COGENT (the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network) had conducted several consultations on the conservation and use of coconut diversity to assist coconut growing countries to develop a progressive conservation strategy.
The Global Coconut Conservation Strategy is now available on line. This strategy was reviewed during a meeting gathering genebank managers, international experts and the COGENT Steering Committee in December 2007. The strategy aims to optimize the conservation of as much representative diversity as possible in the most cost-effective manner for the short, medium and long term.
The Polymotu approach was included in the global coconut strategy, as shown in the following extracts:
"A new conservation strategy, which involves planting of single coconut varieties on small islands, serves both conservation and breeding purposes. The geographical remoteness of the islets will ensure isolated reproductive systems that are needed for true-to-type breeding, avoiding the use of the costly technique of controlled pollination. This strategy includes both in situ and ex situ conservation – an Indonesian Islet, for instance, could be planted either with a local variety or a Polynesian variety."
"Promoting conservation through use by supporting national coconut breeding efforts in a globally coordinated breeding programme; testing new approaches to conservation such as the use of islets for in situ conservation as well as for breeding and seed nut production; linking with research activities to serve as platform for the utilization of conserved diversity; and developing catalogues of conserved germplasm and farmers’ varieties, high-value products and coconut food recipes, and other public awareness materials to increase coconut consumption.
|Location of Tuamotu Archipelago|
You can click on photos and maps to enlarge them.
|Location of Fakarava Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago|
The objective of this survey was to conduct an inventory of coconut varieties and assess the potential conservation of traditional varieties on the many small motu (coral islands) of the atoll.
|Precise location of a small motu|
|Coconuts germinating in very harsh conditions|
|bird on a coconut seedling strongly carenced|
Coconuts brought by sea germinate on a sandbar that has not yet stabilized.
Then the birds come to rest on the palms. Their feathers or their droppings, the birds carry seeds that are deposited on the sand around the coconut. Bird droppings enrich the soil.
|Detailed view of the motu|
We observed this small motu with only one adult coconut palms. This motu is located at 750 m from another motu where 20 to 30 adult coconut palms are growing. According to the main direction of the wind and to the 750 m distance, it is very improbable that the coconut pollen can reach this motu. Studies conducted in Africa have shown that a 300 m distance is sufficient to obtain a high reproductive isolation.
The unique coconut palm of the small motu was bearing 9 fruits bigger than a fist. On the ground at the basis of its stems, 15 coconuts were counted. 13 of these coconuts looks the same shape, and we think that they originates from the unique adult palm of the motu. Some of theses coconuts, when they were shaken, made the usual sound of normal mature nuts containing a normal amount of coconut water.
In the future, we would like to try to develop a concept « Family relationship » between the small islands used for conservation purposes in the Framework of the Polymotu project.
For instance, once a coconut variety is isolated in a small island, it becomes quite cheap and easy to transfer this variety to another small island, possibly for instance less endangered by climate change, for safety duplication and use.
So, both from the biodiversity and the allegorical points of view, the first island will become a kind of the “mother” of the second one. We are searching for Polynesian or islanders traditions using such a concept of family relationship between islands, but up to now we did not find such legends. If you find, please tell me...