Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 53, Issue 7, pp 1333–1350 | Cite as

A Suitable Site for in situ (On-farm) Management of Plant Diversity in Traditional Agroecosystems of Western Himalaya in Uttaranchal State: A Case Study

  • I. S. Bisht
  • K. S. Rao
  • D. C. Bhandari
  • Sunil Nautiyal
  • R. K. Maikhuri
  • B. S. Dhillon


There is a growing realisation world over that the introduction of modern agriculture has to be supplemented with measures to conserve biodiversity in situ if yield gains are to be stabilized. Hence, there is a growing interest from agricultural development specialists and conservation biologists for understanding the socioeconomic factors determining the conservation of biodiversity in situ. The present study was conducted with the objective of understanding the in situ (on-farm) conservation of agrobiodiversity in traditional agroecosystems taking the Urgam valley in north-western Himalaya of India, as a case study. An inventory was made of traditional crops and wild economic species for subsistence, and the structure of forest resource base, traditional knowledge related to resource management and use. Institutional and scientific challenges for in situ (on-farm) management of crop diversity were studied and are discussed in this paper. Complementarity of in situ (on-farm) conservation with ex situ conservation together with crop improvement in such marginal areas are suggested.

Key words

In situ (on-farm) conservation Landraces Traditional knowledge Plant genetic diversity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Almekinders C., Boef W. de and Engels J. (2000). Synthesis between crop conservation and development. In: Almekinders, C. and Boef, W. de (eds) Encouraging Diversity The Conservation and Development of Plant Genetic Resources, pp 330–338. Intermediate Technology Publication, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Almekinders C.J.M. and Elings A. (2001). Collaboration of farmers and breeders: participatory crop improvement in perspective. Euphytica 122: 425–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Altieri M., Anderson K. and Merrick L.C. (1987). Peasanat agriculture and the conservation of crop and wild resources. Conserv. Biol. 1: 49–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson E.F. (1986). Ethnobotany of hill tribes of northern Thailand. I. Medicinal plants of Akhe. Econ. Bot. 40: 38–53Google Scholar
  5. Arora R.K. (1991). Plant diversity in the Indian gene centre. In: Paroda, R.S. and Arora, R.K. (eds) Plant Genetic Resources – Conservation and Management, pp 25–54. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Regional Office for South Asia and South East Asia, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  6. Ashish M. (1993). Decentralized management of natural resources in the UP hills. Econ. Polit. Weekly 27: 1793–1796Google Scholar
  7. Ashish S.M. (1979). Agriculture economy of Kumaon Hills: threat to ecological disaster. Econ. Polit. Weekly 15: 1058–1064Google Scholar
  8. Berthaud J., Clement J.C., Emperaire L., Louettee D., Pinton F., Sanou J. and Second G. (2001). The role of local-level geneflow in enhancing and maintaining genetic diversity. In: Cooper, H.D., Spillane, C., and Hodgkin, T. (eds) Broadening the Genetic Base of Crop Production, pp 81–103. IPGRI/FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  9. Begossi A. (1996). Use of ecological methods in ethnobotany: diversity indices. Econ. Bot. 50: 280–289Google Scholar
  10. Bellon M.R. (1991). The ethnoecology of maize variety management: a case study from Mexico. Hum. Ecol. 19: 389–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bellon M.R. (1996). The dynamics of crop intraspecific diversity: a conceptual framework at the farmer level. Econ. Bot. 50: 29–36Google Scholar
  12. Bellon M.R., Pham J.L. and Jackson M.T. (1997). Genetic conservation: a role for farmers. In: Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyd, B.V., and Hawkes, J.G. (eds) Plant Genetic Conservation: The In Situ Approach, pp 263–289. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Berge T.A., Bjoonstad Fowler C. and Scropa T. (1991). Technology Options and the Gene Struggle. NORAGRIC Occasional Paper Series C. Norwegian centre for International Agricultural Development, OsloGoogle Scholar
  14. Boster J.S. (1985). Econ. Bot. 39: 310–325Google Scholar
  15. Brush S.B. (1991). A farmer based-approach to conserving crop germplasm. Econ. Bot. 45: 153–165Google Scholar
  16. Brush S.B. (1995). Crop Sci. 35: 346–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brush S.B. (1999). Genes in the Field: On-farm Conservation of Crop Diversity. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida, USAGoogle Scholar
