Crop Wild Relatives: Status, Conservation and Utilization in Nepal (2017)

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Nepal being the hotspot of biodiversity, over 500 wild relatives of cultivated agricultural crop except maize and potato exists in the country. This study is primarily based on the desk review in combination with qualitative survey such as key informant survey, individual interviews conducted during field collections. Nepal being primary and secondary sources of origin of different cultivated plants, thus has harbored numerous crops wild relatives (CWR) like rice, wheat, barley, buckwheat, citrus and other fruits and vegetables. Based on Vavilov’s center of origin, Nepal is the primary center of origin of 29 species of 11 genera under agronomical crops and 12 species of 6 genera under horticultural crops. Based on the classification of gene pool concept, 13 species of 10 genera of different wild related crops categorized under primary gene pool, are reported to be present in the country. About 40 species of 8 cereals, 55 species of 24 legumes, 73 species of 48 fruits, 68 species of 18 vegetables and 73 species of 24 aromatic/ spices have been reported to exist in Nepal. A significant portion of crop wild relatives has been lost since four decades. The CWR availability is in decreasing trend and 20-50% has been lost since a decade due to pressure of population growth, habit modification, urbanization, agriculture commercialization and climate change. However, the major two reasons for decreasing trend mentioned by the local people are due to lack of proper knowledge of its use value and lack of strong policy for conservation. Some of the wild genotypes have been identified and domesticated for economic value based on indigenous knowledge. Few wild fruits like Malus, Pyrus are used as rootstocks and few grain legumes; Avena, Lathyrus as fodder and feeds for livestock. The second Global Plan of Action (GPA) emphasizes the in-situ and ex-situ conservation of CWR for combating the extreme conditions of climate change. There are many wild relatives of cultivated food plants distributed all over the country but very scanty numbers of species are conserved in National Genebank. However, extensive collection and conservation work has been initiated in past two years along with the use of GIS tools for identification of analogue sites of different species. Ex-situ conservation in seed bank and field genebank has been the priority work for CWR in Genebank.
Year: 2017
Language: English
In: Conservation and Utilization of Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources in Nepal: Proceedings of 2nd National Workshop 22-23 May 2017, Dhulikhel, Nepal, 371-389 p.