- Mapping abiotic stresses for rice in Africa: Drought, cold, iron toxicity, salinity and sodicity. Now to mash this up with germplasm provenance information…
- Screening of rice landraces (Oryza sativa L.) for seedling stage salinity tolerance using morpho-physiological and molecular markers. …you know, so that this sort of thing could be predicted, perhaps.
- Identification of promising sources for fodder traits in the world collection of pearl millet at the ICRISAT genebank. 14 out of 326. Difficult to predict from environmental data, though, I suspect.
- Agricultural diversification as an important strategy for achieving food security in Africa. More diverse households and farming systems are more food secure, but only up to a point, and it depends on various factors. 43% of African cropland will be difficult to diversify.
- Deforestation and child diet diversity: A geospatial analysis of 15 Sub-Saharan African countries. Deforestation is bad for diet diversity. No word on overlap with the above mentioned 43%.
- Two-thirds of global cropland area impacted by climate oscillations. I bet you that includes most of the above-mentioned 43%.
- Exchanging and managing in-vitro elite germplasm to combat Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) in Eastern and Southern Africa. The devil is in the logistics.
- Risk of pathogens associated with plant germplasm imported into India from various countries. See what I mean?
- An exploration of the implication and feasibility of UAH (Urban Agricultural Heritages) in China. I for one really want to see the Xuanhua traditional vineyard system.
- Genetic Resources in the “Calabaza Pipiana” Squash (Cucurbita argyrosperma) in Mexico: Genetic Diversity, Genetic Differentiation and Distribution Models. Balsas-Jalisco is a potential center of domestication. Isn’t it the same for maize?
- Genetic differences in macro-element mineral concentrations among 52 historically important tomato varieties. Fairly strong and mostly independent, except for K and Mg.
- The global burden of chronic and hidden hunger: Trends and determinants. Growth not as good on hidden hunger as on chronic. Let them eat tomatoes.
- Human diets drive range expansion of megafauna-dispersed fruit species. Megafauna dropped the ball (or the fruit), humans picked it up and ran with it.
- Experimental evidence on payments for forest commons conservation. Maybe we should have paid the megafauna.
- Vegetable genetic resources in China. 3 genebanks, 36,000 accessions, 120 species, about 1000 distributions per year (to research units).
- A cost-effective ground pollination system for hybridization in tall coconut palms. I have seen the future of coconut pollination.
- Determinants of pastoral and agro-pastoral households’ participation in fodder production in Makueni and Kajiado Counties, Kenya. Household heads who are female, have access to extension services, or are members of social groups are more likely to go in for fodder production.
- Taxonomy based on science is necessary for global conservation. Incredible to me that needs to be said.
- Development of next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based SSRs in African nightshades: Tools for analyzing genetic diversity for conservation and breeding. Solanum scabrum and S. villosum separate nicely, and show much diversity.
- A natural adaptive syndrome as a model for the origins of cereal agriculture. Large seed, awns and monodominance.
- Development and Examination of Sweet Potato Flour Fortified with Indigenous Underutilized Seasonal Vegetables. Ticks all the boxes, lets call it divortification.
- An informational view of accession rarity and allele specificity in germplasm banks for management and conservation. Basically a better way of making cores.
- Multi-indicator sustainability assessment of global food systems. Thankfully includes both “Shannon Diversity of Food Supply” and “Food Production Diversity”. No sign of the Agrobiodiversity Index, though, alas.
- Cytoplasmic Diversity Studies in Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.): A Review. Have the wild relatives to thank for it.
- Mosaic of Traditional and Modern Agriculture Systems for Enhancing Resilience. Refers specifically to rice irrigation systems, but could be generalizable, why not?
- Post-disaster agricultural transitions in Nepal. To cardamon, mainly.
- Simulating the Impacts of Climate Variability and Change on Crop Varietal Diversity in Mali (West-Africa) Using Agent-Based Modeling Approach. Less favourable and unstable climatic conditions lead to loss of diversity.
- Genetic Diversity in Argentine Andean Potatoes by Means of Functional Markers. There’s a small group of weird, interesting ones.
- Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) markers associated with high folate content in wild potato species. Ten-fold variation in content in in F2 population derived from cross between high folate diploid clone of wild Solanum boliviense and low/medium folate diploid S. tuberosum. Nice.
