Tag Archives: Seed

Almacenamiento de semillas de Brosimum alicastrum (Ojushte, Rámon, Capomo)

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Frutos fresco de Brosimum alicastrum

Como parte de un proyecto financiado por la Iniciativa Darwin (18-010) para apoyar la recolección sostenible de Brosimum alicastrum tuvimos la suerte de trabajar con un equipo del Millennium Seed Bank de RBG Kew.  Anaïte López del Instituto Nacional de Bosques de Guatemala pasó un mes en el banco de semillas trabajando con Tim Marks, Wolfgang Stuppy y Louise Colville bajo la dirección de Hugh Pritchard, el jefe de investigación de semillas. Brosimum alicastrum es difícil de almacenar y esto ha impactado sobre su uso en reforestation en América Central. El equipo del banco de semillas emprendió una serie de experimentos para identificar las condiciones óptimas para el almacenamiento. La investigación involucró a varias conclusiones nuevas y emocionantes que estamos en proceso de publicar. Afortunadamente también identificó las condiciones que soportan almacenamiento de hasta un año.

Las condiciones óptimas de almacenamiento consisten en el mantenimiento de la semilla a 15 ° C y un límite superior de humedad del 75% RH. Sorprendentemente humedad puede ser mucho más baja sin afectar a la viabilidad de la semilla. El almacenamiento a 15 ° C impide la germinación y el daño que ocurre frío abajo de los 10 ° C, donde la posterior fuga de electrolitos anima a daños por hongos durante la fase de germinación.

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Sección a través de una semilla de Brosimum alicastrum fresco realizado por Wolfgang Stuppy del Millennium Seed Bank, Kew

 

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Seed storage protocol for Brosimum alicastrum (Ojushte, Rámon, Breadnut, Maya Nut)

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As part of  Darwin Initiative grant (18-010) to support the sustainable harvesting of Brosimum alicastrum we were very fortunate in working with a team from the Millennium Seed Bank of RBG Kew. Anaíte López from the Instituto Nacional de Bosques in Guatemala spent one month at the Seed Bank working with Tim Marks, Wolfgang Stuppy and Louise Colville under the guidance of Hugh Pritchard, the head of seed research. Brosimum alicastrum is difficult to store and this has had an affect on its use in reforestation in Central America. The team at the Seed Bank undertook a range of experiments to identify the optimal conditions for storage. The research involved several new and exciting findings which we are in the process of publishing. Fortunately it also identified conditions which support storage for up to a year.

Optimal storage conditions consist of maintaining seed at 15°C and upper limit of humidity of 75% RH. Surprisingly humidity can be much lower without impacting on seed viability. Storage at 15°C  prevents most of the in-storage germination seen at higher temperatures, and the chill damage occurring at 10°C or below, where subsequent electrolyte leakage encourages fungal damage during germination phase.

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Section through fresh Brosimum alicastrum seed undertaken by Wolfgang Stuppy of the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew

 

‘Win-win-wins in conservation: presentation at UNESCO ‘Botanists of the 21st C’ Conference

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Brosimum alicastrum fruits with the fleshy skin that is consumed by bats and birds, and showing the large seed that drops to the forest floor where it can be harvested. Image by Erika Vohman.

I have been very lucky to present some of the work that Tonya Lander at Oxford University and I have been working on at the UNESCO ‘Botanists of the 21st C’ Conference in Paris. The work builds on a project whose aim was to provide scientific tools for the sustainable harvesting of the underutilized crop and tropical forest tree, Brosimum alicastrum that Tonya and myself undertook in association with the Maya Nut Institute and which was funded by the Darwin Initiative. Tonya and colleagues at Exeter and Oxford University developed a clever way of using investment risk data to help prioritise conservation actions. The basis of this was to use investment risk ratings as a surrogate for the risk of a conservation action failing because of corruption, lack of government infrastructure or capacity

Click here to see a pdf of the slides and notes

September 22, 11 am. Venue: Room IV, UNESCO Headquarters, 7 Place de Fontenoy, Paris, 75007, France

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Rural community dweller rinsing Brosimum alicastrum seeds collected from the forest floor. Image by Erika Vohman.

