Human Ecology

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 477–485 | Cite as

Farmer Seed Exchange and Crop Diversity in a Changing Agricultural Landscape in the Southern Highlands of Ethiopia

  • Leah H. SambergEmail author
  • Carol Shennan
  • Erika Zavaleta


The southern highlands of Ethiopia are home to some of the planet’s oldest agricultural systems, dating back 10,000 years (Brandt et al. 1997), and are considered a global center of crop diversity (Vavilov and Chester 1951). The highland landscape is made up of a patchwork of small, diverse subsistence farms, grasslands, and forests where the lines between ‘human’ and ‘natural’ are indistinct, and the actions of farmers are a driving force in the distribution of biodiversity. Crop diversity serves both to buffer the global food supply against environmental change and pest and disease outbreaks, and to maintain the sustainability of traditional small-scale agricultural systems (Gepts 2006). These diverse crops and varieties are created and maintained through seed exchange among farmers, and the scales and strengths of these pathways have enormous influence on agricultural biodiversity. In order to understand patterns of diversity, it is therefore useful to explore the...


Crop Diversity Barley Variety Government Extension Seed Exchange Extension Office 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leah H. Samberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carol Shennan
    • 1
  • Erika Zavaleta
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

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