Examples and applied use

The national inventory of Portuguese CWR was produced in a MS Access Database. Different types of information were collated for each taxon in the inventory (see Magos Brehm et al. 2008a), including threat status. Existing threat assessments were collated and, where sufficient and reliable information was available, novel Red List assessments were carried out for the taxa that had not previously been assessed (see Magos Brehm et al. 2008b, Magos Brehm 2009).

Given that a national Red List did not exist; a large-scale literature search was conducted to identify all relevant threat assessment information. Sources included: (i) publications from 1985 to 2004, where pre-1994 (e.g. Ramos Lopes and Carvalho 1990, Dray 1985, SNPRCN 1985) and 1994 IUCN Categories and Criteria (IUCN 1994) (e.g. Govaerts 1994) were used, (ii) assessments undertaken using the 2001 version of the IUCN Categories and Criteria (IUCN 2001) (e.g. Aguiar et al. 2001a,b; Mitchell 2004), (iii) other assessments that used the threat assessment vulnerability index by Maxted et al. (2004) (e.g. Magos Brehm 2004), and (iv) information on species endangered by overexploitation (e.g. Ramos Lopes and Carvalho 1991). Threat assessment information was then used, together with other criteria, to establish conservation priorities among the Portuguese CWR (see Magos Brehm et al. 2010). When multiple assessments for the same taxon were collated, prioritization was based on the most recent.

Priority CWR were selected in China based on three main criteria: (i) socio-economic value of the related crop, (ii) threat status, (iii) value of CWR in crop improvement programmes.

(i) Socio-economic value of the related crop. FAO crop production statistics (FAO 2014) were used to obtain annual production values of human food crops cultivated in China over the ten year period 2002‒2011. Human food crops with an average annual production value of >US$500 million over this period with native CWR in China were selected from the CWR China checklist. Additionally, the global values of human food crops in terms of average annual energy supply per capita over the ten year period 2000‒2009 were calculated from FAO food supply statistics (FAO 2014) for the major sub-regions of the world to highlight the crops of particular global value for food security. Wild relatives of these crops that were not already included in the list based on national economic importance were added to the priority list of taxa.

(ii) Threat status. Threatened and Near Threatened taxa in the list obtained in (i) as well as those endemic to China were identified using the China Red List of Biodiversity – Higher Plants Volume (MEP and CAS 2013).

(iii) Value of CWR in crop improvement programs. Taxa that are likely to have greater use value for crop improvement were identified by consulting data on the degree of relationship between the crop species and the wild relatives in the crop gene pool and/or the known use of the CWR in breeding programs (Vincent et al. 2013).

The final priority CWR list comprised the wild relatives identified by each of the three criteria above.

Source: Kell et al. (2015)

CWR conservation priorities were established under the Biodiversity Conservation Prioritization Project of WWF-India which aimed to research existing knowledge on the status of CWR in India and to identify in situ conservation priorities.

CWR were defined as any taxa within a genus that contained a taxon reported to be under cultivation. Information regarding their distributional range, consumptive usage etc. were collated.

A first prioritization shortlisted those taxa that (i) were morphologically and genetically closest to their related crops, (ii) have a limited distributional range, (iii) are rare and/or endemic, (iv) are threatened due to overexploitation, (v) are taxa of high socio-economic significance and (vi) are lacking adequate information.
Final priorities were assigned to taxa that met at least one of the following criteria:

  • Endemic to a particular region.
  • Distribution restricted to one to two biogeographic zones.
  • Critically Endangered due to overexploitation or habitat destruction.
  • Contributed genes of resistances to modern cultivars and facing threats due to anthropogenic factors.
  • Potential source of useful traits.
  • High socio-economic significance (e.g. used for medicinal purposes, as substitutes for food crops during stress periods like drought and famine and in religious ceremonies etc.).

Over 100 species related to 27 crops (e.g. rice, maize, millets etc.) were prioritized.

Source: Rana et al. (2000)

The South Africa food and fodder CWR checklist was prioritized based on five main criteria: (i) socio-economic value of the related crop, (ii) potential for use of the wild relative in crop improvement, (iii) threat status, (iv) distribution status and (v) occurrence status.

