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. 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. 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. It provides practical, relevant information and guidance for the scaling-up of actions targeting CWR conservation around the world.
'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)
'This is a fine and welcome book that both demonstrates the enormous value of conserving plant resources and shows clearly how they can be used to help in the continued improvements of agricultural systems. This emerging recognition of the importance of conservation of crop wild relatives in situ has significance for social and ecological systems worldwide, and will require adoption of the new practices and policies set out here.' -Professor Jules Pretty, OBE, Professor of Environment & Society, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, UK
'Whoever really cares for the future of mankind's food should read this book. Crop wild relatives have been the genetic mine from where most of our variety of cultivars originate, and are essential for attaining a sustainable agriculture.' -Professor Jose Sarukhan, Institute of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico
'The editor should be commended for the integration of practical experience gained from the five country studies into the description of each facet in situ conservation planning and establishment.' Nigel Maxted, Experimental Agriculture