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The efficient storage and germination of seeds underpin the effective use of plants for livelihoods and sustainable development. A total of 204 wild species useful for local communities of the Tehuacán–Cuicatlán Valley were collected and stored in seed banks in country for long term conservation, and 66 % (i.e., 134) duplicated in the U.K., as an effective means of ex situ conservation. Of the 204 species, 147 (122 of which also duplicated in the U.K.) were previously listed as useful plants in the ethnofloristic inventory of the Valley. Based on literature surveys, we found that one of the major impediments to the use of stored seeds of wild species is the lack of knowledge of how to germinate the seed. In detailed studies, we found that seeds of 18 useful plant species from 10 different families germinated readily and could be propagated. In contrast, four species (Actinocheita filicina, Bursera submoniliformis, Karwinskia mollis and Lippia graveolens) produced dormant seeds and therefore further studies are needed before their use can be maximised in large scale propagation programmes in support of conservation and livelihoods. Overall, this large-scale study on useful wild plant species in Mexico confirms that conventional seed banking can effectively support sustainable development and livelihood programmes.
Category: Conservation
Authors: Rodríguez-Arévalo, I., et al.
Journal/Series: Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution
Publication Year: 2017

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