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.
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.
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
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→
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!
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)→
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→
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.
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→
Alex Monro's blog about the documenting and conservation of biodiversity