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The Toolkit

National systematic CWR conservation planning


This process involves planning systematic in situ and ex situ conservation of CWR diversity at the national level. The implementation of which results in the systematic representation of the nation’s CWR diversity in an in situ network of genetic reserves (within existing protected areas or by establishing novel conservation areas) with back-up ex situ collections of genetically representative population samples in national genebanks (i.e. seeds, tissue, DNA, living plants). The conservation recommendations that result from this national CWR conservation planning process can, and should, feed into the National Strategic Action Plan for the conservation and utilization of CWR.



Generation of a CWR checklist


A CWR checklist is a list of all CWR taxa found in a defined geographic unit (region, country etc.), comprising a list of taxon names and authorities.

Prioritizing the CWR checklist


Establishing priorities for CWR conservation is an obvious and essential step in the development of the NSAP. It involves reducing the number of CWR in the checklist to a more manageable and realistic number for active conservation.

Compilation of the CWR inventory


An inventory of CWR is a list of CWR taxa present in a defined geographic unit (region, country etc) with ancillary information, such as: the applied Gene Pool or Taxon Group concepts, biology, ecogeography, populations, uses, threats and conservation. An inventory is usually created after prioritization of the CWR checklist, for the priority taxa only.

Diversity analyses: distribution and ecogeographic analyses of priority CWR


This is the process of collating ecogeographic and occurrence data for the priority CWR, followed by the analysis of these data to understand the patterns of diversity within and among priority CWR taxa (hotspot analysis, ecogeographic diversity etc.). The results obtained from these analyses then help in formulating, establishing and implementing conservation priorities.

Diversity analyses: genetic data analysis of priority CWR


Genetic diversity studies are important (a) to understand the richness and evenness of diversity across the geographic breadth of the species, (b) to obtain genetic baseline information against which future genetic data can be compared to detect changes in diversity and to identify genetic erosion, (c) to establish population priorities for conservation within each taxon, and (d) to identify traits of interest for crop improvement.

Novel threat assessment of priority CWR


Threat assessment is a process used to evaluate the risk of extinction of a particular taxon. When there is no existing threat assessment information for priority CWR (e.g. national red lists, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), a novel threat assessment can be undertaken in parallel to conservation planning as the information collated for the diversity analyses can be also used to undertake these assessments. Threat assessements can then be used to further prioritize/enhance CWR conservation.

Gap analysis of priority CWR


A gap analysis of priority CWR is a conservation evaluation technique that identifies ‘gaps’ in the conservation of these taxa. In practice, gap analysis involves a comparison between the range of natural diversity found in the wild, and the range of diversity already effectively represented by current in situ conservation actions (in situ gap analysis) and all accessions of the target CWR represented in genebank collections (ex situ gap analysis). Gap analysis can be undertaken at both species and infra-specific level (e.g. ecogeographic diversity).

Climate change analysis


Climate change analysis allows (a) the identification of the CWR that are most affected by climate change, (b) the prediction of the impact of climate change on taxon distribution, and (c) the development of recommendations for the in situ and ex situ conservation of CWR.

Establishment and implementation of in situ conservation priorities


A NSAP for the conservation of CWR aims, in part, to recommend a national network of in situ conservation sites where long-term active conservation (in order to safeguard their genetic diversity) and sustainable use of CWR are implemented as a contribution to national, regional and global food security. Once appropriate sites for active in situ conservation have been identified, the establishment of the network of sites can begin. These sites may be established (a) within existing protected areas, (b) as new conservation areas specific for CWR conservation, or (c) as informal CWR management sites.

Establishment and implementation of ex situ conservation priorities


Periodic sampling of CWR populations for ex situ conservation should provide, whenever possible, a back-up of populations actively conserved in situ. Diversity conserved ex situ primarily facilitates the access to these materials for crop improvement and research.

Monitoring CWR diversity


Monitoring of plant populations ensures the systematic collection of data over time to detect changes, to determine the direction of those changes and to measure their magnitude. The monitoring of CWR populations, and the habitats in which they occur, aims (a) to provide data for modelling populations trends, (b) to enable assessment of trends in population size and structure, (c) to provide information on trends in population genetic diversity, and (d) to determine the outcomes of management actions on populations and to guide management decisions.

Promoting the use of conserved CWR diversity


CWR are defined by their potential utilization as gene donors for crop improvement. Conservation of CWR is thus explicitly linked to utilization. This link forms the basis of enduring human food security, highlighting that the promotion of the sustainable use of conserved CWR diversity is as relevant as its effective conservation.

A note on CWR data management in conservation planning


CWR conservation planning (along with the development of National Strategic Action Plans for the conservation and utilization of CWR) involves significant data collation, analysis and management.

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