会設立の背景    Background of establishing the Society

 低利用あるいは未利用植物資源の開発の重要性については,機会あるごとに有識者によってい強調されてきました.ある人は,長期的な観点から,世界の食料需給の逼迫を想定し,澱粉質食料の貴重な供給源としてサゴヤシに注目しています.またある人は,その生育地域が熱帯低湿地で,そこには極めて限られた経済植物しかない中で,サゴヤシが高い適応性を示していることに注目し,熱帯低湿地域の農業開発にとってこの植物が特異な有用性をもっていることを指摘しています.

 永い間,サゴヤシとその利用に対する一般の人達の理解は,せいぜい熱帯低湿地に野生する植物であり,樹幹から採れる澱粉は,その土地に住む人達の局地的な食料であるというものでした.ところが,近年,サゴヤシとそれを取り巻く自然環境や,社会経済条件に関する研究,さらには開発が進むししたがって,この低利用植物資源についてはまだ解明されていないことがきわめて多くあることがわかってきました.

 生産面についてみると,多量の澱粉が蓄積する生理的メカニズムは十分に明らかにされていません.品種改良によってその生産性をされに高めていく可能性があるのかどうか,生産地が熱帯低湿地に限らず乾燥地まで広がっているが,その生態的特性はどのような生理的,遺伝的原因によって発現してくるのか,あるいは高塩分濃度滞水条件に対する適応性等々,すべて今後の研究課題です.利用面についてもその状況は同様で,今後の研究と技術開発に待つことばかりです.

  サゴヤシとその利用に関する今後の課題は,その幅がきわめて広く,しかも奥行が深いものです.したがって,サゴヤシの研究発展とその利用拡大を図るには,専門領域を異にする人達の協力・共同作業の必要性がいよいよ高まってきています.このような背景から,有志が諮って声をあげ,サゴヤシ研究会(2000年6月よりサゴヤシ学会)の設立を呼びかけ,情報交換と交流の輪を拡げる行動を起こすこととなったのです.

Background of establishing the Society

 The great importance of exploiting underutilized and nonutilized plant resources has been stressed by learned persons at every opportunity. Some of them have focused their special attention to sago palm as invaluable resources of starchy food, having deep concern about the possible food shortage in the world in future. Some others have emphasized the incomparable usefulness of this plant for the agricultural development of low-lying swampy areas of the tropics, since sago palm has high adaptability to such a condition that almost no other crops can grow without drainage or soil improvement.

 The general understanding on sago palm and its utilization has so far been very limited: at most, this plant grows wild in low-lying wetlands in the tropics, and the starch produced in its stem is a staple food upon which local people in these areas live. In recent years, however, considerable progress has been made in researches on sago palm itself and relevant environmental and socioeconomic conditions. In addition, there has been some progress in the area development programs which contain sago palm plantations. In spite of such progress, it has been further recognized that much remains unexplored regarding this underutilized plant resource.

 In regard to the production aspect of sago palm, the physiological mechanism of its accumulation of a large amount of starch is not fully elucidated. Various questions have yet to be answered: Is there any possibility of increasing starch productivity through breeding efforts ? Sago palm has a wide adaptability ranging from low-lying wetlands to dry lands in the tropics. What are the physiological and genetic mechanisms of such wide adaptability ? What is the mechanisms of its biological adaptation to highly-saline water logging ? A number of questions may also be raised concerning its utilization aspect. All these questions require extensive and intensive research activities and technological exploitation to answer.

  The issues and problems involved for the sago palm development, including production and utilization as well, are extensive and profound in nature, being interrelated with each other. Therefore, prerequisite is an interdisciplinary approach to the effective research and development program implementation. Toward this end, cooperative and even collective activities of relevant disciplines would be strongly required to harmonize and synchronize them.

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