José Mauricio Toledo

Jose M Toledo

Dr. José (Pepe) Mauricio Toledo –Peruvian by birth– was an outstanding and internationally recognized scientist, who dedicated much of his life to the research and promotion of tropical forages. He obtained his Agronomy degree in Peru; his Masters at the Postgraduate School of the then Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Sciences (now known as the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center –CATIE, its Spanish acronym) in Turrialba, Costa Rica; and his doctorate in Plant Physiology and Biomathematics at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA. In 1979, he joined the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, where he was leader of the then Tropical Pastures Program from 1980 until his retirement from CIAT in 1990. During this period, he was in charge of an interdisciplinary team comprising as many as 20 international scientists. In his own area of research, he designed and implemented methodologies for the agronomic evaluation of forage germplasm. These methodologies were successfully used in tropical America, Africa, and Asia.

One of Pepe Toledo’s greatest achievements was the creation and consolidation of the International Tropical Pastures Evaluation Network (RIEPT, its Spanish acronym) as a model of collaborative research. Through this Network, the exchange of forage germplasm between tropical countries increased significantly. Training in the production and use of tropical forages was also strengthened. A result of this collaborative effort was the identification and commercial release of new forage options: grasses and legumes that were not only adapted to acid low-fertility soils but also resistant to diseases and pests. These forages contributed significantly to livestock productivity across vast zones of the tropics. Under Pepe Toledo's guidance, RIEPT also served as a base for establishing two international networks for collaborative research on tropical forages in Africa and Southeast Asia (i.e., RABAOC/WECAFNET and SEAFRAD, respectively).


Jose M. Toledo

  Showing legume effect (Desmodium ovalifolium) on a Brachiaria humidicola plot, 1983

He also studied the ecological damage produced by extensive livestock production and migratory agriculture in the Amazon Basin. Through CIAT in Colombia and later in Peru through FUNDEAGRO and CODESU, he directed efforts to develop productive and sustainable pasture systems in this region. He also promoted agropastoral systems for Neotropical savannas by encouraging the release of new grasses and legumes as components of these systems. One such component, developed within RIEPT, was a variety of Brachiaria brizantha (accession CIAT 26110), released in 2002 as cv. Toledo, in honor of the memory of Dr. Toledo, who died on 8 July 1996, in Lima, Peru.

Carlos E. Lascano

Jose M. Toledo

With Alberto Ramírez, editor of Pasturas Tropicales during 1986-2007