DYNAVERSITY analyses and describes the actors involved in plant genetic conservation for agriculture in order to suggest management and governance models and to construct new forms of networking. It facilitates exchange and integration of scientific as well as practical knowledge on how to best manage diversity in agriculture and in the entire food chain, restoring evolutionary and adaptation processes.
About agrobiodiversity conservation
The progressive shift of farmers from local varieties to genetically uniform high-yielding varieties is a global trend, coming from the last century.
It has been raising concerns about the implying loss of genetic diversity, a phenomenon named as “genetic erosion”. This loss of diversity is worrying because reduces the chances of plants to adapt to changing, to climate changes for example.
“Any genetic material of plant origin that has present or potential value for food and agriculture”, referred to as PGRFA (Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture) has therefore been included in international agreements aimed at conserving and sustainably using natural and agricultural biodiversity.
Two conservation strategy have been defined: ex situ and in situ. The first implies the preservation of species outside their natural habitat, such as genebanks, where seeds or other plant material are stored, or botanical gardens and greenhouses. In situ conservation is performed in the sites where plants developed their distinctives properties. It has, among others, the major advantage of capturing the evolutionary adaptation of plants exposed to changing environmental and management conditions.
In situ conservation involves wild species genetically close to cultivated ones, referred to as Crop Wild Relatives (CRW), which have proved to be more problematic to be stored in genebanks. CWR are important as reserves of useful traits (e.g. resistance to various stresses) which can naturally or artificially pass to genetically related crops.
In the past 20 years, in situ conservation of CWR has been an almost exclusive working field for universities and scientists developing methodologies for the creation of genetic reserve areas.
These strategies have however been poorly considered or applied by public authorities as such. Natural parks have rarely been involved in this discussion about in situ conservation even though many parks are working on CWR and landraces conservation.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES ARE
1 Generating a knowledge base on the characteristics of in situ genetic resources, good practices on conservation and management issues;
2 Mapping actors and stakeholders and through case study analysis identifying better practices;
3 Promoting new sustainable links and partnerships between European conservation stakeholders – crosscutting academic-civic-political-private actors – by training and mutual learning programs aiming at diminishing the divide between in situ and ex situ conservation efforts;
4 Integrating Natural Parks activities and policies within the on farm and in garden conservation realm of action;
5 Raising public awareness on the importance of genetic resources, also involving Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) – through science cafes, citizen science, Let’s Liberate Diversity meetings, demonstration sites, seed exchange networking, photo exhibitions, video animations, concept cards and agrobiodiversity corner in specialised magazines;
6 Promoting an enabling institutional framework for new dynamic seed systems and strategies for innovative, participatory and integrated governance in the PGRFA communities, aiming at an increased use of genetic resources from in situ sources in breeding activities and in the food chain.
vai al sito http://dynaversity.eu/