Conserving indigenous vegetables

Crop wild relatives are becoming increasingly important in a world of growing populations and changing climates

Data resources used via GBIF : 108,787 species occurrences
Vegetables for sale in Yangon, Myanmar

Vegetables for sale in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Robert Levy licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

As global populations increase and climates change, agriculture needs to produce more food under unpredictable climatic conditions. The need for crop wild relatives and the genetic diversity provided by such is greater than ever. In tropical Asia, the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot is a potential source for important cultivars.

This study examines the representation of indigenous vegetables in global conservation. Using tropical Asia as a case study, researchers focus on Myanmar and identify 30 target species for further examination. They compare number of available GBIF-mediated occurrences and GENESYS conserved accessions for Myanmar with other countries and regions, and find that important species have very low number of records.

The researchers conclude that the overall underrepresentation of indigenous vegetables from tropical Asia is clear. They suggest prioritizing new collection missions to safeguard and utilize the potential of plant genetic resources.

Citations

Solberg SØ and Chou Y-Y (2017) Conservation of Indigenous Vegetables from a Hotspot in Tropical Asia: What Did We Learn from Vavilov? Frontiers in Plant Science. Frontiers Media SA 7. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2016.01982.

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