Missed today’s forum on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems over at FAO? Don’t worry, the video will be up soon. And you can read an article, or a whole book on the subject, in the meantime. Surprised there isn’t one of those Google Earth photo-essays like Kew did for its Tropical Important Plant Areas programme.
I’ve come across a number of banana-related resources lately, so I thought I’d pull them all together in one post.
First, there’s CropMapper.org, from Bioversity, which “aims to collect, to make available and to share spatial information on global banana production in a single centralized database.”
Then there’s “Banana natural biodiversity mapping,” from iNaturalist. It’s objective is “to map the distribution of CWRs and landraces in primary and secondary centers of diversity” through crowdsourcing. Which I suppose could eventually be added to the more conventionally sourced data in the CWR Atlas.
And finally there’s blog post from IITA describing a project to document banana diversity in the Democratic Republic of Congo using morphological traits that have been overlooked in the past. I assume the data will find its way into the Musa Germplasm Information System. And thence to Genesys.
All these contribute to answering a question that I asked here back in 2010: Where do bananas grow anyway? What I still don’t see, though, is a way to bring all this information together in one place.
And, given that there’s collecting going on as we speak, for example, the information — and the need — will only grow:
Researchers from the Meise Botanic Garden (Belgium), Plant Resources Center (Vietnam) and Millenium Seed Bank (UK) are in northern Vietnam to study and collect wild bananas. Follow their progress at #banana_expedition_2018. https://t.co/FIVObVECRS
— ProMusa (@promusa_banana) April 19, 2018
The scientific program of this workshop will place seed longevity into a conservation context: ex situ conservation of genetic resources through in situ conservation of wild habitat. The role of seeds in conservation efforts is often marginalized or understated as simply a ‘means to an end.’ Yet, seed longevity is often the basis of successful conservation efforts because it underpins successful stand re-establishment after disturbance, efficient maintenance of crop diversity, and effective management decisions for commercial seed lots. Seed longevity is a complex trait, in which the environment of growth, harvest, processing and storage may interact in unpredictable ways with inherent seed traits. The longevity phenotype itself is difficult to measure as it encompasses both potential and risk, both of which can only be realized in the future.
Time will be reserved in each late afternoon for discussion of current and potentially controversial issues over refreshments:
- Using accelerated conditions to forecast longevity; we do it for food and drugs, why not seeds? (led by Olivier Leprince and Julia Buitink, INRA France)
- Improving seed banking best practices and standards (led by Fiona Hay, Aarhus Univ, Denmark)
- What about seeds that don’t fit the longevity models? – intermediate/recalcitrant and exceptional (sensu Pence) seed paradigms (leaders TBD)
I hadn’t heard of “exceptional” species, but it turns out it just means those which are troublesome to conserve as seeds, because either recalcitrant or just not very prolific.
Anyway, looks like a lot of cool people will be there.
Well, I decided to do it myself. Here’s the distribution of “iron-rich soils” in Nigeria and potentially affected rice area (the paper’s Fig. 8b), the latter coming from the SPAM project we have alluded to before as a source of data on crop cultivation.
The yellow rings are African rice landraces, the red dots all rice landraces, both from Genesys. If you click on the map, you’ll see it much better, and notice that there’s not much rice germplasm from the more brownish areas, denoting rice cultivation areas with Fe-richer soils. Should these be targets for collecting? Kind of depends if landraces are still grown in those places, but it’s a start.
- Vitis vinifera L. fruit diversity to breed varieties anticipating climate changes. Nice, but isn’t this leaving it rather late?
- The Deterioration of Morocco’s Vegetable Crop Genetic Diversity: An Analysis of the Souss-Massa Region. 80-90% loss in 30 years.
- Interspecies Respect and Potato Conservation in the Peruvian Cradle of Domestication. Some varieties have more charisma than others.
- Quantitative Analysis, Distribution and Traditional Management of Pigeon Pea [Cajanus Cajan (L.) Millsp.] Landraces’ Diversity in Southern Benin. Larger farms have slightly more varieties, otherwise difficult to find socioeconomic correlates of diversity; main criterion for choosing varieties is market value.
- Higher agrobiodiversity is associated with improved dietary diversity, but not child anthropometric status, of Mayan Achí people of Guatemala. Diversifying diets won’t help without better toilets.
- Dwarf germplasm: the key to giant Cannabis hempseed and cannabinoid crops. The mainstreaming of weed continues. The Man unavailable for comment.
- Early North African Cattle Domestication and Its Ecological Setting: A Reassessment. No early North African cattle domestication after all?
- Identification and rapid mapping of a gene conferring broad-spectrum late blight resistance in the diploid potato species Solanum verrucosum through DNA capture technologies. From Mexico with love.