Origins and genetic conservation of tropical trees in agroforestry systems: a case study from the Peruvian Amazon
Hundreds of native tree species are currently found in extensive agroforestry ecosystems in the Peruvian Amazon, forming an important reservoir of biodiversity. To further promote conservation, farmers are encouraged to supplement intra-specific genetic diversity in these populations with seed collected from local forests. For some tree species, however, this approach may be inappropriate, as stands of these taxa already found on-farm may not be of local origin. Despite this issue being of importance for conservation, little information is available on the history of cultivated trees in the region, a situation that we here rectify for the important fruit tree Inga edulis. Based on nuclear SSR and chloroplast DHPLC analyses of closely geographically matched natural and planted stands at five sites, it appears that cultivated material of I. edulis is primarily of non-local origin, indicating that conservation based on new wide-scale infusions from local wild stands into farms may be inappropriate in the region. Although nuclear and chloroplast diversity were both lower in planted stands, values were still relatively high (~80 and 70% of natural stands, respectively), indicating that when farmers plant trees, good collection practice of seed from already cultivated I. edulis should be an effective means for ensuring long-term conservation on farms.