|Calliandra: a Versatile Tree for the Humid Tropics (1983) (BOSTID, 1983, 52 p.)|
The work yet to be done on calliandra challenges researchers in many parts of the world, in such disciplines as botany, forestry, soil science, microbiology, ecology, and ethnobotany.
For philanthropic institutions, foundations, and international development agencies concerned with problems of fuel, fiber, and other resources, calliandra research is an area worthy of financial support.
The panel's recommendations for specific research needs follow.
Establishment of a Reliable Source of Seed
The limited availability of calliandra seed inhibits wider international use of this species, and the demand for seed is likely to be high. To meet the expected shortages, an organized seed production and distribution service is needed. A system of seed certification is also required, because quality control is imperative if such a new and untried crop is to be evaluated efficiently.
Comparative Trials With Other Species
Commercial experience with calliandra is restricted to Java. It is necessary to support international efforts to conduct carefully planned and replicated plantation trials elsewhere in the tropical and subtropical world. This will allow comparisons between species and ecotypes under different climatic conditions. Association, P.O. Box 680, Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795, USA.
Ideally, a standardized methodology and field layout should be used at each trial location.
Sites should be selected to test the responses of various species to such factors as soil type, altitude, latitude, temperature, moisture level, and pests. Information from the trials, once assessed and compared, will enable rational choices about the establishment of large calliandra plantations under the most favorable conditions.
This effort in international scientific cooperation will require sufficient funding to support an organization (or secretariat) that collects and distributes seeds; establishes contacts and maintains correspondence with research groups; and, ultimately, collects data and publishes the trial's results.
Germ Plasm Collection
All of Indonesia's seed comes from a single collection made in Guatemala in the 1930s.
New collections should now be made in calliandra's center of origin in Central America. This is likely to provide new provenances with special adaptation to specific sites and purposes.
Assessment of genetic resources should include:
· Mapping the natural distribution
· Collecting seed of identified provenances
· Assessing the importance of hybridization, both natural and experimental
· Distributing seed and exchanging genetic information.
Silvicultural research on calliandra species is needed, especially in the following areas:
· Soil requirements
· Water requirements
· Growth rates
· Cropping systems.
Research is also needed to quantify the soil improvement capacity of calliandra.
The following specific research is needed on calliandra's
· Isolation and culture of Rhizobium strains, optimum methods of inoculation and nodule establishment, and determination of the combinations that most enhance nitrogen fixation.
· Identification of mycorrhizal fungi, along with development of inoculation methods and analysis of phosphorus and micronutrient requirements of calliandra.
Research on Calliandra Use
Researchers should assess calliandra's use for:
· Cultivation in biomass plantations
· Land stabilization and erosion control
· Soil rehabilitation in farming, i.e., as a fallow crop
· Honey production
· Pulp and particle board manufacture
· Wood densification.
The contribution of calliandra cultivation to village economies should also be assessed.
Dissemination of Information
The panel recommends that calliandra researchers immediately publish two documents about the plant:
· A planting guide based on present knowledge. A handbook with practical step-by-step information on propagating, planting, managing, and utilizing the plant would be of considerable help to people who want to test calliandra.
· A newsletter. To explore calliandra's potential, it is important to establish communication among researchers working with the plant. Because they are likely to be situated in remote research stations, universities, missions, and villages, their findings may not be widely noted in technical journals. A newsletter would provide a means for exchanging information and would provide a forum for opinions, observations, and preliminary experimental data usually not accepted by standard scientific journals.