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Conservation in protected areas has focused on preserving biodiversity of ecosystems and species, whereas conserving the genetic diversity contained within species has historically often been ignored. However, maintaining genetic diversity is fundamental to food security and the provision of raw materials and it is best preserved within plants' natural habitats. This is particularly true for wild plants that are directly related to crop species and can play a key role in providing beneficial traits, such as pest or disease resistance and yield improvement. These wild relatives are presently threatened due to processes of habitat destruction and change and methodologies have been adapted to provide in-situ conservation through the establishment of genetic reserves within the existing network of protected areas.
Providing a long-awaited synthesis of these new methodologies, this book presents a practical set of management guidelines that can be used for the conservation of plant genetic diversity of crop wild relatives in protected areas.