Participatory conservation: a means of encouraging community biodiversity

Arunachalam, V. (2000) Participatory conservation: a means of encouraging community biodiversity Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter, 122 . pp. 1-6. ISSN 1020-3362

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The conservation of natural resources and biodiversity is threatened by increasing habitat loss, the degradation of the environment and the introduction of modern crop varieties. Although local landraces and crop varieties are potential sources of valuable genes that could benefit the farming community, their conservation depends to a large extent on the personal motivation of farmers and the continuation of traditional farming methods. There is growing apprehension that many landraces and site-specific genetic resources could be lost. Trait expression in these genetic resources is highly dependent upon the local environment, and has evolved over a long period of time through traditional and cultural cropping practices. Such varieties should be conserved in situ preferably on-farm. Techniques for their conservation, seed maintenance and regeneration can be fine-tuned and efficiently applied if farmer knowledge is reinforced with formal theory. Increasingly attention is being focused on participatory conservation to provide a synergy between formal-sector and farmer approaches. This paper describes how landraces and local crop varieties could be conserved by the use of field gene banks and area gene banks linked to community gene banks, and through these, to a national gene bank. Improved breeding strategies, resulting from a farmer- formal sector synergy, offer more options for providing a secure and sustainable livelihood for the large numbers of poor farmers who at present receive little or no assistance from the formal sector.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Keywords:Biodiversity; Community Gene Bank; Conservation; Field Gene Bank; Natural Genetic Resources
ID Code:89412
Deposited On:27 Apr 2012 14:20
Last Modified:19 May 2016 03:58

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