Classifying conservation actions

An article in PLoS Biology recently suggested that IUCN should change the classification system it uses for protected areas (PAs). Currently reflecting management intent (e.g. “National Park: managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation”), the idea would be for the new categories to rather “be based on the quality and quantity of the contribution of each PA to conservation of biodiversity (and associated sociocultural values).” So: actual result, rather than intent; and “what ” and “how much” rather than “how.” Seems like a pretty good idea. And it also seems like the concept could be applied not just to protected areas, but to conservation actions in general. That would spell the doom of the tired old in situ/ex situ dichotomy. Not a minute too soon, as far as I’m concerned.

No, she wanted to go

I can’t imagine why the Jamaica Information Service should have decided to tell the world about the work of the Crop Research Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Research and Development Division. And at quite some length to boot. But I’m glad they did. Lots of interesting stuff about agrobiodiversity conservation, seed production and breeding. Now you know where to get your scotch bonnet seeds.

Adapting in the Andes

Climate change is leading to an increase in late blight and other diseases in Andean potato fields, and farmers are moving up the mountain in response. They’re also trying to figure out which of their dozens of varieties — plus others from genebanks, especially CIP’s — are going to do best, where. Hear all about it at NPR. There’s a great slideshow too.