- Learning from the Ancient Maya: Conservation of the Culture and Nature of the Maya Forest. Teaching forest gardening, before it’s too late.
- Genetic Diversity of Bangladeshi Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) over Time and Across Seedling Sources. Downward trend in time, but no difference between growers and nurseries.
- Plum Cultivars in Sweden: History and Conservation for Future Use. From 70 varieties in nurseries, to 45 in the genebank.
- Integration of expert knowledge in the definition of Swiss pear core collection. Let stakeholders choose a few, it won’t make too much of a difference to the overall diversity, and they’ll be pleased.
- Can agricultural intensification help to conserve biodiversity? A scenario study for the African continent. Land sparing is better for biodiversity and food production.
- Influence of experimental design on decentralized, on-farm evaluation of populations: a simulation study. Replicate populations of interest rather than controls, and environments.
- Botanicals used for cosmetic purposes by Xhosa women in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. 16 plants, 14 families, bark the most common component, skin complexion the most common use.
- Droughts, Biodiversity, and Rural Incomes in the Tropics. More access to natural biodiversity means smaller effect of drought during the growing season on income from crops.
- A global surveillance system for crop diseases. Could be extended to other threats to crop diversity?
- A data-driven approach improves food insecurity crisis prediction. Market data, rainfall, geography and demography predict food insecurity at village level in near real time.
- Rapid detection of stressed agricultural environments in Africa under climatic change 2000–2050 using agricultural resource indices and a hotspot mapping approach. Increasing trouble for Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and to a lesser extent Ethiopia. But will biodiversity, disease monitoring and food insecurity prediction help?
- Kavalactones and Flavokavins Profiles Contribute to Quality Assessment of Kava (Piper methysticum G. Forst.), the Traditional Beverage of the Pacific. High-throughput HPTLC will do the job.
- Transcriptome and organellar sequencing highlights the complex origin and diversification of allotetraploid Brassica napus. 6 genetic groups: Winter rapeseed in Europe and America, Rutabaga, Spring rapeseed, Siberian kale, Winter rapeseed in East Asia, and Winter rapeseed in Europe and South Asia. No evidence of multi-origin.
- Parallels between natural selection in the cold‐adapted crop‐wild relative Tripsacum dactyloides and artificial selection in temperate adapted maize. Artificial selection for temperate adaptation in maize involved the same genes as natural selection for temperate adaptation in Tripsacum.
On 24 July, three experts from the IUCN’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group will:
- Give an overview of plant conservation planning
- Describe the steps in national conservation planning
- Elaborate on how planners, conservationists, and stakeholders should work together
- Highlight the importance of linking conservation to human use
- Summarize the content of conservation strategies and action plans
- Explain how levels of conservation planning from local to international should interconnect
The ‘World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future’ is out and the news is that “there is no silver bullet.” Rather, there’s a whole list of things that need to be done. For example, we need “[g]enetic tools allowing farmers to select for size, flavor, and temperament of vegetables.”
Here’s the actual, very sensible, menu:
- Reduce growth in demand by cutting food loss and waste, eating healthier diets, and more
- Increase food production without expanding agricultural land area via yield gains for both crops and livestock
- Protect and restore natural ecosystems by reducing deforestation, restoring peatlands, and linking yield gains with ecosystem conservation
- Increase fish supply by improving aquaculture systems and better managing wild fisheries
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production through innovative technologies and farming methods
Needless to say, agricultural biodiversity underpins pretty much all of the above, including attitude-free vegetables. Maybe there is a silver bullet after all?
Susan Bragdon has a question on that goopy maize agreement:
But what about the possible impacts of this agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity?
A Mars subsidiary called BioN2 had signed an agreement with a village to share financial benefits from the maize’s commercialization. That village turned out to be Totontepec, a Mixe indigenous community in the mountains of eastern Oaxaca… The UC Davis/Mars researchers received a certificate of compliance with the Nagoya Protocol, an international agreement aimed at compensating indigenous communities for their biological resources and traditional knowledge.
Sounds good, right? But questions remain.
Still, the situation surrounding Totontepec’s maize raises complex questions about how indigenous communities equitably benefit when research scientists and multinational corporations commercialize local crops and plants. Should Totontepec’s maize turn out to be a miracle, self-fertilizing crop whose genetic traits can be replicated worldwide, will the community’s Mixe people receive a significant long-term share of profits, which could potentially number in the millions of dollars? How does Nagoya ensure that the rights and interests of small indigenous communities are safeguarded when their leaders negotiate complex deals with international lawyers and executives? And, not least, when a valuable plant is found throughout a region, is it fair for a single village such as Totontepec to reap financial benefits from its maize while neighboring communities with identical or similar maize receive nothing?
These questions, and others, are discussed in the article, which is really a model of its kind, courtesy of Martha Pskowski.