  18. Brush S.B. and Meng E. (1998). Farmers’ valuation and conservation of crop genetic resources. Genet. Resour. Crop Evol. 45: 139–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cooper H.D., Spillane C. and Hodgkin T. (2001). Broadening the genetic base of crops: an overview. In: Cooper, H.D., Spillane, C., and Hodgkin, T. (eds) Broadening the Genetic Base of Crop Production, pp 1–23. IPGRI/FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  20. Dobriyal R.M.G.S., Singh K.S. and Saxena K.G. (1997). Medicinal plants resources in Chhakinal watershed: Traditional knowledgeeconomy and conservation. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants 5: 15–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Eyzaguirre P. and Iwanaga M. (1996). Farmers’ contribution to maintaining genetic diversity in crops and its role within total genetic resources systems. In: Eyzaguirre, P. and Iwanaga, M. (eds) Participatory Plant Breeding, pp 9–18. IPGRI, RomeGoogle Scholar
  22. Harlan J. (1992). Crops and Man. 2nd ed. American Society of Agronomy, Madison,WI, 284Google Scholar
  23. Hrabovzsky J. and Miyan K. (1987). Population growth and land use in Himalaya. Mount. Res. Dev. 7: 264–270Google Scholar
  24. Iltis H.H. (1974). Freezing the genetic landscape. Maize Genet. Coop. News Lett. 48: 199–200Google Scholar
  25. Iwanaga M. (1995). IPGRI strategy for in situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity. In: Engels, J.M.M. (eds) 13–26. IPGRI/DSE, RomeGoogle Scholar
  26. Jarvis D. and Hodgkin T. (1998). Strengthening the scientific basis of in situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity on-farm. Options for data collection and analysis. IPGRI, RomeGoogle Scholar
  27. Jarvis D.I., Myer L., Klemick H., Guarino L., Smale L., Brown A.H.D., sadiki M., Sthapit B. and Hodgkin T. (2000a). A Training Guide for In situ Conservation On-farm. Version 1. International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, RomeItalyGoogle Scholar
  28. Jarvis D., Staphit B. and Sears L. (2000b). Conserving agricultural biodiversity in situ: a scientific basis for sustainable agriculture. IPGRI, RomeGoogle Scholar
  29. Kershaw K.A. (1973). Quantitative and Dynamic Plant Ecology. Edward Arnold Ltd, London, 308Google Scholar
  30. Long J., Cromwell E. and Gold K. (2000). On-farm Management of Crop Diversity: An Introductory Bibliography. Overseas Development Institute for ITDG, London, 42Google Scholar
  31. Louette D. 1994. Gestion traditionnelle de variétés de mais dans la réserve de la biosphére Sierra de Manantlan et conservation in-situ des resources génétiques de plantes cultivèes. TheseEcole Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier.Google Scholar
  32. Louette D. and Smale M. (1996). Genetic diversity and maize seed management in a traditional Mexican community: Implications for in situ conservation in maize. CIMMYT, MexicoGoogle Scholar
  33. Maxted N., Ford-Lloyd B.V. and Hawkes J.G. (1997a). Complementary conservation strategies. In: Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyd, B.V., and Hawkes, J.G. (eds) Plant Genetic Conservation: The In Situ Approach, pp 15–40. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Maxted N., Hawkes J.G., Ford-Lloyd B.V. and Williams J.T. (1997b). A practical model for in situ genetic conservation. In: Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyd, B.V., and Hawkes, J.G. (eds) Plant Genetic Conservation: The In Situ Approach, pp 339–367. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  35. Maxted N., Guarino L., Myer L. and Chiwona E.A. (2002). Towards a methodology for on-farm conservation of plant genetic resources. Genet. Res. Crop Evol. 49: 31–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maikhuri R.K., Nautiyal S., Rao K.S. and Saxena K.G. (1998). Role of medicinal plants in traditional health care system: A case study from Nanda Devi Biosphere ReserveHimalaya. Curr. Sci. 75: 152–157Google Scholar
  37. Maikhuri R.K., Rao K.S. and Saxena K.G. (1996). Traditional crop diversity for sustainable development of Central Himalayan agroecosystems. Int. J. Sust. World Ecol. 3: 8–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Maikhuri R.K., Semwal R.L., Rao K.S., Saxena K.G. and Das A.K. (2001). Indigenous techniques of agricultural soil fertility maintenance in the central Himalaya. Ecol. Environ. Conserv. 7: 15–20Google Scholar
  39. McNeely J.A. (1988). Economic and biological diversity: developing and using economic incentives to conserve biological resources. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, GlandGoogle Scholar
  40. Mehta J.P., Tiwari S.C. and Bhandari B.S. (1997). Phytosociology of woody vegetation under different management regimes in Garhwal Himalaya. J. Trop. Forest Sci. 10: 24–34Google Scholar
  41. Naseem J. and Abdullah M. (1998). Hybrid and high yielding crop varieties in SAARC countries. SAARC Agriculture Information Centre (SAIC), BARL Campus, FarmgateDhaka 1215 Bangladesh, 95Google Scholar
  42. Nautiyal S., Rao K.S., Maikhuri R.K. and Negi K.S. (2000). Apne hi ghar main kho gai Mukhmar. Envis Bulletin, Himalayan Ecology and Development 8: 83–84Google Scholar
