d Initial Steps toward a National Conservation Strategy for Crop Wild Relatives of the United States Colin Khoury1,2, Stephanie Greene3, Nora Patricia Castañeda Alvarez1,4 1Decision and Policy Analysis Program, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia email: firstname.lastname@example.org; 2C. T. de Wit Graduate School Production Ecology & Resource Conservation, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands; 3USDA ARS, Prosser, WA, USA; 4Bioversity International, Regional Ofﬁce for the Americas, Cali, Colombia Introduction Prioritizing genepools based on potential use value Next steps toward a national CWR conservation strategy The wild relatives of crops (CWR), as important genetic resources for crop Given limited resources, a national conservation strategy for CWR requires the We will utilize a “gap analysis” method aimed at identifying locations of genetic improvement, represent a dual challenge of requiring conservation as well as access prioritization of species based upon their potential use value, particularly in diversity in the US un- or under- secured in conservation systems12, in order to for use. In many regions these resources are threatened by habitat modiﬁcation, contributing to agriculture through crop breeding. This necessarily limits the term inform planning of germplasm collecting for ex situ conservation13, as well as to land use changes, and other factors, requiring their urgent collection and long-term ‘crop’ to those cultivated species with modern cultivar forms and active breeding identify key areas in order to make recommendations for in situ conservation. We availability for research and breeding from ex situ genebank collections, as well as programs. are gathering and geo-referencing species occurrence and conservation data from their adequate protection in situ in order to support an evolving genepool for the We compiled a list of the world’s major crops from FAOSTAT global production online resources, herbarium and genebank databases, and in collaboration with uses of the future. It is becoming increasingly feasible to formulate a large-scale and consumption data7; crops listed in Annex 1 of the International Treaty on Plant researchers. The results of the gap analyses will form the basis for a prioritization plan for the efﬁcient and effective conservation of CWR diversity due to Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture8; and the major and minor crops listed of taxa across genepools for collecting, and the identiﬁcation of the highest priority advancements in understanding the taxonomic relationships of CWR, in in Appendix 2 of the World Atlas of Biodiversity9 and in Prescott-Allen and Prescott- locations for the most efﬁcient and effective collecting as well as for the distribution modelling through Geographic Information Systems tools, and in Allen (1990)10. Crops on the collated list were then categorized by importance, establishment of protected areas for CWR (Figure 1). conservation science and technologies. CWR resources are often globally with the major crops given highest priority. The national inventory was then important, yet their management is dependent upon national policy and interests. Figure 1: wild Phaseolus and protected areas in the SW US reviewed in order to identify CWR taxa of high potential use value that were not We suggest that an effective national approach toward the conservation of CWR already included within the priority crop list, as well as for identiﬁcation of taxa of entails the systematic coverage of this diversity in a network of genetic reserves, signiﬁcant direct use value to food production or to the economy in the U.S. (e.g. with the range of genetic diversity found within these taxa safeguarded in sugar maple (Acer saccharum), wild rice (Zizania spp.), and pecan (Carya illinoinensis). genebanks. We present the work to date on planning for a national effort to These taxa were included in the prioritization as iconic valuable wild species conserve CWR and economically important wild taxa occurring in the United occurring in the US. Finally, any additional genera known to be included within the States. genepools of the crops on the priority lists were added (e.g. Aegilops for wheat, Tripsacum for maize). The resulting list of the world’s major crop genepools includes 255 crops/281 genera (108 crops/126 genera in Priority 1; 147 crops/155 genera in Priority 2). This list includes all the most important agricultural crops around the world by a number of measures, and covers all major crops listed in FAOSTAT for US production and food supply7. Priority taxa for a national CWR conservation strategy 2,012 taxa of 159 priority genera occur in the US- 904 taxa of 74 Priority 1 genera (Table 1), and 1,108 taxa of 85 Priority 2 genera. Important crops with rich native genepools include Allium (onion), Cucurbita (squash), Fragaria (strawberry), Cucurbita foetidissima Juglans hindsii Vitis rotundifolia Helianthus (sunﬂower), Ipomoea (sweet potato), Lactuca (lettuce), Phaseolus (bean), Prunus (cherry, almond, peach), Ribes (currant), Rubus (raspberry), Saccharum (sugar cane), Vaccinium (blueberry, cranberry), and Vitis (grape). Development of a national inventory of CWR