A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
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Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
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Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
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Interested in GIS?
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Posted 1:05 PM by Luigi
Dwarf Coconut Palm Trees Originally from PNG Found in French Polynesia
From Pacific Magazine, March 10, 2006
Tahitipresse reports that a research team headed by Dr. Roland Bourdeix of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development recently discovered on the Leeward Island of Raiatea three varieties of miniature coconut palm trees originally from Papua New Guinea.
Their discovery by Dr. Bourdeix and two researchers from the French Polynesia Rural Development Department—Taraina Pinson and Daniel Teriipaia—immediately raised a question as to how the coconut palms arrived on Raiatea. The answer may mean the palm trees are older than originally thought, Dr. Bourdeix suggested.
Their discovery also prompted the researchers to call for the creation of repositories for preserving older varieties of coconut palm trees and the traditional knowledge associated with them.
In scientific and botanical circles, the French researcher said, one question whose answer has remained unanswered and mysterious for a long time is: Were these "Haari Papua" coconut palm trees originally from Papua New Guinea introduced in what is today French Polynesia several hundreds of years ago by ancient Polynesians? Or were they introduced only 100 or 150 years ago by European discoverers? Up until now, researchers have tended to side with the second hypothesis, he said.
But the discovery of the three varieties of the Haari Papua coconut palm on Raiatea may refute that theory, said Dr. Bourdeix, who works for the research center known by its French acronym of CIRAD. The abundance of this type of coconut palm would indicate that its arrival in French Polynesia from Papua New Guinea was not accidental, he said.
The introduction of this coconut palm obviously did not occur simply by an occasional voyager bringing one or two seeds with him, according to Dr. Bourdeix. Instead, he continued, at some point in history there was an organized collection of several different varieties of coconut palms in Papua New Guinea. Those varieties were then introduced in what is today French Polynesia, probably Raiatea rather than the island of Tahiti, he reasoned.
But the European discovery of Raiatea occurred after that of Tahiti and Raiatea is known as the cradle of Polynesian culture within the Pacific's Polynesian Triangle. Such elements, Dr. Bourdeix said, thus reinforce the hypothesis that it could have been Polynesians rather than Europeans who introduced these coconut palms from New Guinea in this sector of Pacific Islands.
However, a definite conclusion is still difficult to make. Scientists led by Dr. Bourdeix continue to seek any information concerning the history of the "Haari Papua" in French Polynesia.
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