  43. Nautiyal S., Maikhuri R.K., Rao K.S. and Saxena K.G. (2002). Medicinal plant resources in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in the Central Himalaya. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants 84: 47–64Google Scholar
  44. Nautiyal S., Maikhuri R.K., Rao K.S., Semwal R.L. and Saxena K.G. (2002b). Agroecosystem function around a Himalayan Biosphere Reserve. J. Environ. Syst. 29: 71–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Negi C.S., Nautiyal S., Dasila L., Rao K.S. and Maikhuri R.K. (2003). Ethnomedicinal plant uses in a small tribal community of Central HimalayaIndia. J. Hum. Ecol. 14: 23–31Google Scholar
  46. Oldfield M.L. and Alcorn J.B. (1987). Conservation of traditional agroecosystems. Bioscience 37: 199–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Palni L.M.S., Maikhuri R.K. and Rao K.S. (1998). Conservation of the Himalayan Agroecosystems: Issues and priorities. In: (eds) Eco-regional Cooperation for Biodiversity Conservation in the Himalaya, pp 253–290. UNDP, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  48. Rao K.S. and Saxena K.G. (1994). Sustainable Development and Rehabilitation of Degraded Village Lands in Himalaya. Himavikas Publication No. 8. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun, xiv+287Google Scholar
  49. Rappaport R.A. (1972). Forests and man. Ecologist 6(7): 240–246Google Scholar
  50. Sattaur Omar. 1987. Trees for the People. New Scientist 10 September.Google Scholar
  51. Saxena A.K. and Singh J.S. (1982). A phytosociological analysis of woody species in forest communities of a part of Kumaun Himalaya. Vegetatio 50: 3–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Siebert S.F. and Belsky J.M. (1985). Forest product trade in a low land Filipino village. Econ. Bot. 39: 522–533Google Scholar
  53. Singh G.S., Rao K.S. and Saxena K.G. (1997). Energy and economic efficiency of the mountain farming system: a case study in the north-western Himalaya. J. Sust. Agri. 9: 25–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Singh J.S., Pandey U. and Tiwari A.K. (1984). Man and forest: A central Himalayan case study. Ambio 13: 74–80Google Scholar
  55. Singh R.D., Chandra S., Bhatnagar V.K., Bhatnagar P.R., Srivastava R.K. and Gupta H.S. (2001). Water management strategies of important hill crops. Vivekananda Prvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan (ICAR), Almora, 43Google Scholar
  56. Smale M. and Bellon M.R. (1999). A conceptual framework for valuing on-farm genetic resources. In: Wood, D. and Lenne, J. (eds) Agrobiodiversity: Characterisation, pp 387–408. Utilization and ManagementCAB International, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  57. Swarup R. (1993). Agricultural economy of Himalayan region with special to Garhwal Himalaya. Vol. II. Gyanodaya Prakashan, Nainital, India, 288Google Scholar
  58. Visser B. and Engels J. (2000). Synthesis: the common goal of conservation of genetic resources. In: Almekinders, C. and Boef, W. de (eds) Encouraging Diversity. The Conservation and Development of Plant Genetic Resources, pp 145–153. Intermediate Technology Publication, LondonGoogle Scholar
  59. Worede M. (1992). Ethiopia: a genebank working with farmers. In: Cooper, D., Vellve, R. and Hobbelink, H. (eds) Growing Diversity: Genetic Resources and Local Food Security, pp 78–94. Intermediate Technology Publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
  60. Worede M. (1993). The role of Ethiopian farmers on the conservation and utilization of crop genetic resources. Int. Crop Sci. Soc. Am. 1: 395–399Google Scholar
  61. Worede M. (1997). Ethiopian in situ conservation. In: Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyed, B.V. and Hawkes, J.G. (eds) Plant Genetic Conservation: The In situ Approach, pp 290–301. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  62. Worede M. and Hailu M. (1993). Linking genetic resources conservation to farmers in Ethiopia. In: de Boef, D. (eds) Cultivating Knowledge: Genetic Diversity Farmer Experimentation and Crop Research, pp 78–84. Intermediate Technology Publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
  63. Zeven A.C. and Zhukovsky P.M. (1975). Dictionary of Cultivated Plants and Their Centres of Diversity. Centre for Agric. Pub. and Document, Wageningen, 219Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. S. Bisht
    • 1
  • K. S. Rao
    • 2
    • 3
  • D. C. Bhandari
    • 1
  • Sunil Nautiyal
    • 2
  • R. K. Maikhuri
    • 4
  • B. S. Dhillon
    • 1
  1. 1.National Bureau of Plant Genetic ResourcesNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.G.B.Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and DevelopmentAlmoraIndia
  3. 3.CISMHE, University of DelhiDelhiIndia
  4. 4.G.B.Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and DevelopmentGarhwal UnitSrinagar (Garhwal)India

Personalised recommendations