Darwin Initiative Research Exercise on Community Tree Seeds (DIRECTS) in Africa

Participants of the DIRECTS project at the July 2003 inception workshop at the MSB Wakehurst Place

DIRECTS research in Africa investigates the seed physiology of about 60 identified priority tree species of known uses of dryland Africa, over 30% of which are red-listed by IUCN. Although the need for the conservation and sustainable use of these species is clear, appropriate protocols for handling seeds of these species are far from optimal. Seeds of these species have been studied and species information exchanged among partners, 49 staff have been trained to conduct seed research. This project will contribute to maintain forest biodiversity, especially the multipurpose trees that support the daily life of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

The African Tree Seed and Biodiversity Centres acknowledge the need to strengthen the limited expertise of, and experience in, seed conservation techniques in institutes across Africa. Research, capacity building and networking on seed provision, storage and use contribute to this urgent need. DIRECTS supports partner institutes to meet directly and practically their GSPC targets (8, 15) and enhances the capacity of sub-Saharan African tree seed and biodiversity institutes to conserve and sustainably manage native species of local importance, through research on tree seed biology, training and information exchange.

Project Team

Project Leader: Pritchard, Hugh


Colin Clubbe

Seed Conservation Department

Kate Gold, Hugh Pritchard, Moctar Sacande, Paul Smith

Project Partners and Collaborators


Institute National de Recherche Agronomiques (INRA)


National Tree Seed Centre (NTSC)

Burkina Faso

Centre National de Semences Forestières (CNSF)

Cape Verde

Institut Nacional de Investigacas Agraria (INIDA)

Cote d’Ivoire

Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA)


Forestry Research Center (FRC)


Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG)


Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)


Silo National des Graines Forestières (SNGF)


National Tree Seed Centre, Forestry Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM)


Centre Régional de Recherche Agronomique (CRRA)


Institute National de Recherches Agronomiques du Niger (INRAN)


Owolowo University


Tanzania Tree Seed Agency (TTSA)


National Tree Seed Centre (NTSC)


National Tree Seed Centre (NTSC)


International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), Rome, Nairobi, Benin



Darwin Initiative

Millennium Commission (gift-in-kind)