Conserving palms

Two palm stories were in the news yesterday. First, from Brazil, how a local community is changing its ways in an effort to exploit the juçara palm (Euterpe edulis) more sustainably. Then, from India, news of a biotechnological trick to determine the sex of palmyrah palms without having to wait for them to grow up.

I’ve been having to do rather more thinking about palm conservation than is altogether comfortable at work lately — coconut is such a beast, really. That, and these stories, and the need for some displacement activity got me googling. Kew and the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden seem to be at the forefront of palm conservation. There have been some successes in the field, but I’m beginning to think that at least for coconut the best bet may be Roland Bourdeix’s islet idea.

European Commission directive on landraces

And here’s the text of the Directive announced in an earlier post. As it starts being interpreted and implemented (or not) in different ways in different member countries, it will be interesting to monitor what actually happens to genetic diversity. I hope someone’s gathering the baseline data for this natural experiment, or “randomized evaluation” as I believe economists call them. The floor is open for discussion!

LATER: Perhaps the Farm Seed Opportunities project will set that baseline?

Nibbles: No-dig, Joe, Gritty Veg, Insect food, Forests, Finger millet, Bees