S Kitani N Higuchi and I Yasutani Introduction

Recently, environmental problems have been increasing; especially, the destruction of tropical forests is one of the most serious problems in the world. Tropical and subtropical forests are estimated to comprise twenty billion hectares (ha). However, it is reported that 10% of it has already been destroyed. In addition, seventeen million ha of the forest has been deforested or destroyed per year. Under these conditions, we must stop the decrease of tropical forests and try to reforest, but the area of reforestation per year is only equal to 10% of the decreased area. The efficiency of reforestation is very poor. We have started research on improvement technologies of reforestation by molecular breeding.

Of many types of environmental stress, acid stress was chosen as the target because it is one of the most serious environmental problems in tropical areas. Acacia mangium was chosen as the model plant for molecular breeding of acid-tolerant plants because it is an important tropical tree for reforestation and can resist acid.

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