- Identification of new sources of resistance for pearl millet downy mildew disease under field conditions. 20 really good ones out of 101. Could have been worse.
- Assay of Genetic Architecture for Identification of Waterlogging Tolerant Pigeonpea Germplasm. 38 out of 128 survived. People are lucky this week.
- Phenotypic evaluation of a diversity panel selected from the world collection of sugarcane (Saccharum spp) and related grasses. Out of 300, 27 were higher than commercial standards in dry or fresh mass. On a roll here.
- Genotyping by Sequencing and Genome–Environment Associations in Wild Common Bean Predict Widespread Divergent Adaptation to Drought. Two genes identified. Let’s quit while we’re ahead. No, come on, let’s do another one.
- Tree genetic resources at risk in South America: A spatial threat assessment to prioritize populations for conservation. 7 of 80 socieconomically important trees threatened across their range. Damn.
Last week saw something of a Big Spatial Data blitz, and not just Kofi Annan’s Nature piece in which he pithily set out why data — both big and small — is important:
Data gaps undermine our ability to target resources, develop policies and track accountability. Without good data, we’re flying blind. If you can’t see it, you can’t solve it.
The occasion for the aphorism was a monumental study in the same journal on “Mapping child growth failure in Africa between 2000 and 2015,” which plotted various child heath and education variables over the entire African continent at the unbelievable resolution of 5×5 kilometres. Interestingly, other spatial data, this time on agricultural production and nutrient diversity (which we have blogged about), was used to explain patterns in child growth stunting. There was also a call in the correspondence section of Nature to “democratise” smallholders’ access to such data.
But that wasn’t all.
A study in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics on “Food Abundance and Violent Conflict in Africa” used a huge spatial dataset of population, agricultural production and conflict locations. It found that, contrary to expectation, “[a]lthough droughts can lead to violence, such as in urban areas; this was … not … the case for rural areas, where the majority of armed conflicts occurred where food crops were abundant.”
And, finally, there was “Winners and losers of national and global efforts to reconcile agricultural intensification and biodiversity conservation” in Global Change Biology. Unhelpfully titled, the more interesting finding of this study was that the “uneven spatial distribution of both yield gaps and [vertebrate] biodiversity provides opportunities for reconciling agricultural intensification and biodiversity conservation through spatially optimized intensification.”
Will all these pretty maps be used? Perhaps Lawrence Haddad said it best (not for the first time) in a tweet referring to the malnutrition study:
— Purnima Menon (@PMenonIFPRI) March 1, 2018
I’d add one thing. It’s probably too much to ask for “the powerful” to learn some GIS, but researchers could get better at helping them to bring together and explore disparate datasets such as these three in powerful, easy-to-use visualisations.
LATER: I forgot one: there’s also a new global dataset on evaporative stress index.
- Exploring the genetic and adaptive diversity of a pan-Mediterranean crop wild relative: narrow-leafed lupin. W-E migration.
- From lesser-known to super vegetables: the growing profile of African traditional leafy vegetables in promoting food security and wellness. I’m sold.
- Home-grown school feeding: promoting local production systems diversification through nutrition sensitive agriculture. Any traditional leafy greens, though?
- Citrus genebank collections: international collaboration opportunities between the US and Russia. Very complementary.
- Adapting clonally propagated crops to climatic changes: a global approach for taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott). The need for seed.
- High-temperature drying of seeds of wild Oryza species intended for long-term storage. The need for drying seeds at 45°C.
- Productivity, biodiversity, and pathogens influence the global hunter-gatherer population density. Come the zombie apocalypse, head for subtropical and temperate forest biomes.
- Genomics of the origin and evolution of Citrus. It all started when the SE foothills of the Himalayas got a bit dryer in the Miocene… But there’s only one genus (well, plus Poncirus), with 10 species. Oh and pummelos are really important.
- Sheep herding systems and animal genetic resource management in the Central Plateau region of Burkina Faso. The best strategy overall would be for rural breeders to specialize in maintaining purebreds and urban breeders, closer to markets, fattened F1 crossbreds. But that’s easier said than done.
- Access to genes: linkages between genebanks and farmers’ seed systems. You can do it in half a dozen different ways, but there are challenges with scale, sustainability and legal frameworks.