ID: 613 / 123

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: Frankincense - resins produced and harvested from trees of Boswellia species (Burseraceae) - is one of the oldest known traded products on Earth and has played a major part in religion, medicine and trade throughout history. However, in recent decades a variety of factors - including a significant increase in global trade - have been identified as a threat to future production and persistence potentially impacting the livelihoods of harvesting communities. There are currently 24 recognised species of Boswellia, with several the subject of significant harvesting and trade with additional species increasing their volumes in local and global use and trade. The species range from narrow endemics to widely distributed taxa in Africa, Arabia and India. While a large volume of published and grey literature exists on a variety of topics, it is only recently that such information has been systematically addressed and knowledge gaps pertaining to specific questions of taxonomy, identification, harvesting and sustainable use outlined. Several significant and comparative knowledge gaps remain. In this symposium, we will discuss a variety of important considerations, and propose a series of ways forwards to ensure long term conservation and sustainable use supporting livelihoods in often insecure and poverty-stricken areas.

Speaker 1: Dr Alan Forrest Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh The importance of taxonomy and identification in sustainable use and trade of frankincense

Speaker 2: Professor Dr Frans Bongers Forest Ecology & Forest Management, Wageningen University & Research Understanding diversity towards a sustainable future for frankincense

Speaker 3: Catherine Rutherford Research Associate, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh What can we learn from NTPF case studies to conserve frankincense for the future?

Topics (Up to three): Conservation Biology

Topic 2: Agroforestry Systems

Topic 3: Systematics

Justification: Frankincense has been described as being "in peril" due to the effects of over-harvesting driven by global trade markets, as well as a variety of factors such as land conversion and climate change. Resin harvesting supports a wide variety of communities in Africa, Arabia and India, and the continued loss of this resource will impact on local security and poverty alleviation. It is important to recognise what additional information will be required to enable long term conservation and sustainable use of Boswellia. This symposium will bring together a rage of speakers to highlight requirements to conserve frankincense for the future.