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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Acquisition, Evaluation and Conversation of Temperate Forage Legume Genetic Resources Title: Initial Steps toward a National Conservation Strategy for Crop Wild Relatives of the United States

Authors
item Khoury, Colin -
item Greene, Stephanie
item Castaneda, A -
item Nora, P -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2011
Publication Date: July 9, 2011
Citation: Khoury, C., Greene, S.L., Castaneda, A., Nora, P. 2011. Initial Steps toward a National Conservation Strategy for Crop Wild Relatives of the United States. Meeting Abstract. p240.

Interpretive Summary: An effective strategy for conserving biodiversity requires a spectrum of actions from global to local level. Agricultural biodiversity is no exception. Wild relatives of crops (CWR), as important genetic resources for crop improvement, represent a dual challenge of needing conservation as well as access for use. CWR resources are often globally important, yet their management is dependent upon national policy and interests. We suggest that an effective national approach entails the systematic coverage of CWR in genetic reserves, coupled with samples of this diversity being available in national genebanks. We present the work to date for a national effort in the United States to conserve CWR and economically important taxa that are native or naturalized. We are developing a national inventory that represent CWR of the world's crops, or are directly used for food, fiber, forage, forestry, industrial, medicinal, ornamental, and restoration purposes, which currently contains close to 3,000 taxa. In the United States species-rich native genepools include Allium (onion), Carya (pecan), Fragaria (strawberry), Helianthus (sunflower), Hordeum (barley), Ipomoea (sweet potato), Lactuca (lettuce), Nicotiana (tobacco), Phaseolus (bean), Prunus (cherry, almond,peach), Ribes (currant), Rubus (raspberry), Vaccinium (blueberry, cranberry), and Vitis (grape). We conclude by discussing our next steps for developing a national conservation strategy for crop wild relatives: prioritizing taxa by relatedness to crop species, assessing the coverage of CWR in genebanks and in protected areas, and making recommendations for conservation actions.

Technical Abstract: An effective strategy for conservation of biodiversity worldwide requires a spectrum of actions enacted from the global to the local level. Agricultural biodiversity is no exception, and the wild relatives of crops (CWR), as important genetic resources for crop improvement, represent a dual challenge of requiring conservation as well as access for use. In many regions these resources are threatened by habitat modification, land use changes, and other factors, requiring their urgent collection and long-term availability for research and breeding from ex situ genebank collections, as well as their adequate protection in situ in order to support an evolving genepool for the uses of the future. CWR resources are often globally important, yet their management is dependent upon national policy and interests. We suggest that an effective national approach toward the conservation of CWR entails the systematic coverage of this diversity in a network of genetic reserves, with samples of this diversity safeguarded in national genebanks. We present the work to date on planning for a national effort to conserve CWR and economically important taxa that are native or naturalized in the United States. We are developing a national inventory of taxa that represent CWR of the world's crops, or are directly used for food, fiber, forage, forestry, industrial, medicinal, ornamental, and restoration purposes, which currently contains close to 3,000 taxa. We have also developed a methodology for identification of the genepools of the world's important crops. Especially species-rich native genepools of important crops include Allium (onion), Carya (pecan), Fragaria (strawberry), Helianthus (sunflower), Hordeum (barley), Ipomoea (sweet potato), Lactuca (lettuce), Nicotiana (tobacco), Phaseolus (bean), Prunus (cherry, almond,peach), Ribes (currant), Rubus (raspberry), Vaccinium (blueberry, cranberry), and Vitis (grape), and many additional genera are also represented. We conclude by discussing our next steps for developing a national conservation strategy for crop wild relatives: prioritizing taxa by relatedness to crop species, assessing the coverage of CWR in genebanks and in protected areas, and making recommendations for conservation actions.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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