Examples and applied use

A flora checklist was successfully compiled for Angola from exclusively free web-based resources. These included online checklists (World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Kew), nomenclatural databases (International Plant Names Index), general taxon/specimen databases (African Plants Initiative, Missouri Botanical Garden TROPICOS, GBIF) and online herbaria databases such as that of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The project involved a one-year full time researcher and 30 collaborators, who provided expertise on specific plant families. It resulted in two products: a hard copy of the checklist of the Angolan plants, with additional information on collectors, synonyms and literature references, and a website (Flora of Angola Online) containing the information included in the hard copy.

Source: Figueiredo and Smith (2008) and Smith and Figueiredo (2010)

The Denmark inventory of CWR was generated from the Nordic Gene Bank Taxon database by combining all previous data associated with CWR collections in Denmark. These species were then assessed for:

  • Presence or previous cultivation in Denmark.
  • Presence or previous breeding activities in the country.
  • Future breeding and cultivation potential.
  • CWR status.
  • Exploitation as a wild species.
  • Exploitation as a spice or medicinal plant.

A list of 450 CWR taxa resulted from this compilation and, of these, 100 CWR taxa were selected as priority CWR taxa for active conservation.

Source: Hulden et al. (1998), Asdal et al. (2006) and Poulsen (2009)

The creation of the CWR Catalogue for Europe and the Mediterranean is a successful example of how digitized matching can be undertaken. A list of crop genera was generated from Mansfeld’s World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops (Hanelt and IPK 2001, available here), the ‘Enumeration of cultivated forest plant species’ for forest species (Schultze-Motel 1966), the Community Plant Variety Office list of plant varieties for ornamental plants and the Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Resources of the World (MAPROW) (U. Schippmann, pers. comm. 2004). This list of crop genera was then matched against floristic data in Euro+Med PlantBase (version 2006), which is a database of the Euro-Mediterranean flora, including data on the status of occurrence of taxa in countries and/or sub-national units. Finally, the CWR Catalogue was generated by extracting the taxa within the genera in Euro+Med PlantBase that matched the crop genera.

Source: Kell et al. (2005, 2008)

When developing a national CWR checklist, a regional CWR checklist may be filtered to obtain a list of taxa for that specific country. The CWR Catalogue for Europe and the Mediterranean has been used to extract a list of CWR for Portugal and a number of other countries. See examples of the floristic approach to CWR conservation for more details.
Source: Kell et al. (2005) and Magos Brehm et al. (2008)

Examples of manual matching to generate a national CWR checklist are limited and none have thus far been formally published, but the grey literature yields two examples where this has been achieved for Bhutan (Tamang 2003) and the Seychelles (Antoine 2003). Both followed the same basic methodology:

  1. Use national agricultural statistics to produce a list of crops grown in the country.
  2. Generate a list of national crop generic names.
  3. Review national Flora to identify taxa found in same genus as the crop to create CWR checklist.
  4. Define the criteria for prioritizing the national CWR checklist, agreed in collaboration with national stakeholders. In Bhutan, the prioritization criteria selected were: national importance of crops (human food, animal food, industrial and ornamental), relative threat of genetic erosion, and taxa already included in national legislation. In the Seychelles the criteria were: national importance of crops (human food, animal food, industrial and ornamental), relative threat of genetic erosion, rarity, native status, existing priorities of the national conservation agency, potential for use of taxon in crop improvement, biological and cultural importance, and ethical and aesthetic considerations.
  5. Apply these criteria to the national CWR checklist to produce a priority list. In Bhutan this generated a priority target list of 230 CWR species and in the Seychelles a priority target list of 139 CWR species.
  6. Write Conservation Action Plans for each priority CWR species in collaboration with the lead organizations in the country responsible for its implementation; plans may include:
  • Assessment of current in situ/ex situ conservation activities for the priority CWR.
  • Current monitoring activities.
  • Assessment of current threats to priority taxa.
  • Assessment of current and potential exploitation of priority taxa.
  • Gap analysis of priority taxa.
  • Immediate and future conservation priorities.
  • Research priorities.

Subsequently, in both cases the national CWR checklists, inventories and Conservation Action Plans have been used by the national conservation authorities to promote CWR conservation and use.

