Community biodiversity management and in situ conservation of plant genetic resources

Walter Simon de Boef*, Marja Thijssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the fact that both the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) recognize the importance of the in situ conservation strategy, formal plant genetic resources (PGR) programmes have been slow to implement it. As indicated by Thijssen et al. (Chapter 1.1), those programmes face the dilemma of how to incorporate in situ conservation activities into their day-to-day work, or rather, following the terminology of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, 1996), how to contribute to on-farm management. Few are purposely engaged in on-farm management. Dias et al. (Chapter 2.5) describe, for example, how public gene banks associated with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) promote the reintroduction of accessions to farming communities. Feyissa et al. (Chapter 1.4) outline how, since 1989, the Institute of Biodiversity Conservation in Ethiopia (then known as the Plant Genetic Resources Centre/Ethiopia) has been implementing activities for contributing to on-farm management by supporting the establishment of community seed banks. Other national and international PGR programmes have a strong association with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The agrobiodiversity project in Nepal, described by Subedi et al. (Chapter 1.2), was successful because of the partnerships it fostered between the NGO Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD) and national (National Agricultural Research Council) and international (Bioversity International) PGR programmes. The PGR programme in Ecuador has developed a strong linkage with a community-based organization (CBO), as illustrated by Tapia and Carrera (Chapter 2.3). Following the reintroduction of gene bank accessions, the national programme supported the CBO through practices such as diversity fairs, diversity blocks and awareness-raising on agrobiodiversity in tourism and education. Kendall and Gras (Chapter 1.7 of) describe how the Maison de la Semence Paysanne of AgroBio Périgord accesses germplasm from the public gene bank in France, though the farmer management of these materials is further sustained through informal structures independent from the public conservation programme. Moreover, most public PGR programmes that contribute to on-farm management are either experimental (e.g. the agrobiodiversity project in Nepal), or depend on specific funding (most other examples). They are
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunity Biodiversity Management
Subtitle of host publicationPromoting Resilience and the Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources
EditorsW.S. de Boef, A. Subedi, N. Peroni, M. Thijssen, E. O'Keeffe
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780203130599
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2013


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