Crop wild relatives Crop wild relatives

Crop wild relatives

  • January 16, 2012 7:46 am
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The wild relatives of our crops have contributed essential traits that support resilient and productive agricultural production.

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Climate change Climate change

Climate change

Climate change is impacting agriculture with increasing temperatures, more variable precipitation, and new pest and disease pressures.

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Biodiversity conservation Biodiversity conservation

Biodiversity conservation

The world’s plants are under pressure, and crop wild relatives are no exception. There is an urgent need to collect diversity and conserve it for the long-term.

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Breeding adapted crops Breeding adapted crops

Breeding adapted crops

Breeding crops that are productive in changing environments necessitates that wide diversity is conserved and accessible for research.

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Supporting food security Supporting food security

Supporting food security

Diversity provides the foundation for food security, underpinning today’s agriculture and providing the raw material needed for ensuring sustainable future production.

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Why crop wild relatives and climate change

Why crop wild relatives and climate change

Adapting agriculture to climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time, necessary to ensure that the crops that feed humanity are able to thrive in new climates with changing pest and disease pressures. New crop varieties that are productive under such changes are needed, and to breed these varieties, crop genetic diversity must be conserved and available to plant breeders. An enormously diverse and largely untapped source of this raw material for crop improvement is the wild relatives of our crops. Many crop wild relative species remain uncollected, and therefore unevaluated and unavailable to plant breeders and thus to farmers, and a number of these are at risk of extinction. This website aims to be a resource for those interested in collecting, conserving and using these invaluable resources in the context of adapting agriculture to climate change. We hope it will encourage others to join the race to safeguard and to use crop wild relatives.

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the sweetness of bitter melons

the sweetness of bitter melons

“really what I think we’ve got to do is go back to the wild. Go back to the origins to look for characteristics that we can use to improve our crops”

Pass the nuts please

Pass the nuts please

Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) is a creeping annual legume native to the semi-arid areas of Africa. Although it grows best in dry areas with sandy soils, the crop also produces yield in highland regions such as Zambia and Zimbabwe reflecting on its adaptability in a variety of regions. However, damp and humid regions make the [...]

Crop wild relatives – creating guides for seed collectors

Crop wild relatives – creating guides for seed collectors

There is a pressing need for agriculture to adapt to climate change, and learning more about wild relatives of crop plants could help us achieve this. Laura Jennings Collecting Guide Complier for the Crop Wild Relative (CWR) project describes how collecting guides produced by Kew help make seed-collecting fieldwork as productive as possible. If you [...]