and useful species To target conservation efforts for a national conservation strategy, we focused on We are compiling a national inventory of taxa representing CWR of the world’s Priority 1 genepools. This focus includes the richest genepools of native diversity crops, and wild species directly used for food, ﬁber, forage, medicinal, and other occurring in the US that have the potential to contribute to crop improvement, and purposes. With the aim of including as many species as possible with the potential also attempts to cover the major wild species directly utilized for food or to contribute to crop improvement, we deﬁned CWR following Maxted (2006)1, medicine. The Priority 1 list is currently under review by crop breeders and Collaborate with us! genetic resources experts. Table 1: Priority 1 Genera The gap analysis method is dependent upon the quality of data utilized. Important broadened to include species within the tertiary genepool. The national inventory species occurrence data are not easily available online, and ecogeographic datasets was compiled from data sources including the Germplasm Resources Information Acer Carya Elymus Leymus Prunus Trifolium beneﬁt signiﬁcantly from expert review. We would therefore like to ask for your Network (GRIN) World Economic Plants Database2, based on Wiersema and Leon Aegilops Agave Cinnamomum Cocos Ficus Foeniculum Linum Malus Psathyrostachys Pseudoroegneria Tripsacum Vaccinium collaboration in sharing with the project occurrence and conservation data on the (1999)3; completed volumes of the Flora of North America4; McGufﬁn (2000)5 (for Agropyron Colocasia Fragaria Manihot Psidium Vanilla priority genera. If you have expertise in the taxonomic and genetic relationships Allium Corylus Gossypium Medicago Pyrus Vernicia herbs and medicinal species); and the Native Seed Network Database6 (for Artocarpus Cucumis Helianthus Olea Ribes Vicia within the genepools, or in the distribution and/or conservation status of taxa, we restoration species). Both native and non-native taxa were included. USDA Asparagus Cucurbita Hordeum Papaver Rubus Vigna would appreciate your inputs for validating the results of the taxonomic work and National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) curators and crop experts then Avena Cynara Ilex Pennisetum Saccharum Vitis the gap analyses. Please contact us at email@example.com. Beta Daucus Illicium Persea Simmondsia Zizania contributed revisions. The national inventory currently contains over 3,000 taxa. Brassica Capsicum Dioscorea Diospyros Ipomoea Juglans Phaseolus Pinus Solanum Sorghum References 8FAO (2002) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Carica Diplotaxis Lactuca Piper Syzygium Agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Carthamus Echinacea Lathyrus Pistacia Thinopyrum 1Maxted N, Ford-Lloyd BV, Jury SL, Kell SP and Scholten MA (2006) Towards a Italy. deﬁnition of a crop wild relative. Biodiversity and Conservation 15(8): 2673–2685. 9Groombridge B and Jenkins MD (2002) World Atlas of Biodiversity. Prepared by Within these genepools, we will prioritize taxa by degree of relatedness to the 2USDA ARS National Genetic Resources Program, Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Available online at: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi- the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. crop (i.e. genepool concepts1,11). Those closely related taxa (GP1 and GP2), and bin/npgs/html/wep.pl. 3Wiersema 10Prescott-AllenR and Prescott-Allen C (1990) How Many Plants Feed the World?. Conservation Biology 4 (4): 365-374. J and Leon B (1999) World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. other taxa known to be utilized in crop breeding, will be subjected to a full gap Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press LLC. 11Harlan JR and de Wet JMJ (1971) Toward a Rational Classiﬁcation of 4Flora of North America Association (2008) Flora of North America. Available Cultivated Plants. Taxon 20 (4): 509. analysis for identiﬁcation of collecting priorities, and for in situ conservation online at: http://fna.huh.harvard.edu/. 12Maxted N, Dulloo E, Ford-Lloyd BV, Iriondo JM, and Jarvis A (2008) Gap analysis: a tool for complementary genetic conservation assessment. Diversity considerations. For the distantly related taxa, a superﬁcial gap analysis will identify 5McGufﬁn M and American Herbal Products Association (2000) Herbs of commerce. 2nd ed. [S.l.]: American Herbal Products Association. and Distributions 14 (6): 1018-1030. taxa not conserved ex situ by at least a few populations, and prioritize these for 6NativeSeed Network (2010) Native Seed Network Database. Available online at: www.nativeseednetwork.org. 13Ramírez-Villegas J, Khoury C, Jarvis A, Debouck DG and Guarino L (2010) A Gap Analysis Methodology for Collecting Crop Genepools: A Case Study with additional collecting. Any taxa identiﬁed as rare or threatened will be given 7FAO (2011) FAOSTAT Agricultural production domain. FAO, Rome, Italy. Phaseolus Beans. PLoS ONE 5(10), e13497. Available online at: http://faostat.fao.org/. CWR photos from www.plantsystematics.org Vaccinium oxycoccos Rubus hawaiensis particular attention in conservation recommendations.