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plant genetic resources for food and agriculture - FAO

plant genetic resources for food and agriculture - FAO

STATE OF DIVERSITY OF

STATE OF DIVERSITY OF MAJOR AND MINOR CROPS • absence of intensification of agriculture in many areas so that there is a continuing high number of varieties and species in cultivation; 14 • since the late 1990s measures have been in place to protect habitat, promote continued landrace cultivation through farmer-participation projects, reintroduce landraces and old cultivars for organic production, and on-going collection missions; 15 and • on-going collection missions and promotion of onfarm conservation of heritage pasture, vegetable and fruit tree varieties. 16 Many country reports have indicated that “informal” seed systems remain a key element in the maintenance of crop diversity on farms (Chapter 4). It was noted in the United Republic of Tanzania that such an informal system accounts for up to 90 percent of seed movement. 17 The country reports of both Finland and Germany called attention to EU Council Regulation No. 1698/2005, which came into force in 2006 on the national and state levels. Under these regulations, payments can be made (premiums per hectare) for the cultivation of crop varieties threatened by genetic erosion, as well as for specific actions supporting the conservation and sustainable use of these varieties. Following the adoption of the ITPGRFA, the GCDT was established in 2004. Among its goals is the identification and addressing of the highest priority diversity conservation issues which involve ex situ conservation of the ITPGRFA mandate crops (listed in Annex 1 of the Treaty). 18 The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened in 2008 and provides the ultimate global security backup collection of crop diversity held in genebanks around the world, for insurance against both incremental and catastrophic loss. Since its opening, there has been a concerted effort at depositing duplicate accessions from the CGIAR global collections and many national and regional collections. In 2006, the GCDT initiated the development of crop-based conservation and utilization strategies, convening teams of curators, breeders, and crop experts. The priorities that have emerged from this process were the next targets for the Trust, which now offers a grant process to fund work to address the priorities. The Trust’s achievements in 2008 included signing over 50 grant agreements with partner organizations around the world to rescue, regenerate, characterize, evaluate, and ensure that the existing diversity, once better conserved and better understood, is quickly and easily available to plant breeders. 19 In situ conservation status The wild forms of many crops (especially cereals and legumes), and most of the species in their primary and secondary genepools, are usually annual species and thus populations are dynamic, and possibly transient, from year to year making it difficult for natural areas to be defined based specifically on the conservation of CWR. Most protected natural areas in the world are defined on the basis of geographic and ecological features and the presence of some dominant perennial plant taxa. Therefore the success of protected areas in maintaining annual CWR taxa is haphazard at best. An effort to support CWR conservation has been led by Bioversity International and partners with projects in five countries (see Box 2.1 in Chapter 2). 20 On-farm conservation of old and heirloom varieties and landraces has been given impetus by many crop or food specific projects led by NGOs, public advocacy groups, and academic institutions. Several country reports have documented on-farm and participatory conservation efforts in those countries. 21 A major advance since the first SoW report was published has been increasing numbers of national surveys and inventories supported by a wide range of organizations (see Chapter 2) that have documented the status of conservation efforts and priorities for further action. Gaps There are still gaps in the coverage of cultivars, traditional varieties, landraces, and CWR in the ex situ collections of many major crops. 22 Similar, and in some cases even more extensive gaps, are found for collections of minor crops. There is a better understanding of the extent and nature of gaps in ex situ collections today than was the case at the time of the first SoW report. Some gaps arise by loss of once collected material. Others are due to lack of collection. Perennial taxa present special problems in regeneration, leading to loss and the need to recollect. In situ maintenance is often the better conservation 309

APPENDIX 4 option for perennial taxa from a genetic diversity standpoint. The identification of gaps and recommendations for addressing them is a key component of the GCDT crop strategies. The CGIAR centres pursue these issues for their mandated crops. National PGRFA conservation programs in their country reports have documented needs in addressing gaps as well. Almost uniformly, the country reports cite needs for increased monitoring and establishment of early warning systems as a means to identify gaps in coverage and status of conservation. Documentation, characterization and evaluation Information systems vary greatly in type and sophistication from one collection to another. GIS and molecular data are used in the most sophisticated collections. Standardization and training are needed. 23 More detailed discussion of the trends in documentation and characterization of PGRFA and the priorities for the near future are reported in Chapter 3. Utilization Constraints to utilization of germplasm accessions include lack of accession data, especially evaluation data, unavailability of useful material, and concern over IPR. Priorities to increase utilization include wider use of diverse mapping populations, enhanced use of mutant and genetic stocks and wild relatives, and deployment of newer technologies such as increasingly cost effective high-throughput marker detection and DNA sequencing technology. 24 Participatory breeding approaches have increasingly emerged as a means to target production of cultivars tailored more specifically to farmers’ needs, as noted by many country reports and summarized in Chapter 4. More specific discussion of the trends in utilization of PGRFA and the priorities for the near future is also included in Chapter 4. Examples of priority needs include capacity building in both the crop improvement areas and the germplasm conservation areas and strengthened cooperation among those involved in the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA at all stages of the seed and food chains. 310 THE SECOND REPORT ON THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S PGRFA Climate change Many country reports document loss of diversity over the past decade from collections and farms due to the impacts of pest and disease outbreaks or to absence of tolerance to abiotic stresses, such as heat, drought or frost, leading to loss of accessions during regeneration and in field collections, as well as to loss of cultivars and landraces during crop production. These kinds of diversity losses are expected to grow with increasing manifestations of global climate change. Many country reports point to the threats of climate change for genetic resources. All the scenarios predicted by the IPCC 25 will have major consequences for the adaptation and geographic distribution of crops, specific varieties, and CWR. In China, for example, projections indicate shortages of water supplies for agriculture in the coming decades. 26 Systems of protected areas and reserves will be impacted in ways that will require changes in scale, size, and management plans. 27 Regeneration and grow-out issues for ex situ collections will be even more critical to resolve because demand for accessions will increase if breeders are to be successful in finding and incorporating new sources of disease and pest resistance and stress tolerance into cultivars to facilitate crop adaptation to impacts of increasing climate diversity. However, as the country reports document and Chapter 4 summarizes, overall, plant breeding capacity has not changed significantly since the first SoW report was first published. There is thus an urgent need to increase this capacity worldwide to address the climate change crisis. A4.2 State of diversity of major crops A4.2.1 State of wheat genetic resources The yield of wheat has increased from 2.6 t/ha in 1996 to 3.1 t/ha in 2008 (Figure A4.1). Wheat continued to be the most widely cultivated crop, harvested from 224 million hectares in 2008, 28 down from the 227 million hectares in 1996. Total world production in 2008 was 690 million tonnes, 29 up from the 585 million tonnes

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    Executive summary �his report des

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    FIGURE 1.1 Global priority genetic

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    98 CHAPTER 4 including rice, maize

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    LIST OF COUNTRIES THAT PROVIDED INF

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    LIST OF COUNTRIES THAT PROVIDED INF

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    Annex 2 Regional distribution of co

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    MAJOR GERMPLASM COLLECTIONS BY CROP

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    INIA CARI Centro Regional de Invest

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    IVM Institute of Grape and Wine «M

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    NISM National Information Sharing M

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    REHOVOT Department of Field and Veg

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    SRI Sugar Crop Research Institute,

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    WCMC World Conservation Monitoring

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