Centre is a joint-venture between the three 

It* *J partQers who developed the WorW Conservation^trategy and its successor Caring for 

*WF l/ie Eart/j: IUCN-The World Conservation Union, UNEP- United Nations Environment 

AVWF Programme, and WWF-World Wide Fund for Nature.