The “Hevea Research Platform in Partnership” (HRPP) is a platform devoted to research and higher education on Rubber Tree plantations and Natural Rubber. It aims at increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of the rubber-based farms and the local value-added in Natural Rubber production.
To strengthen academic networks and regional cooperation the Hevea Research Platform in Partnership (HRPP) was created in 2008 by the four core partners, Kasetsart University (KU), Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Department of Agriculture of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative (DOA) and CIRAD. For further development in this field of research to accelerate regional and international development, many universities and R&D institutions (5 from Thailand and 6 from France) became our Associated Members such as Mahidol University, Khon Kaen University, Ubon Rachathani University, ORRAF and BIOTEC for Thai side, Montpellier Sup Agro, INRA, IRD, University of Montpellier II, University Blaise Pascal of Clermont-Ferrand, University du Maine of Le Mans for French side.
Rubber farms facing new challenges ahead
Why rubber plantations?
Who knows that a high-tech sector such as the plane industry relies on a natural product, the Natural Rubber, produced by millions of family-owned farms?
Actually without Natural Rubber to manufacture its tires, not a single plane could land.
In Thailand and in South-East Asia, smallholders represent the large majority of the surface area and production of Natural Rubber. For family farms rubber tree plantations provide multiple advantages, such as a regular income with low inputs (fertilizers, pesticides…) making rubber trees one of the most profitable choices for farmers.
However, the rubber planters are somehow making a bet. To ensure the sustainability of plantation systems, conditions should remain favorable during two decades. How can such conditions be ensured when the environment is changing?
A changing environment
There is a consensus that under the global climate change the farmers will face a more variable climate, with changes in rain patterns. Moreover, how can family farms face the volatility of prices of a commodity directly depending on the global market, where the key-players are global majors? On the other hand, how can the requirements of the industry be met with a naturally variable product coming from such a large number of farms?
To analyze the way socio-economic factors interact with biophysical factors in determining rubber yield and quality, as well as profitability and sustainability of rubber farms, a multi-disciplinary approach is developed by a strong Thai-French partnership under the Hevea Research Platform in Partnership (HRPP).
Moreover, as the expansion of rubber plantations contribute to major changes in land-uses in Thailand and in other SEA countries, the platform also assess the environmental footprint of rubber plantations and rubber production.
Beside the specific case of rubber plantations, a more generic output is to determine the most significant indicators to assess the long-term adaptation and sustainability of smallholder’s tree plantation systems.
First announcement HRPP Annual Seminar 2016
The 7th Annual Seminar of the HRPP will be held from Tuesday, November 15th to Thursday, November 17th, 2016 at Kasetsart University, Bangkhen Campus, Bangkok. Cirad will be the host.
The first two days will be devoted to scientific presentations in plenary session, workshops and roundtables to assess and update the scientific program of the HRPP.
The third day will be devoted to specific workshops related to ongoing and prospective projects, according to propositions from the members.
The program and registration process will be specified soon.
We encourage the member institutions to promote the participation of young scientists, particularly if they are not yet involved in HRPP activities, in order to make them aware of the opportunities offered by the network for their future projects.
Where Does The Latex Carbon Come From?
World first 13C Labeling of field-grown rubber trees
One of the main challenges for the future of Natural Rubber production is the scarcity of skilled manpower to tap the trees. The only way to cope with such issue is to reduce the tapping frequency. The key is the carbon supply to the latex producing tissues. With low tapping frequencies, the latex exported at each tapping day is higher than in traditional systems. Then the trees must mobilize huge amount of carbon at each tapping. Does the latex carbon come directly from the primary sources, the leaves where C is assimilated through photosynthesis, or from reserve pools as wood starch, or both? Knowing the actual C sources and knowing the pathways towards latex is necessary to manage the tapping systems.
Stable isotopes and especially 13C are widely used in plant science as tracers. A team from Kasetsart University, RAOT, CIRAD and Université de Lorraine realized the first field labeling of full crowns of tapped rubber trees with 13CO2 to trace the carbon from its assimilation in the leaves to the tree sinks and particularly to latex. Such experiment, using a specifically designed chamber, has never been done so far on rubber trees. Three trees (RRIT 408) were labelled in June 2016 and three others in October at the Chachoengsao Rubber Research Center. We sampled leaves, phloem, wood and latex to analyze their 13C content and determine the dynamics of carbon allocation from leaves to reserves and to latex. The latex samples will be followed during one year. The first results are expected at the end of 2016.
The labelling operation was the support of a program on CO2 cycle in rubber plantations broadcasted by TV9, a public Thai channel, on Sunday 4, September. You can stream the program (in Thai language, except the interviews of foreign scientists) here. http://www.mcot.net/site/streaming?id=57cd5d819381638f0c8b46ed&type=video
Kasetsart University: Ornuma Duangngam, Poonpipope Kasemsap, Jate Sathornkich, Chompunut Chayawat, Duangrat Satakhun
Cirad: Philippe Thaler
Université de Lorraine: Daniel Epron, Pierrick Priault, Dorine Desalme
Université de Paris Sud : Jaleh Ghashghaie
RAOT : Pisamai Chantuma
DOWNLOAD HRPP LEAFLET (PDF) here
Conference "Hevea Research Platform in Partnership: Organization, Scientific Strategy, Research and Higher-Education Outputs" in the 3rd National Rubber Conference organised in BITEC, Bangkok on 24 June, 2011
Abstract (PDF86Ko) and Slides (PDF 2Mo)
DOWNLOAD HRPP for APRC 2013 Slide (PDF) here