Volunteer Tree Collectors Needed for Tree Bank

Elfpermacl elfpermacl at aol.com
Mon Sep 16 09:04:10 EST 1996

Volunteer tree seed and cutting collectors are needed in North America to
support the Forest Ecosystem Rescue Network (FERN) 1996 effort to increase
genetic reserve plantings.  This fall we are collecting seed of sugar
maple Canadian hemlock and Canadian yew.  We encourage people with room to
establish Canadian yew to establish plantings, particularly in moist
understory areas not subject to heavy deer browse.
 These species have been selected as a starting point for our Tree Bank
program, in which we gather seed of trees under high pressure from tree
decline forces, notably "acid rain" and related forces on top of
historical degradation.  Our goal is to establish genetic reserves as
living trees in areas where such pressures are less.  Presently most seeds
colledted for FERN's Tree Bank go to TreeBank Trust of New Zealand which
adminsiters a planting program throughout that country, matching planting
sites to conditions at sites of origin as much as possible.  When these
trees are mature, their seeds will be available for replanting in their
regions of origin and elsewhere, depending on how climatic conditions
 Pressure on Canadian yew (Taxus canadensis) is also very severe from deer
browse, due to infestation levels of overpopulation of deer in its range,
and potentially for harvest for taxol, an anti-carcenogen.  Presently
Pacific species are approved for taxol harvest in the US but other
species, particularly Canadian yew, are potentially attractive sources. 
 FERN's Tree Bank began in 1987, following reports that sugar maple
decline is sufficiently severe to cause at least some scientists to
speculate about its extinction. The trees prominance as the figure on the
Canadian flag and a highly revered tree throughout its range both for its
beauty and its product make it an ideal species to demonstrate the
potential for grass roots efforts to avert large-scale genetic erosion.
 If you would like to volunteer to collect seed for FERN's TREE BANK,
Contact Michael Janssens, FERN Canada, North American Tree Bank Seed
Center, Odessa ON K0H 2H0
CANADA Phone: 613 386-3794.

On request, we will email information on FERN and Tree Bank.  We have a
Microsoft Word file with the seed collecting form that we will try to send
to you.  (We have had variable success in emailing files.)  I suspect that
if we convert the file to TEXT it will be hashed, but we can try if you
wish.  (We also have a MS Works database containing the file if that would
be more useful.) Record keeping during seed collection is important to
track seeds and resulting trees regarding the conditions in their
provenance of origin and also in evaluating how North American conditons
translate in New Zealand.

We are most interested in hearing from groups that are willing to
establish similar Tree Banks in other countries where atmospheric
pollution is comparatively moderate. We have a few ecological requirements
before we ship seed to such places, mainly regarding the protection of
indigenous forests.

Groups in other regions where tree populations are under serious stress
from decline (e.g. the rest of the North Temperate Zone) may wish to make
arrangements with TreeBank New Zealand.  Contact me via email for details.

JANSSENS, ADDRESS ABOVE.  If you are not familiar with harvest and
handling of tree seed, you should contact us as early as possible.  The
considerations are simple, but essential.

For Mother Earth
Dan Hemenway
Forest Ecosystem Rescue Network (FERN) Int'l
POB 2052, Ocala FL 34478-2052 USA
Email:  TreeBank at aol.com

PS  Please request full information sheets about the program details and
precautions if you feel concerns about the safety of this program.  We
think we have covered all the bases but we welcome renewed scrutiny to
find a weakness we missed.

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