Forest Conservation Genetics: Principles and Practice

Forest Conservation Genetics: Principles and Practice

Biological Conservation 101 (2001) 259–261 Book reviews Forest Conservation Genetics: Principles and Practice A. Youn...

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Biological Conservation 101 (2001) 259–261

Book reviews

Forest Conservation Genetics: Principles and Practice A. Young, D. Boshier, T. Boyle (Eds.); CSIRO Publishing, 2000, 368 pp., hardback, ISBN 0 643 06260 2. £89.95. A true multidisciplinary field, forest conservation genetics includes aspects of ecology, population genetics, economics and social policy. Any book addressing the subject is therefore expected to be all encompassing. Beyond presenting widely accepted fundamentals, it should also produce some insight into the current state of knowledge in a field undergoing a turbulent period of growth. Young, Boshier and Boyle together with a number of contributors from several fields have met all these challenges. The book’s 22 chapters are divided into five sections: basic principles and current genetic marker technologies; population genetic processes; threats to genetic diversity both in situ and ex situ and genetic monitoring; socio-economics and policy development. While most of the background in the first part can be found in other texts a fresh analysis of primary research is presented in next four sections. The inclusion of quite recent primary work and a balance of tropical and temperate research are what set this volume apart from others. Accompanying the book is a useful CD ROM which contains the population genetics software POPGENE, and despite the fact that there are many similar packages which can be found free on the web, this resource will provide an accessible approach to the practical exploration of genes at the population level. As the book is aimed at a wide audience, there is bound to be new information for everyone. The section on genetic processes in forests is followed by a discussion on how forest conservation is threatened by the effects of logging, pollution, habitat fragmentation,

hybridization and other factors. No discussion on forest conservation would be complete without a consideration of ex situ processes: domestication and maintenance of genetic diversity in plantations is followed by a discussion on the interaction between natural and artificial populations. The final section provides a refreshing revision of traditional conservation approaches. The authors not only address the socio-economic and policy context within which forest conservation initiatives are set, but also provide suggestions on how to best to integrate conflicts among various stakeholders. Genetic criteria, although fundamental to any management decision, should only be considered as part of an approach combining all three components. Any conservation effort must rest on firm theoretical grounding, thus the accumulation of baseline information on demographic and genetic processes from a broad range of forest species can be complemented with detailed studies on a few model species. The breadth of subjects covered in the text reflects the complexity of the field but the authors are convinced that bridges between seemingly divergent concerns can be built. If recent advances in the development of molecular markers and their analyses are applied to forest conservation within a recognized socio-economic context, perhaps more forests and ther services they provide may be saved. Esther Kamau Department of Genetics University of Cambridge Downing Street Cambridge CB2 3EH, UK E-mail address: [email protected]

PII: S0006-3207(01)00057-X

0006-3207/01/$ - see front matter # 2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S0006-3207(01)00057-X