  • Socio-economic value of the related crop. Socio-economic value was considered at regional (SADC region), continental (Africa) and global scales allowing wild relatives of a range of food crops to be considered. The 10‒year average production value (in million US$) (2003‒2012), with countries averaged, for the SADC region was obtained from FAOSTAT and provided by the Crop and Crop Genus Lists for National CWR Checklists and Checklist Prioritization spreadsheet (Kell, unpublished). In addition, the importance of human food crops or crop groups as an energy source in Africa was assessed as those with an average annual contribution of dietary energy (kilocalories) per capita per day of ≥1.5% over the period 2000–2009 (extracted from Kell et al. 2015). Finally, crops of particular global value for food security were identified on the basis that they provide ≥3% of plant derived dietary energy supply in one or more sub-regions of the world.
  • Potential for use of the wild relative in crop improvement. The gene pool concept and the taxon group concept were used as an indication of their relatedness to the crop, hence their potential utilization value in crop improvement. In addition, confirmed used in crop improvement were also considered. Both the Harlan and de Wet inventory and GRIN Taxonomy for Plants were used to obtain such information. Where a taxon has potential for breeding for more than one crop, the score for the gene pool level for each crop was allocated and then the scores were totaled. This meant that a higher priority was assigned to such taxa than taxa that only have breeding potential for a single crop.
  • Threat status. The Red List of South African Plants (Raimondo et al. 2009) was consulted in order to obtain the threat status of all CWR in the checklist.
  • Distribution status. Each taxon in the CWR checklist was categorized into either South Africa endemic or no endemic.
  • Occurrence status. Each taxon in the CWR checklist was categorized into either indigenous to South Africa or naturalized, i.e. alien species that form populations that maintain a reproductive population for at least 10 years without direct intervention by people1.

Each taxon in the food and fodder CWR checklist for South Africa was scored for each criterion using the scoring system presented in the Table below. The scores were then summed for each taxon; the scores ranged from 1 to 26. Those taxa that scored ≥11 were included in the priority list. In addition, all GP1b, and GP2 taxa that did not score ≥11 were further added to the priority list because these are indigenous taxa that have been studied and found to have potential for gene transfer to crops and so they are important in the context of crop improvement. Finally, those taxa in GP3 that have either conrfirmed or potential uses in crop improvement have been also added to the priority list. The final priority list of CWR included a total of 258 taxa (234 species, from 32 genera and 15 families).

Source: Hamer et al. (2016)

Lupinus angustifolius L. (blue lupin), one of the priority CWR in Spain. It occurs wild in Spain so its wild populations belong to the primary gene pool of their cultivated counterparts. It is also a gene pool secondary wild relative of the cultivated yellow lupin (L. luteus L.) (photo: Rubén Milla).

A comprehensive list of genera containing food crops included in Annex 1 of the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO 2001) and the Spanish Annual Agriculture Statistics (MAGRAMA 2010) was combined with crop genera included in the Annual Report of the Community Plant Variety Office in Europe (2010), the list of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) (2010) and other bibliographic references. The list was then discussed with agrobiodiversity experts and revised. Given the large number of taxa from 202 genera, priority genera were established based on the most important crops for Spain and world food security using the following criteria: genera listed in Annex 1 of the ITPGRFA or Spanish Annual Agricultural Statistics AND with at least one species native to Spain AND with registered crop varieties in Spain. Additional genera were also prioritized due to their national socio-economic importance. Fifty genera were then prioritized and subsequently classified into four categories (33 food crop genera, 10 fodder and forage crop genera, 5 ornamental crop genera and 6 genera containing crops with other uses) and all the species within each genus were obtained using Flora Iberica (Castroviejo et al. 1986‒2011), the Anthos project, and the list of Wild Animal and Plant Species of the Canary Islands (Acebes Ginovés et al. 2010).

The CWR of the 33 food crop genera were further prioritized using the following criteria:

  • Taxon belonging to Gene Pools 1B and 2, or classified into Taxon Groups 1B, 2 or 3, or
  • Threatened (or Near Threatened according to IUCN Red List Categories), or
  • Endemic to Spain.

The prioritization exercise finally resulted in a list of 149 food-related CWR.

Source: Rubio Teso et al. (2012)

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.