Source: Antoine (2004) and Tamang (2004)

Ipomoea robertsiana Rendle, wild relative of sweet potato, here pictured in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. (Photo: Percy Moila)

A food and fodder CWR checklist for South Africa was developed using the Crop and Crop Genus Lists for National CWR Checklists and Checklist Prioritization (Kell, unpublished) (which lists genera of crops cultivated worldwide), the Assessment of Activities on Underutilized Crops (Williams and Haq 2002), Appendix 4 of the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture 2010 (FAO 2005), and a draft, unpublished list of indigenous and alternative food crops in South Africa prepared by the the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). The crop genera from the first resource includes those from the Mansfeld’s World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops (Hanelt and IPK Gatersleben 2001, available here) and Annex 1 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) (FAO 2001). The combined list includes 6,020 crop genera not limited to food and fodder crops. Food and fodder crop genera were extracted and duplicate genera and wild harvested plants removed, which left a total of 420 genera. This food and fodder crop genus list was then matched to the South African National Plant Checklist (SANPC) (Germishuizen et al. 2006) and the Red List of South African Plants online database to extract their wild relatives that occur in South Africa. A total of 1609 native and introduced taxa (species, subspecies and varieties) within 145 genera were included in the food and fodder CWR checklist for South Africa which has a focus on major crops, but also includes wild relatives of less established but potentially important crops.

Source: Hamer et al. (2016)

Pennisetum polystachion (L.) Schult., a wild relative of pearl millet, here pictured in Zambia. (Photo: Graybill Munkombwe)

The Zambia partial CWR checklist was developed following various steps:

  • A list of crops that are cultivated in Zambia was compiled from: the Zambia Seed Technology Handbook developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF 1995), the database of Zambian National Plant Genetic Resources Centre and the Central Statistics Office (CSO)/Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), crop survey reports for the period from 2009‒2014. The list comprised a total of 107 crop taxa in 64 genera that are known to be cultivated in Zambia.
  • The initial list of 107 crops was then subjected to the national stakeholders representing key national institutions for endorsement. Key institutions that endorsed this list were: Biodiversity Community Network (BCN), Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT), Department of National Parks and Wildlife of the Ministry of Tourism and Arts (former Zambia Wildlife Authority, ZAWA), University of Zambia (UNZA), and the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI).
  • The 107 crops were then prioritized by these stakeholders at a national stakeholders’ meeting based on (by order of importance): (i) national socio-economic importance of the crops based on crop production and marketing statistics from the CSO/MAL Crop Survey Reports (2009‒2014) and their importance for food security and industrial use, (ii) knowledge of occurrence of CWR in the country, and (iii) the local cultural and use value of a particular crop including food and medicinal use values. Although some of the crops could not qualify based on the first criterion, they were included on the priority list because of their high cultural and use values in particular local communities and their potential to become of national socio-economic importance in future. The agreement on the priority crops was reached upon by consensus among the experts involved in the stakeholders’ meeting.
  • A list of 59 crops (from 29 genera) nationally cultivated (both native and introduced) resulted from the process described above which includes cereals, food legumes, vegetables, root and tuber, oil, fibre, pasture and forage, and green manure crops.
  • The taxonomic backbone for the development of the national checklist of CWR was A Checklist of Zambia Vascular Plants (Phiri 2005) which includes a total of 6305 taxa. This flora checklist was then digitized using an OCR type of software in order to be able to manipulate it and subsequently enable the matching of the digitized list with the crop genera.
  • The prioritized list of crop genera (29) was subsequently matched with the digitized version of the national flora checklist in Microsoft Excel, generating a total of 459 wild relatives.
  • The generated partial CWR checklist was finally validated by national stakeholders in a national stakeholders’ consultation meeting. National stakeholders included: Agriculture Consultative Forum; National Agricultural Information Services; Biodiversity Community Network, Community Technology Development Trust, Department of National Parks and Wildlife of the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, Department of Policy and Planning of the Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, Ministry of Lands, University of Zambia, WorldFish Centre and Zambia Agriculture Research Institute, representing policy-makers, researchers, breeders and advocacy. The Zambia partial CWR checklist is available here.

Sources: Muliokela (1995), Phiri (2005), Ng'uni et al. (2017)

The Interactive Toolkit for Crop Wild Relative Conservation Planning was developed within the framework of the SADC CWR project www.cropwildrelatives.org/sadc-cwr-project (2014-2016),
which was co-funded by the European Union and implemented through ACP-EU Co-operation Programme in Science and Technology (S&T II) by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.
Grant agreement no FED/2013/330-210.