Collecting Plant Genetic Diversity
The case for conserving biodiversity is well established on economic as well as scientific grounds. Biodiversity is essential for sustainable development, adaptation to a changing environment and the continued functioning of the biosphere - indeed, to human survival itself. Plant breeders are dependent upon the availability of a large pool of diverse genetic material represented by local races and wild relatives, since in themselves modern crop varieties provide too restricted a genepool for further breeding.
Without the ability to draw from a diverse genetic reservoir, further improvement may not be possible. It is therefore essential that guidance is available on collecting plant germplasm. In recent years it has become evident that there is no single publication that provides the prospective collector of plant germplasm with generic as well as specific, and theoretical as well as practical, information. It was to fill this gap that the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), together with FAO, IUCN and UNEP, cooperated to produce this book. The volume is a comprehensive reference work and is aimed at both new and experienced collectors as well as those with a general interest in plant genetics, breeding and biodiversity.