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Voluntary Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Crop Wild Relatives and Wild Food Plants

image of Voluntary Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Crop Wild Relatives and Wild Food Plants

Crop wild relatives are potential sources of traits for crop improvement, especially for developing varieties tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses. Wild food plants, on the other hand, constitute important components of the diets of many people. Both types of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture continue to evolve adaptive traits in their natural habitats. However, a combination of human activities and natural disasters is eroding this diversity, and could ultimately lead to extinctions. The reality of these threats requires greater attention to the conservation and sustainable use of these plant genetic resources. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, under the guidance of its Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, therefore prepared the Voluntary Guidelines for National Level Conservation of Crop Wild Relatives and Wild Food Plants (Guidelines). The Guidelines are intended primarily for use by governments to develop a national plan for the conservation and sustainable use of crop wild relatives and wild food plants.

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Planning crop wild relatives and wild food plant conservation

To determine how to conserve CWR and wild food plants effectively, it is necessary to know what CWR and wild food plants exist in the country, where they grow and what conservation measures should be adopted to protect them. A National CWR Plan should therefore be as specific as possible in targeting priority CWR and wild food plants species, populations and locations. This section provides a general guide for developing a CWR and wild food plant knowledge base in the country, focusing on inventorying, genetic and ecogeographical analyses, assessment of current threats, and recommendations for conservation measures.

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