NATURAL RUBBER: ASSESING ITS POTENTIAL AS A SUSTAINABLE CROP
Natural rubber trees (Hevea braziliensis) are perennial crops derived originally from tropical rainforest of Amazon basin, Brazil.Â The Hevea trees have been spread over the whole tropical regions to guarantee worldwide production of natural rubber. Long history of natural rubber plantations development has given rise to South East Asia as the largest natural rubber growing region, among other factors behind this successful are the absence South American leaf blight caused by fungus Microcyclusulei destroying the Hevea trees in Brazil and the greater suitability perennial tree crops to the humid tropics. Around 90% of Hevea rubber plantations cultivated by smallholders possessing roughly 0.5 ha â€“ 3 ha per holder is the main source of income in supporting for more than 20 million rural producers. Almost all rubber research centers in the producing countries conduct breeding to produce high yielding clones to enable to support world increasing demand. Other advantage of cultivating rubber plantations to the environment such as sustainable form to reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere; returning of nutrients to the soil from falling leaves, stems and others reducing the application of chemical fertilizers; value added rubber wood.