The Society for Conservation Biology has aÂ catalogue of social sciences tools for conservation here. There are 270 items listed in the catalog, which you can search in various different ways. Quick searches for such keywords as “agriculture” and “crop” only generated a couple of hits, but I think most of the tools included (things like gender analysis and participatory rural assessment) will be particularly relevant to the conservation of agricultural biodiversity. There’s a more biologically-inclined catalog of tools here.
Isabel Vales, a potato expert at Oregon State University, is using both molecular and conventional methods to breed pest and disease resistance, and evaluating thousands of traditional and specialty potato lines, including weirdly coloured ones, for their potential under organic conditions.
A number of bioluminescent mushrooms have recently been discovered in Brazil. Is there anything this group of organisms is not capable of?
Funny how stories which originate from opposite ends of the world but that are closely related sometimes appear — through sheer coincidence — on the same day. Here’s a case in point. Exhibit number one: an article on how Ndorobo tribesmen “over-ran a protected forest reserve in eastern Uganda last April and hacked down thousands of trees (which had been) planted by a Netherlands-based firm” called FACE (Forests Absorbing Carbon dioxide Emissions) as part of a carbon credits scheme. There’s no doubt the people were forced from their ancestral lands back in the 90s, but FACE says that these communities retained rights over some forest resources. Big of them. The article doesn’t say what kinds of trees were planted, nor what other resources the displaced people retained rights to, apart from firewood. Now here’s exhibit two: indigenous communities in Amazonia are using GPS and Google Earth to map their ancestral lands and the resources they manage within them. You have to wonder whether this technology would have helped the Ndorobo.