The ICRAF genebank in Nairobi, Kenya, conserves the diversity of a wide range of agroforestry tree species, most of which are a source of food or forage. Accessions are stored as seed and in field genebanks in the regions where ICRAF works.
The seed genebank currently holds over 6000 accessions of 190 species. Of these, information on 6309 is available through Genesys. Seed is maintained in an active collection at 5°C, and for long-term conservation ICRAF works with the Millennium Seed Bank in the United Kingdom and the Kunming Institute of Botany genebank in China.
Conservation of tree species poses special difficulties, including the large number of genera -- each with specific requirements -- long generation times and seeds that often cannot be dried for conventional storage. As a result, ICRAF has to maintain decentralised field genebanks. These field genebanks both conserve diversity and offer a source of sexual and clonal reproductive material. The field genebanks are also research sites for evaluation and characterisation. Overall, 12,000 accessions of 67 diverse tree and shrub species are maintained in field genebanks spread across 42 sites in 16 countries of which, 8848 Field Genebank accessions are available through Genesys.
The seed and field genebanks supply germplasm for ICRAF's research to domesticate some species, and to others wanting access to agroforestry plant genetic resources.
About 20% of the seed accessions are safety duplicated at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. About 8% of the accessions are maintained in long-term storage at Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB) in China.
A database -- the Agroforestry Species Switchboard -- gives access to "information sources to support tree research and development activities".