Location: National Germplasm Resources LaboratoryTitle: Conservation of crop wild relatives in the United States
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2018
Publication Date: 11/13/2018
Citation: Williams, K. A., Greene, S. L. 2018. Conservation of Crop Wild Relatives in the USA. In: Greene, S., Williams, K.A., Khoury, C., Kantar, M., Marek, L., editors. North American Crop Wild Relatives, Volume 1. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. p. 97-154.
Technical Abstract: Crop wild relatives (CWR) are found throughout in the United States (US), with a high concentration in the eastern part of the country. These wild plants include the ancestors of crops domesticated within the borders of the country, such as sunflower, pecan, blueberry, cranberry, and squash, as well as the relatives of crops domesticated elsewhere. This chapter presents an overview of some of the CWR found in the US, and the status and potential for improved conservation through both ex situ and in situ approaches. The largest collection of CWR germplasm from the US is the National Plant Germplasm System, managed by the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). Other germplasm conservation networks, including the Bureau of Land Management-led Seeds of Success, the Center for Plant Conservation’s Collection of Endangered Plants, and the American Public Gardens Association\US National Arboretum-coordinated Plant Collections Network support collection and conservation of plants that include CWR. Active sampling of CWR for ex situ conservation is ongoing, especially for certain crop groups, such as potato, sunflower and small fruits. In situ conservation of CWR is mostly passive, involving protected areas that were established for other objectives. Ample opportunities exist to fill gaps in ex situ collections and to more deliberately conserve CWR on public lands, particularly by making better use of available sources of information, harnessing existing frameworks, and developing new partnerships.