- New evidence of plant food processing in Italy before 40ka. Did modern humans outcompete Neanderthals in Italy by grinding up and eating wild cereals? No, probably not, but still.
- Early Dalmatian farmers specialized in sheep husbandry. Did early Dalmatian farmers outcompete local hunter gatherers by eating sheep? No, probably not, but still.
- Northwest African Neolithic initiated by migrants from Iberia and Levant. Iberians brought farming to the Maghreb, where local hunter-gatherers were both outcompeted and enticed to change their lifestyles, and the whole thing happened again later when pastoralism arrived from the Levant.
- Genetic continuity, isolation, and gene flow in Stone Age Central and Eastern Europe. This outcompeting thing happened to different extents in different parts of Europe.
- Why did foraging, horticulture and pastoralism persist after the Neolithic transition? The oasis theory of agricultural intensification. Lower rainfall and lower biodiversity allowed early intensive agriculture around the world to outcompete other lifestyles.
- New research on crop diversity of the early farmers in southeastern Europe (ca. 6400-5700 BCE). Some crops were outcompeted by others as agriculture spread into Europe.
- The early adoption of East Asian crops in West Asia: rice and broomcorn millet in northern Iran. Starting in East Asia, broomcorn millet reached the Caspian Sea’s southern coast by 2050 BC by infiltrating and rice by 120 BC by leapfrogging. No word on what they outcompeted.
- Redefining the timing and circumstances of the chicken’s introduction to Europe and north-west Africa. It took a long time for chickens to outcompete other sources of food. For a long time they were just exotic pets.
- Pre-Columbian legacy and modern land use in the Bolivian Amazon. Modern farming practices are taking advantage of ancient farming practices in the Llanos de Moxos. Unclear who is outcompeting whom.
Sad to report that two giants of our field have passed on.
Dr Melaku Worede helped establish the national genebank of Ethiopia in 1976 and led it for 14 years. He was a champion for the equal participation of farmers and local communities in the conservation and management of crop diversity.
Both made indelible contributions to the conservation and use of plant genetic resources, on both the technical and policy side, over many years. They will be missed.
- Finance for food systems transformation. “Financial institutions with significant portfolio exposure to the agrifood sector” need to step up.
- Heavy reliance on private finance alone will not deliver conservation goals. We can’t trust financial institutions with significant portfolio exposure to the agrifood sector.
- Current conservation policies risk accelerating biodiversity loss. Spare the land for biodiversity, don’t share it. Financial institutions with significant portfolio exposure to the agrifood sector would probably agree. But that’s ok.
- Scientific evidence showing the impacts of nature restoration actions on food productivity. Land sharing isn’t all that bad actually.
- Biodiversity and pollination benefits trade off against profit in an intensive farming system. Land sharing needs financial incentives. Here we go again.
- Ecological intensification of agriculture through biodiversity management: introduction. Yeah but that’s only one example. Check out these 5 reviews and then let’s talk about financial incentives.
- The Meta-universe Platform Roblox for the Conservation of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS): The Case of the Floating Garden Agricultural Practices. Can they charge for it though?
- Risks of synchronized low yields are underestimated in climate and crop model projections. Meanwhile, the world burns…
- Prioritizing Colombian plant genetic resources for investment in research using indicators about the geographic origin, vulnerability status, economic benefits, and food security importance. Out of 345 species, 25 were high priority, including 15 potatoes, 3 tomatoes, 2 tree tomatoes, pineapple, cocoa, papaya, yacon and coffee.
- Quantifying Endangerment Value: a Promising Tool to Support Curation Decisions. Looks a bit like an extreme form of “vulnerability status” above.
- GGoutlieR: an R package to identify and visualize unusual geo-genetic patterns of biological samples. Looks a bit like a fancy version of “geographic origin” above.
- Phenotypic and genotypic resources for the USDA quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) genebank accessions. The geo-genetic pattern was not particularly unusual, but still useful.
- Trans situ conservation strategies to conserve the extinction risk species, Sesamum prostratum Retz., a crop wild relative of sesame being endemic to coastal strand habitat: a case study. Ticks all the prioritization boxes I guess.
- Safeguarding plant genetic resources in the United States during global climate change. We should probably apply vulnerability assessments to stuff already in genebanks too.
- Limited genetic changes observed during in situ and ex situ conservation in Nordic populations of red clover (Trifolium pratense). Though if conservation is done right the stuff in genebanks should be fine.
- Collection and characterization of cassava germplasm in Comoros. Turned out to be a high priority for collecting.
- Fifty years of collecting wild Helianthus species for cultivated sunflower improvement. Good thing all this stuff was prioritized 50 years ago.
- The opportunity of using durum wheat landraces to tolerate drought stress: screening morpho-physiological components. 3 out of 8 Tunisian landraces tested are drought-tolerant. Prioritize for use?
- Tools for using the International Rice Genebank to breed for climate-resilient varieties. How to prioritize for use among 130,000 accessions rather than 8. No word on unusual geo-genetic patterns.
Genebanks have a communication problem: they are a do-something-for-tomorrow thing in a something-must-be-done-now world. Well, it turns out that some important people are increasingly seeing these two seemingly quite different ways of prioritizing as not necessarily mutually exclusive. This is from last week’s The Economist:
In a recent article, a number of world leaders including Joe Biden of America, William Ruto of Kenya and Muhammad bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates wrote that they were convinced “poverty reduction and protection of the planet are converging objectives”. Some policies do indeed provide useful fixes for both. Sustainable agriculture cuts emissions, climate-proofs the food supply and reduces the risk of famine…
Now to convince Messrs Biden, Ruto et al. of the connection between sustainable agriculture and crop diversity…
LATER: Maybe add the Chinese authorities to that list?