Setting conservation priorities for Argentina's pseudocereal crop wild relatives

Although the considerable value of crop wild relatives (CWRs) as gene donors is well known, in many crop complexes they are subject to increasing threats from anthropogenic factors. The development of a prioritized inventory of CWR species is an essential step towards the conservation of this vital resource, so in this study, we developed a national inventory of pseudocereal CWR species in Argentina and established ex situ and in situ conservation priorities. The resulting prioritized inventory consisted of 16 species, almost all of which were underrepresented in national and global ex situ gene banks. Similarly, the extant reserve network was found to be insufficient for the preservation of pseudocereal CWRs, especially Chenopodium diversity. Three hotspot groups were identified in the Andean region: northern, central and southern. The northern group has the highest conservation priority because it harbours CWR species from the primary and secondary gene pools, but the central and southern groups are also important because they harbour endemic species that are poorly represented in the extant reserve network. Therefore, new priority areas for protection are necessary for their conservation. This study emphasizes that the conservation of pseudocereal CWRs in Argentina must be maximized using a complementary in situ and ex situ approach.
Category: Conservation
Authors: Curti, R.N., et al.
Journal/Series: Biological Conservation
Publication Year: 2017

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