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Traditional conservation areas of coconut varieties and associated knowledge in Polynesian islands (South Pacific Ocean)

Bourdeix R., Johnson V., Saena Tuia V.S., Kapé J., Planes S.. 2013. In : Larrue Sébastien (ed.). Biodiversity and societies in the pacific islands. Aix-en-Provence : Université de Provence, p. 199-222.

By summarizing surveys conducted on 27 islands of the Pacific region, this chapter reports some traditional knowledge associated with coconut genetic resources and explains how this knowledge has strongly contributed to formulating the concepts and strategies in the conservation of genetic resources. Polynesians have used small islands as conservation areas for their coconut varieties. Since 1930, the number of coconut palms increased but the varieties mixed and the related traditional knowledge dwindled. Based on traditional Polynesian knowledge, the Polymotu concept uses the geographical isolation of special sites for the conservation and reproduction of varieties of coconut. For instance, when isolated site on island is planted with one variety of coconut, breeding occurs only within this variety and certified drupes are then available to farmers. In 2009, the Polymotu concept was included in the global coconut conservation strategy developed by the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network. However, traditional coconut varieties and associated knowledge are continuing to disappear. Decision-makers at the local, national and intenational levels should adopt effective portfolios of strategies and gender-sensitive guidelines to ensure both the effective conservation of coconut genetic resources and associated knowledge, and the availability of diversified planting material for replanting programs.

Mots-clés : cocos nucifera; conservation du matériel génétique; ressource génétique végétale; gestion des ressources; technologie traditionnelle; enquête; isolement; Île; variété indigène; connaissance indigène; polynésie française; france

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