The recent PNAS paper on deforestation has been getting a lot of attention. The data are available, and our mole at CIAT (thanks, Julian!) kindly mashed them up with the distribution of a selection of crop wild relatives (Cajanus, Cicer, Eleusine, Hordeum, Lens, Pennisetum, Phaseolus, Sorghum, Triticum, Aegilops, Vicia, Vigna, and Zea). Here’s the result. In red are shown area where forest loss is >10%. Green shows areas where >15 species in the above genera are expected to be found from niche models. You’ll have to click on it to see it properly.
Perhaps not surprisingly given the genepools involved, there’s not much overlap between crop wild relative richness and deforestation. These particular species don’t seem to have much to fear from the loss of forested land. Except for a few small areas in southern Africa, that is.
The picture would clearly be somewhat different if Julian had included wild cassava, rubber, apples or mangoes. I’m sure he will very soon.