How to inoculate Inga seeds prior to planting

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Inga edulis seeds freshly shelled from their pod. Inga  seeds are viviparous, that is they germinate directly without passing through a dormant or quiescent phase as in the case of most seeds

We are using Inga to restore soils to productivity because of its ability to grow rapidly in, and improve the fertility of compacted, acidic and nutrient poor soils.  This is depends on its ability to form an association with  Rhizobia bacteria in the soil which, in return for shelter and some sugar, convert nitrogen in the air to a form which promotes plant growth in the soil. This association takes the form of small nodules on the roots (see image below) which act as mega bacteria colonies. If our seedlings are to restore soils to productivity then it is essential that we help them form these associations. In the pod the seeds are not in contact with Rhizobia bacteria and in the wild inoculation would occur only when the seed falls to the ground and comes into contact with the soil. Continue reading How to inoculate Inga seeds prior to planting

Our project team in Bolivia and the UK

Rolman Velarde, our agroforest manager based at Herencia. Rolman has overall responsibility for overseeing the seedling nurseries and developing agroforest plots. Together with Jazmin he also plays an essential role in liaising and developing our relationships with each community
Rolman Velarde, our agroforest manager based at Herencia. Rolman has overall responsibility for overseeing the seedling nurseries and developing agroforest plots. Together with Jazmin he also plays an essential role in liaising and developing our relationships with each community

Our project aims to reduce pressure on natural forests in the Pando by supporting Inga-based agroforest systems, identifying non-timber products and raising awareness of the economic and biodiversity value of these forests. This requires a dedicated team of people in Bolivia but also in the UK where some of the technical expertise and the funds reside. Our team comprises people from the Bolivian NGO Herencia, the  Noel Kempf Mercado Natural History Museum in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Jazmín Daza, our community outreach and Bosque de los Niños coordinator. Jazmín is based with Herencia in Cobija, Bolivia and has helped set up the Bosque de los Ninos plots in the Pando
Jazmín Daza, our community outreach and Bosque de los Niños coordinator. Jazmín is based with Herencia in Cobija, Bolivia and has helped set up the Bosque de los Ninos plots in the Pando

Continue reading Our project team in Bolivia and the UK

Three months on: how our seedlings are developing

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Rolman Velarde at the Motacusal nursery with one the seedlings sown in October. Note the length of the roots!

It is now three months since we sowed our first seed and most of the seedlings are now 40  cm tall and ready for planting out. Together with Terry Pennington I am planning to travel to Bolivia in a couple of weeks where with Peruvian Jaime Leon  we will assist with establishing the first Inga agroforest plot in the Amazon. The only problem is that most of the community members are deep in the forest harvesting Brazil Nuts!

Continue reading Three months on: how our seedlings are developing

Maya Nut: not just an ordinary fruit (or nut)

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A ripe Maya Nut fruit, the sweet fleshy green outer layer of the fruit is consumed by bats, birds and monkeys leaving the intact seed to fall to the forest floor.

Our recent findings have lead us to develop a protocol which enables the storage of Maya Nut (Brosimum alicastrum) seed for several months. As part of this we asked Wolfgang Stuppy from the Millennium Seed Bank to have a look at the anatomy of the fruit and seed to see whether we could get any insights into why it behaves as it does. As part of this work he came across some very interesting facts about the fruit and seed. Continue reading Maya Nut: not just an ordinary fruit (or nut)

Maya Nut: developing a storage protocol for a Central American famine food

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Maya Nut (Brosimum alicastrum) freshly harvested and roasted. Freshly harvested seeds as they are collected from the forest floor (pale brown, foreground) and after they have been roasted prior to being ground into a flour

Our recent findings have lead us to develop a protocol which enables the storage of Maya Nut (Brosimum alicastrum) seed for several months. Since September 2012 Anaité López (Instituto Nacional de Bosques, Guatemala), Tim Marks (Millennium Seed Bank) and Wolfgang Stuppy (The Millennium Seed Bank) have been working at the Millennium Seed Bank to develop a long-term storage protocol for the seed of the Maya Nut tree (Brosimum alicastrum). Maya Nut is a significant famine food for the rural poor in northern Central America but at the moment it is not possible to store the seed for more than a couple of weeks. Previous posts have highlighted the observation that this seed does not survive for long in the wild and this has been believed to be a consequence of the seed’s very thin papery coat which leaves it vulnerable to desiccation and fungal attack .  Continue reading Maya Nut: developing a storage protocol for a Central American famine food

Two months on: how the seedlings are developing

It is over two months since we planted our first seeds and after a good start our seedlings are  thriving despite the unwanted attention of crickets. Some of the seedlings are now 35 cm tall and will be ready to plant out within a few weeks.

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The seedling nursery at Motacusal has done very well. The community have even prepared and planted some additional seed (Image: Rolman Velarde)

Continue reading Two months on: how the seedlings are developing

Inga seedling nursery: the main causes of mortality

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Crickets have turned out to be a major source of mortality for our seedlings. Note that although the cricket has decapitated this seedling a secondary shoot lies in reserve ready to replace it

As Inga has never before been trialed for agroforestry in the Amazon it is important that we record the scale and different causes of mortality to inform other attempts. This is done by Rolman Velarde our chief engineer on the ground in Bolivia together with each community. The main cause of mortality so far has been the failure of ca 8% of seedlings to germinate, probably because we are still learning how to  optimize the processing of seed. Surprisingly the consistent second cause of mortality is the very neat and precise decapitation of seedling by what our communities think are crickets. Continue reading Inga seedling nursery: the main causes of mortality