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Generation of a CWR checklist

A CWR checklist is a list of CWR taxa found in a defined geographic unit (region, country etc.), comprising a list of taxon names and authorities. A national CWR checklist is a list of all CWR taxa present in a country1.  [1]

Imperata cylindrica (L.) P.Beauv., a tertiary gene pool wild relative of sugar cane, pictured here in South Africa. (Photo: SANBI)

We need to identify the CWR that exist, where they occur and their conservation status in order to conserve and use them effectively. CWR checklists provide policy-makers, conservation practitioners, plant breeders and other user groups with basic information about which CWR taxa occur in a particular geographic unit, and they are essentially the starting point for formulating strategies for in situ and ex situ CWR conservation. They also serve to highlight the breadth of CWR diversity available in the target area, which may include resources for CWR conservation and use that are important to other parts of the world.

There are numerous publications on inter- and intra-crop diversity, both at a global and national level, but the study and reporting of CWR diversity has been largely neglected. However, in recent years there has been a substantial increase in the number of CWR checklists. A few of these checklists comprise the entire national CWR diversity—using the floristic approach, e.g. Portugal (Magos Brehm et al. 2008) and the United Kingdom (Maxted et al. 2007)—but most of them are limited to single crop gene pools or small groups of species, or to certain regions within the countries. See examples here. The importance of creating a checklist of CWR at national instead of sub-national level or for selected crop gene pools should be emphasized; it provides the best foundation for developing a National Strategic Action Plan for the conservation and sustainable use of CWR.

1 Note that we deliberately distinguish between a checklist and an inventory. See here  [3] for more information on the definition of a CWR inventory.

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