The key objective of this project is to leverage and expand the value of our unique reference collection and the international collaborative network working on Malagasy Dalbergia to develop and validate a molecular passport for all Malagasy species, which will enable the rapid and reliable identification of standing trees, logs and sawn wood to botanical species. The second objective is to adapt these methods to the needs and technical capacities of our Malagasy partners to foster capacity building and implementation of identification methods in the source country. The applications that will be developed are a fundamental prerequisite for conservation, sustainable management and international trade control of Dalbergia species from Madagascar and thus contribute directly to the implementation of existing CITES regulations.
In this project, we specifically propose to develop molecular fingerprints based on the analysis of (i) DNA variation and (ii) wood chemical composition; (iii) build reference databases containing the results of these methods, and (iv) develop software applications that query these databases for rapid, accurate identification of Malagasy Dalbergia species.
We will combine the analysis of DNA variation and wood chemical composition because these methods are complementary with regard to sample (tissue) types (leaves of standing trees or herbarium (type) specimens vs. heartwood) and have the potential to provide resolution at the level of species, the fundamental biological unit for regulation and conservation.