Starting a Seed Bank in the Sierra
A seed bank (or a germplasm bank) stores seeds to conserve the genetic diversity of wild species. Up until recently, there were no available seeds of species native to the Sierra del Lacandón National Park. Such trees and plants are necessary for the reforestation and enrichment of some of the areas damaged by human encroachment of the National Park.
Fortunately we have now identified seed sources and established germplasm banks of the following native trees and plants: cedar, mahogany, bullhoof (Santa María), breadnut (Ramón), Zapotillo, Danto, Colored Malady (Malerio Colorado), Cantemó, Rio Grande Palmetto (Palmas de Guano) and Bamboo Palm (Xate). The local communities will benefit from the seed banks, since they are essential in restoring the native vegetation in the deforested areas. We have also identified areas where rapidly growing trees could be planted to provide firewood to the local communities without extracting wood from the National Park’s core zone. Another benefit is habitat increase for native species such as the Scarlet macaw (Ara macao).
These achievements are some of the results of the project “Establishment and Evaluation of Germplasm Banks of Native Species of Biological Significance That Strengthen the Sustainable Development of the Local Communities of the Sierra del Lacandón National Park,” financed by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONCYT).