Crop wild relatives
The wild relatives of our crops have contributed essential traits that support resilient and productive agricultural production.read more
Climate change is impacting agriculture with increasing temperatures, more variable precipitation, and new pest and disease pressures.read more
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.read more
Breeding adapted crops
Breeding crops that are productive in changing environments necessitates that wide diversity is conserved and accessible for research.read more
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.read more
Why crop wild relatives and climate change
Adapting agriculture to climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time. There is, quite simply, no more important step we can take to prepare for climate change than to ensure that the crops that feed humanity are able to thrive in the new climates that are developing all over the world. The need for new crop varieties that can be productive in the new climates of the future is increasingly widely recognized. But our ability to breed these new varieties should not be taken for granted, as it so often is. To breed new varieties, we need genetic diversity. The largest source of this raw material for crop improvement, and in particular the richest source of diversity for adaptive characteristics, are the wild relatives of our crops. It is a source that is to a great extent untapped. But not only do many crop wild relatives remain uncollected, and therefore unevaluated and unavailable to plant breeders and thus to farmers, many are also at risk of extinction. This website aims to be a resource for those interested in collecting, conserving and using crop wild relatives 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 to adapt agriculture in the face of climate change.
Our recent publication presents an inventory of taxa occurring in the United States, and suggests a prioritization of species in contribution toward a national strategy for the conservation of U.S. CWR.
“Gap analysis” results have been completed for nearly 500 CWR taxa related to 29 globally important crops, including maps displaying distributions, patterns of richness, and areas worldwide where CWR are particularly in need of collecting for conservation and in order to be made accessible for breeding efforts.
We are happy to announce the launch of the Crop Wild Relatives and Climate Change website (www.cwrdiversity.org). The site is dedicated to compiling and providing information on the taxonomy, distribution, conservation status and breeding potential of the wild relatives of major crops.