Conserving native useful trees of Mexico to maintain its natural capital

Maintaining the natural capital of Mexican forests through research and conservation of useful native tree seeds.

Tree trunk.
Project leaders

Dr Tiziana Ulian, PI
Michael Way, Co-PI

Project coordinator

Dr Elena Castillo-Lorenzo


Dr Efisio Mattana

The project involves the Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala of the Universidad Autónoma de Mexico (Fes-I UNAM), and the NGOs PRONATURA Veracruz A.C. (PNV) in Mexico and Pronatura Mexico. The work will focus on the Veracruz State, which has been identified of priority interest for the conservation of native trees in Mexico as part of the Science-based conservation of tree species in Mexico project with Fes-I UNAM.

This project aims to contribute and maintain the natural capital of the Mexican forests through the conservation and research of useful native tree seeds.


1. Selection of native tree species important for local communities

2. Seed conservation of targeted native tree species

3. Research on seed biology and ecology of the tree species

4. Certification of origin of seeds of targeted native useful trees.

Seeds of native trees of community interest (i.e. for food, medicine, building materials, fuelwood or as a source of cash income) will be prioritised through a participatory approach by involving local communities and/or according to their conservation importance (i.e., threatened and/or rare). Seeds of these species will be collected from their natural populations through joint expeditions; stored for long term conservation at the Fes-I UNAM’s seed bank; and duplicated at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB).

Research will be carried out jointly with Fes-I UNAM to investigate the seed storage behaviour of seeds and any germination constrains (i.e. seed dormancy) that could affect their conservation and propagation, respectively. At the same time, PNV will identify and map mother populations ‘rodales’ to certify the origin of the seed collections potentially available for reforestation activities through its network of plant nurseries in the communities. The stored genetic material and the gathered information on the seed biology and ecology of the trees will help to ensure their long-term conservation in addition to support PNV’s reforestation and restoration activities.

  1. Useful tree species important for reforestation and conservation identified and prioritised.
  2. Seed collections of 50 priority species stored for long term conservation both in country and duplicated at the Kew’s MSB in UK.
  3. Information on seed biology and ecology of species (seed storage behaviour, seed dormancy and germination) produced and used to support plant propagation activities.
  4. Natural populations (‘rodales’) of species identified and mapped as sources of certificated seed/plant material for reforestation activities.
  5. National network of plant nurseries designed within the PRONATURA System.

Newton Fund, through the Institutional Links call implemented by the British Council.