Crop wild relatives (CWR) are plant species which are more or less closely related to crops. They are a vital resource by providing a pool of genetic variation that can be used in breeding new and better adapted varieties of crops that are resistant to stress, disease, drought and other factors. They will be increasingly important in allowing crops to adapt to the impacts of climate, thus safeguarding future agricultural production. However, CWR themselves are vulnerable to changing climate.
Until recently, the main conservation strategy adopted for CWR has been ex situ - through the maintenance of samples as seed or vegetative material in various kinds of genebank or other facilities. Now the need to conserve CWR in their natural surroundings (in situ) is increasingly recognized. This allows their populations to continue evolving and generate new genetic variation that is adapted to changing conditions. Hitherto, experience in conserving the wild relatives of crops in situ has been very limited.
Recent research co-ordinated by Bioversity International has produced a wealth of information on good practices and lessons learned for their effective conservation. This book captures the important practical experiences of countries participating in this work and describes them for the wider conservation community. It includes case studies and examples from Armenia, Bolivia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan which are important centres of diversity for crop wild relatives, and covers four geographical regions - the Caucasus, South America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific Region.
Foreword Monique Barbut and Achim Steiner Preface M.S. Swaminathan Part I: Introduction 1. Introductory and Background Materials 2. Crop Wild Relatives in the Project Countries 3. What Do We Mean by In Situ Conservation of CWR? Part II: Conservation Actions 4. Planning for CWR Conservation and Partnership Building 5. Participatory Approaches for CWR In Situ Conservation 6. Developing National CWR Strategies and Action Plans 7. Selection and Prioritization of Species/Populations and Areas 8. Establishing an Information Baseline: Ecogeographic Surveying Part III: Conservation Actions 9. Protected Areas and CWR Conservation 10. Species and Population Management/Recovery Plans 11. Conservation Strategies for Species/Populations Occurring Outside Protected Areas 12. Complementary Conservation Actions 13. Monitoring of Areas and Species/Populations to Assess Effectiveness of Conservation/Management Actions Part IV: Other Major Issues 14. Adapting to Global Change 15. Capacity Building 16. Communications, Public Awareness and Outreach Annexes Annex I: CWR species for which field data were collected during 2006-2009 in Bolivia Annex II: Monitoring plan for Cereal Crop Wild Relatives in Erebuni State Reserve Annex III: Management plan for Amygdalus bucharica in the Chatkal Biospheric State Reserve, Uzbekistan Index of Organisms Thematic Index
Danny Hunter is a scientist with expertise in plant genetic resources, their conservation and utilisation. He has worked as a technical adviser or team leader on a number of important global projects related to agricultural biodiversity and has professional experience in 30 countries covering most regions. Most recently he has been the Global Project Coordinator for the UNEP/GEF Crop Wild Relatives project. Currently he is based at Bioversity International in Rome, Italy. Vernon Heywood is Emeritus Professor in the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Reading, UK. He was Chief Scientist for plant conservation at IUCN and founding Director of Botanic Gardens Conservation International. He co-ordinated and edited the UNEP Global Biodiversity Assessment and has published over 60 books and 400 scientific papers.
'It is clear that we should accelerate our efforts to improve the production and consumption of crop plants. It is in this context that the present manual on in situ conservation of crop wild relatives is a timely one. It will help to rekindle interest in the wild relatives of crop plants and help to initiate a climate resilient food security system, based on the widening of the food basket...I hope this book will be widely read and used for saving plants in order to save lives and livelihoods.' Professor M S Swaminathan 'It is our hope that through these pages we can conserve and promote crop wild relatives as an efficient way to build sustainable development and protect against famine and the effects of climate change worldwide.' Monique Barbut (Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility) and Achim Steiner (UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme)