Camcore, Seed Banks, etc.  

TOPIC: Camcore, Seed Banks, etc.

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Date: Sun, Feb 3 2008 8:13 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


I have had some recent correspondence with Robert Jetson of Camcore. Camcore is an organization that is collecting hemlock seeds and planting them in preserves: "  The goal of the program is to establish conservation reserves outside of the species range with the hope that one day Carolina hemlock genetic material can be reintroduced into the the southern Appalachian Mountains once a method of control is found for the adelgid. First, plans are currently underway to establish an ex situ conservation planting in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas or Missouri within the United States. Second, Camcore personnel identified two regions within our membership countries that possessed adequate characteristics for the establishment of these ex situ conservation banks. One site is present on Arauco-Bioforest lands in Chile and the other on Klabin-Santa Catarina lands in southern Brazil...The Eastern hemlock collection effort will be divided into 2 or more phases, however, due to the breadth of the range of this species. The initial collections will focus on the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region, including the states of Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee."

One of my questions for hime related to whether they were collecting of seeds from disjunct outlier populations. He indicated that he is very interested in collecting these, in fact he lives just a few miles from the Cary NC site, but the problem so far has been that of finding trees with seeds. He writes: "We are very interested in the disjunct populations. From a genetics perspective they very likely contain some rare alleles and unique adaptations. I live about 3 miles from the Cary, NC eastern hemlock population and we are eager to get seeds from it when it produces seeds. It is clearly adapted to warmer and drier conditions. We have also visited outliers in Alabama (Bankhead National Forest) and Kentucky (Mammoth Cave National Park). We have also visited and even sampled seed from some of the disjunct populations of Carolina hemlock. Next month I will visit an eastern hemlock outlier in James River State Park, Virginia.... I typically report only those populations where we have collected seed. Unfortunately, we have yet to find a single cone producing tree in most of these populations. I guess that is somewhat indicative of the fact they are disjunct and growing in less than ideal conditions for the species. Cone cycles are likely protracted."

Since they are getting some funding for seed collections in the Forest Service's Southern Region. Sates like PA and Indiana are in the northern region and they hope/expect to get funding for those collections soon. He says he like the work Will is doing with the chemical treatments, because these trees will likely be healthy enough for some seed production in some of the hardest hit areas.

Ed Frank