Ex Situ and In Situ Conservation of Agricultural Biodiversity: Major Advances and Research Needs
AbstractThe effective conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity is vital for creating and maintaining sustainable increases in the productivity of healthy food for mankind, as well as contributing to the increased resilience of agricultural systems. Major advances in the two main complementary strategies for agricultural biodiversity conservation, namely ex situ and in situ, over the last decade are presented to reflect on their current global status and trends. The FAO Second State of the World Report on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture reports that the total number of accessions conserved in ex situ collections is about 7.4 million, in over 1750 genebanks around the world. There has also been increasing awareness of the importance and value of conserving crop wild relatives (CWR) in situ and a greater understanding of the scientific issues surrounding on farm management of genetic diversity. Recent research outputs produced by Bioversity International to ensure the effective and efficient conservation and use of genetic diversity are cited. These have involved development of best practices for genebank management and the development of enhanced technologies and methodologies for conserving and promoting the use of the genetic diversity. Bioversity International has led the development of methodologies for on farm conservation, and promoted the drafting of policies and strategies for the in situ conservation of crop wild relatives and their management inside and outside protected areas. Also an outlook of the research priorities and needs for conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity is described.
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