Field genebanks

Field Genebanks

Tree species that produce seed which cannot tolerate drying and cold storage, as well as species for which true-to-type germplasm is required, are maintained as living collections in field genebanks. The CIFOR-ICRAF Genebank also maintains breeding seed orchards for species for landscape restoration initiatives. More than 19,008 accessions of 82 species are conserved at 51 field sites (based on ecological suitability) in 19 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Field genebanks serve various functions, such as germplasm conservation, evaluation for descriptive or useful traits, germplasm multiplication and distribution, working collections for basic research, and to provide opportunities for public education and contribute to the global tree cover.

Characterization and evaluation

The main goal of characterizing accessions is to enhance the value of the collection for increased utilization of germplasm as well as to ensure that unique germplasm is conserved by:

  • describing and establishing accessions diagnostic characteristics
  • grouping accessions
  • assessing the interrelationships among accessions or among traits, and among geographic groups
  • estimating the extent of variation within taxa in the collection
  • eliminating redundancy and filling genetic gaps


The genebank carries out assessments of agronomic traits that are important to tree domestication and improvement. Evaluation generates data that enables the genebank to match users with the most suitable accessions or with information that allows them to select the right species and accessions for their needs.

Strychnos field genebank

The CIFOR-ICRAF Genebank has a global role to collect, conserve, document, characterize and distribute a diverse collection of agroforestry trees.

  • Prasad Hendre
  • Genebank Manager
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