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PROSEA (Plant Resources of South–East Asia) is an international cooperative programmes with the main goal of documenting information on plant resources in South–East Asia, and making them widely available for use by the education, extension, research and industry sectors. It operates as an autonomous, non–profit international foundation registered in Indonesia. It is based in Bogor, Indonesia, and jointly managed and implemented by a network of institutions in five South–East Asian countries (i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam).

In view of the importance of plant resources for mankind and biodiversity conservation, and the wealth of information on plant resources in the regions, PROSEA has a vision to become a leading information provider and disseminator on the plant resources of South–East Asia for their efficient and sustainable use. Accordingly, the missions of the foundation are to document the existing wealth of information on the plant resources of South–East Asia, to publicize the documents in the form of illustrated multi–volume handbooks in English; to disseminate the information to various beneficiaries throughout the world, and to develop a computerized databank on the plant resources of South–East Asia.

Back to the mid 1980-s, before the foundation established, the initiative was started by the Preliminary Phase (1985–1986) when Wageningen Agricultural University conducted a feasibility study for establishing an international network of collaboration in achieving the above missions. It is than followed by the Preparatory Phase (1987–1990). During this period, the regional cooperation between partner institutions in South–East Asia was established through internationalization, documentation, consultation and publication. Also during this period, the agreement on scientific, organizational, financial structure, and PROSEA FOUNDATION was established. First Implementation Phase was actually carried out during the 1991 and 1995 when the compilation, editing and publication of the first 10 volumes of the PROSEA handbook were taken place, and when the databank containing the text of the handbook, literature references and additional information was also made operational. Compilation, editing and publication were continued to the Second Implementation Phase (1996–2000) and another 10 volumes of the PROSEA handbook were publicized, the access to the PROSEA databank was improved, and the production of derived product for education and extension purposes was promoted. Beyond 2005 the Foundation also creates electronic and web–based products to further promote plant resources of South East Asian countries.

It is important to note that Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands was formerly involved from the beginning of its establishment as the Head Office as well as the Publication Office, and so was the Papua New Guinea as a Country Office, until the year of 2003. Significant changes have taken place in 2003, when the publication responsibility was transferred from the Publication Office in Wageningen, the Netherlands to the Network Office in Bogor, Indonesia. The Network Office has been developed into the PROSEA Headquarter, while the Wageningen University has been functioning as PROSEA Liaison Office in Europe. Other substantial changes have also occurred in terms of financial supports to PROSEA’s programmes. With respects to such changes, the PROSEA Board of Trustees have formulated three scenarios for making PROSEA operational during the period of 2006–2010. These are: (a) assure the availability of the core products (i.e. low priced editions of PROSEA handbook) and the maintenance of the web database in the PROSEA Headquarter. This has been the minimalist when PROSEA could not succeed in additional fund raising; (b) restrict the provision of information to the direct users, and develop the provision of information to the end–users; and (c) PROSEA should transform itself into a ‘grass root’ organization. The Board of Trustees recommended that PROSEA should just restrict itself to the provision of core and derived products for the end–users with improvement in the distribution system in order to maximize the impacts of the programme on the regional communities.

Indeed, the world has been changing swiftly where textbooks are no longer the only sources of information, which were aimed at selected users with capability of buying the products, and when the global communities have been more interested in actual actions at the grass root level. Actions at grass root levels could not be restricted to only the provision of information on plant resources, but rather the actual activities of utilizing plant resources that could become alternatives to income generating events for the local communities. Also, the global communities have been promoting any action for achieving the sustainability of the world since 1987. International consensus for moving toward the sustainable world has been made in 1992 through the endorsement of Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention on Climate Change, Rio Declaration, and Kyoto Protocol. Surely PROSEA could not have optimally taken part in the implementation of these international conventions unless many more expertise, disciplines are also involved. PROSEA in the original form seemed to have missed those valuable prospects, although the possibility for taking part is still available.

It is then unavoidable that all member of Board of Trustee of the PROSEA Foundation re–orientate its strategic thinking and movement toward the sustainable world by establishing Association of Plant Resources in South East Asia which also stand for PROSEA to full and mobilized all resources to bring plant resources of South Asian Nations to grass root level to address various global concern. The assets and liabilities of PROSEA Foundation are vital as a start-up capital for the Association to function and to ensure sustainable use of the Plant Resources. It is expected that more members will be involved in the activities to enhance the understanding and utilization of plant resources of South East Asian region to address various global issue such as poverty alleviation, hunger, health, global climate change and carbon trade etc.

Finally, PROSEA ASSOCIATION is established in Jakarta on 20 June 2007 under public notary the Deed of the PROSEA Association establishment No. 7. The Secretariat which also acting as the Head Quarter of the Association for the first time is located in Bogor, Indonesia hosted by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

The vision and mission of the Association is different from the PROSEA Foundation as it is now focused on knowledge synthesis and producing special output products as a relevant and useful tool to use plant resources in sustainable manner in addressing various global issues e.g. poverty, hunger, health, global climate changes, reduction emission, degradation of land and deforestation.

PROSEA Association will be opened for institution and individual members and please apply your memberships. Please visit our website on http://proseanet.org/prosea/. Please fill in the application form and send it back to us to get your special number and also a special card member for your benefit.

Due to the changes on the PROSEA Foundation to be PROSEA Association, the e-prosea will be closed for the public. The site will be soon updated and will be soon available for member of the Association. Please note that the member of the Association will also receive many more benefit including the discounted prices of the handbooks.
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