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First-ever book on Mekong rattan species aims to promote sustainable practices
Date:2/14/2014

In a major advance for the sustainable use of a critical natural resource, The New York Botanical Garden and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today released the most comprehensive catalogue of the rattan species found in three Southeast Asian countries, including data that makes it possible to determine how much rattan can be harvested without depleting natural stocks of these versatile, economically important plants.

Systematics, Ecology and Management of Rattans in Cambodia, Laos, and VietnamThe Biological Bases of Sustainable Use includes information on the 65 known rattan species that grow in the three countries, including two species found only in Cambodia that are new to science. The book is the result of eight years of research by Botanical Garden scientists and WWF experts.

"This book represents the most comprehensive analysis of rattans ever compiled anywhere in the world," said co-author Dr. Charles M. Peters, Kate E. Tode Curator of Botany at the Botanical Garden and a leading authority on the management of tropical forests. "It is unique in that this single volume addresses the ecological, taxonomic, and silvicultural aspects of a valuable forest resource. Most importantly, we want people to understand that you can't sustainably harvest more than the annual growth of rattan from a forest in one year."

Joining Dr. Peters as co-author is Andrew J. Henderson, Ph.D., Abess Curator of Palms at the Garden and a leading authority on the systematics, taxonomy and biology of palms, which include rattans. As part of his field research on this project, he discovered and named the two Cambodian rattan species new to science, Calamus mellitus (common name in Khmer: Pdao Toek Khmom) and Calamus kampucheaensis (common name in Khmer: Pdao Bonla Dong Penh).

Rattan is one of the most important non-timber forest products in the Greater Mekong region. Various species support local livelihoods as sources of food,
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Contact: Stevenson Swanson
sswanson@nybg.org
718-817-8512
The New York Botanical Garden
Source:Eurekalert  

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