Wild plant and animal genetic resources

V.J. Ingram, B. Vinceti, N. van Vliet

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

4 Citations (Scopus)


Wild resources from ecosystems around the globe have been used for millennia to meet people’s basic needs for food, fuel, medicines, tools and materials, and for spiritual and cultural uses. Today, many species are still used for subsistence and as a basis for trade. This chapter provides an introduction to the range of species gathered from forests, shrub and grasslands, fresh water and oceans, and their uses. Two particularities distinguishing wild genetic resources from cultivated ones are discussed: Many wild species are governed as public goods or common property, raising questions about if and how they are managed, and by whom, and how access to, and benefits from, these resources is arranged. How these resources (and the ecosystems which provide them) are governed affects their sustainability. Sustainability also depends on factors such as (a) the abundance of the species from which a product originates; (b) direct anthropogenic factors such as forest degradation, as well as semi-natural ones such as climate change threats; (c) inherent species vulnerability which depends on the part(s) of the organism used; and (d) a species’ tolerance to harvesting. The chapter illustrates how knowledge of these aspects helps our understanding of why and when wild species have been domesticated and also, when resources are sourced only from the wild, the conservation issues which are likely to arise.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Agricultural Biodiversity
EditorsD. Hunter, L. Guarino, C. Spillane, P.C. McKeown
ISBN (Electronic)9781315797359
ISBN (Print)9780415746922
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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