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Climate change and national crop wild relative conservation planning

Abstract

Climate change is likely to be one of the most important factors affecting our future food security. To mitigate negative impacts, we will require our crops to be more genetically diverse. Such diversity is available in crop wild relatives (CWRs), the wild taxa relatively closely related to crops and from which diverse traits can be transferred to the crop. Conservation of such genetic resources resides within the nation where they are found; therefore, national-level conservation recommendations are fundamental to global food security. We investigate the potential impact of climate change on CWR richness in Norway. The consequences of a 1.5 and 3.0 °C temperature rise were studied for the years 2030, 2050, 2070, 2080 and then compared to the present climate. The results indicate a pattern of shifting CWR richness from the south to the north, with increases in taxa turnover and in the numbers of threatened taxa. Recommendations for in situ and ex situ conservation actions over the short and long term for the priority CWRs in Norway are presented. The methods and recommendations developed here can be applied within other nations and at regional and global levels to improve the effectiveness of conservation actions and help ensure global food security.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Shelagh Kell, Caroline Pollock and Jamie Carr for their advice and guidance on using the IUCN criteria for climate change assessments. We would also like to thank Hannah Fielder for advice on the interpretation of some aspects of the data. Funding was provided by Landbruks- og matdepartementet.

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Correspondence to Jade Phillips.

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Phillips, J., Magos Brehm, J., van Oort, B. et al. Climate change and national crop wild relative conservation planning. Ambio 46, 630–643 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-0905-y

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Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Ex situ conservation
  • Food security
  • Genetic diversity
  • In situ conservation
  • Plant genetic resources