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IICA and CATIE launch catalog on emblematic trees and palms of the Americas

  • Publication includes relevant   characteristics of 24 trees and six palms declared as national symbols in several countries of the hemisphere

October 7, 2020. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) launched the catalog "Emblematic Trees and Palms of the Americas" to highlight the value, services and benefits of these plants in the region.

The catalog, which describes trees and palms from 29 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) that have been declared official national symbols because of their great significance, was released as part of the commemoration of IICA's 78th anniversary.

The publication process involved an extensive bibliographic review and a large number of consultations with competent entities.

The catalog aims to contribute to the knowledge of the trees and palms of the nations of the hemisphere and to recognize the multiple services provided to society by various woody species that have great significance in the history, economy, environment and traditions of many towns in the Americas.

In addition, the publication aims to recover and conserve the region's unique tree component, with species that are fundamental to the development and construction of the identity of several LAC countries.

Of the 24 trees and six palms included, a general description, soil and climate characteristics (climate and soil data), frequent uses, ecosystem services, and establishment and management (forestry, management and conservation) are included.

Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA, explained that this is the first publication generated within the framework of the Joint IICA-CATIE Unit, which was developed with great enthusiasm to motivate, inspire and promote tree planting in the Americas.

"We are launching an initiative that will be key in highlighting the importance of the products, services and benefits that trees and palms provide to our societies, as well as in recognizing the importance of agriculture in American rural development and well-being," said Otero.

Muhammad Ibrahim, CATIE's Director General, agrees with him, adding that this catalog is a product that reaffirms the joint effort between IICA and CATIE to motivate current and future generations to interpret nature differently, since trees and palms represent ecosystem products and services within the framework of the sustainable management of natural resources, which are of broad benefit to humanity. 

The benefits of trees and palms are numerous. Today, they are essential for providing fruit, timber, wood products, medicines and food for livestock, and they also allow the agricultural sector to improve soil and water resources by capturing carbon, pollination and providing shade for livestock.

Added to these benefits are their contributions to the landscape and scenic beauty of the Americas and their contributions to greater resilience, mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

"The catalog makes it possible to gain an in-depth knowledge of the benefits offered by trees, to understand the importance of conserving them and the reasons why they were highly valued by our ancestors," agreed Karen Montiel, IICA Technical Specialist, and Guillermo Detlefsen, CATIE's Agro-forestry Coordinator, who coordinated the publication.

The "Flagship Trees and Palms of the Americas" initiative is one of the actions being carried out by the Joint IICA-CATIE Unit to increase the impact and incidence of its actions on behalf of agricultural and rural development in the hemisphere.

The publication is available in PDF format in https://repositorio.iica.int/bitstream/handle/11324/13036/BVE20117982i.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

 and can be downloaded free of charge.

We invite you to watch the following video in which the Director General of IICA and the Director General of CATIE comment on the new catalog. To play it, click here.


About IICA

It is the international organization specialized in agriculture of the Inter-American System, whose mission is to stimulate, promote and support the efforts of its 34 Member States to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.



CATIE is a regional center, with strong international links, that seeks to increase sustainable and inclusive human well-being in Latin America and the Caribbean through research (applied and basic), education, technical cooperation and the dissemination of knowledge about the sustainable management of agriculture and the conservation of natural resources.


More information:

Karen Montiel
Technical Specialist
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Guillermo Detlefsen
Agroforestry Coordinator
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