The use of many high value indigenous tropical forest tree species in tree planting and conservation programmes is hindered by problems associated with seed handling and storage. Generally, the knowledge about seed physiology of most tree species is scarce or non-existent. The seeds of a large proportion of tree species, particularly in the humid tropics, are difficult to handle due to their sensitivity to drying and other physiological factors. Many are said to be recalcitrant or intermediate and are difficult to store over short periods of time.

In order to improve the sustainable forest management and conservation of biodiversity through the conservation and use of tropical forest species, Danida Forest Seed Centre and the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute initiated a project in 1996, funded by Danida, on handling and storage of such seeds, involving many national institutes in the tropics. In the first phase of the project, a protocol for determining the minimum moisture content and optimal storage conditions was developed and tested on about 30 species. A second phase of the project is now well under way and participants will be gathering more information on additional species and the practical applicability of the results will be tested in large scale trials.

For more information about the project please contact: Dr. Ehsan Dulloo, IPGRI, Via dei Tre Denari, 472/a, 00057 Maccarese, Rome, Italy. Telephone: +39-066118206. Email: e.dulloo@cgiar.org

The project's newsletter is edited by Danida Forest Seed Centre. Articles of relevance to the project, comments, discussions, etc. are welcome from everybody. Please contact Dorthe Joeker, DFSC, Krogerupvej 21, DK-3050 Humlebaek, Denmark. Email: dorj@kvl.dk and SL-International@kvl.dk. Phone: (45) 49 19 05 00. Fax: (45) 49 16 02 58. The newsletter can be ordered free of charge from the same address.