Agronomy for Sustainable Development

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 151–175

Seed exchange networks for agrobiodiversity conservation. A review

Authors

    • Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE)UMR 5175 CNRS
  • Guntra Aistara
    • Department of Environmental Sciences and PolicyCentral European University
  • Adeline Barnaud
    • UMR DIADE, Equipe DYNADIV, IRD Montpellier
  • Sophie Caillon
    • Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE)UMR 5175 CNRS
  • Pascal Clouvel
    • UPR Systèmes des cultures annuellesCIRAD
  • Oliver T. Coomes
    • Department of GeographyMcGill University
  • Marc Delêtre
    • Laboratoire d’Eco-Anthropologie et EthnobiologieUMR 7206 CNRS, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)
  • Elise Demeulenaere
    • Laboratoire d’Eco-Anthropologie et EthnobiologieUMR 7206 CNRS, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)
  • Paola De Santis
    • Agricultural Biodiversity and EcosystemsBioversity International
  • Thomas Döring
    • The Organic Research Centre
  • Ludivine Eloy
    • UMR 5281 Art-DevCNRS
  • Laure Emperaire
    • Département HNSUMR 208 IRD-MNHN « Patrimoines locaux » (Paloc)
  • Eric Garine
    • Laboratoire d’Ethnologie et de Sociologie Comparative, CNRSUniversité Paris Ouest-Nanterre, MAE
  • Isabelle Goldringer
    • UMR de Génétique VégétaleINRA-CNRS-Univ. Paris-Sud-AgroParisTech
  • Devra Jarvis
    • Agricultural Biodiversity and EcosystemsBioversity International
  • Hélène I. Joly
    • CIRAD-Bios/UMR 5175CEFE
  • Christian Leclerc
    • UMR AGAP, CIRAD
  • Selim Louafi
    • UMR AGAP, CIRAD
  • Pierre Martin
    • UPR Systèmes des cultures annuellesCIRAD
  • François Massol
    • Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE)UMR 5175 CNRS
    • CEMAGREF—UR HYAX
  • Shawn McGuire
    • School of International DevelopmentUniversity of East Anglia
  • Doyle McKey
    • Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE)UMR 5175 CNRS
  • Christine Padoch
    • CIFOR, Jalan CIFOR, Situ Gede, Bogor Barat 16115Indonesia and Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Clélia Soler
    • CIRAD-Bios/UMR 5175CEFE
  • Mathieu Thomas
    • UMR de Génétique VégétaleINRA-CNRS-Univ. Paris-Sud-AgroParisTech
  • Sara Tramontini
    • Dipartimento Colture Arboree, Plant PhysiologyUniversity of Turin, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy and European Food Safety Authority
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s13593-012-0089-6

Cite this article as:
Pautasso, M., Aistara, G., Barnaud, A. et al. Agron. Sustain. Dev. (2013) 33: 151. doi:10.1007/s13593-012-0089-6

Abstract

The circulation of seed among farmers is central to agrobiodiversity conservation and dynamics. Agrobiodiversity, the diversity of agricultural systems from genes to varieties and crop species, from farming methods to landscape composition, is part of humanity’s cultural heritage. Whereas agrobiodiversity conservation has received much attention from researchers and policy makers over the last decades, the methods available to study the role of seed exchange networks in preserving crop biodiversity have only recently begun to be considered. In this overview, we present key concepts, methods, and challenges to better understand seed exchange networks so as to improve the chances that traditional crop varieties (landraces) will be preserved and used sustainably around the world. The available literature suggests that there is insufficient knowledge about the social, cultural, and methodological dimensions of environmental change, including how seed exchange networks will cope with changes in climates, socio-economic factors, and family structures that have supported seed exchange systems to date. Methods available to study the role of seed exchange networks in the preservation and adaptation of crop specific and genetic diversity range from meta-analysis to modelling, from participatory approaches to the development of bio-indicators, from genetic to biogeographical studies, from anthropological and ethnographic research to the use of network theory. We advocate a diversity of approaches, so as to foster the creation of robust and policy-relevant knowledge. Open challenges in the study of the role of seed exchange networks in biodiversity conservation include the development of methods to (i) enhance farmers’ participation to decision-making in agro-ecosystems, (ii) integrate ex situ and in situ approaches, (iii) achieve interdisciplinary research collaboration between social and natural scientists, and (iv) use network analysis as a conceptual framework to bridge boundaries among researchers, farmers and policy makers, as well as other stakeholders.

Keywords

BiodiversityComplex networksGlobal changeLandscape geneticsMethods in ecology and evolutionParticipatory approachesReviewScenariosSeedsSimulation models

Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag, France 2012