In situ and ex situ conservation gap analyses of crop wild relatives from Malawi

Nolipher Khaki Mponya, Tembo Chanyenga, Joana Magos Brehm, Nigel Maxted

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The study analysed the conservation gaps of the priority crop wild relatives (CWR) taxa for Malawi in order to contribute to the development of a harmonized conservation strategy that helps secure the priority CWR under in situ and ex situ. We used taxa distribution modelling, complementarity analysis and ecogeographic land characterization map to analyse spatial diversity and distribution of 123 priority taxa across different adaptive scenarios. We identified areas of observed and predicted richness, the minimum number of protected areas (PAs) that conserve the broadest ecogeographic diversity in situ and the minimum number of grid cells that capture highest diversity outside PAs to recommend the establishment of genetic reserves. We then analysed the representativeness of the conserved ecogeographic diversity of target taxa in ex situ collections to identify ex situ conservation gaps and advise for priority areas for ex situ collections. For the 123 taxa, 70.7% of the total diversity occurs in 36 PAs with 66.8% of the diversity captured in only 10 complementary PAs. Outside PAs, the broadest diversity was conserved in three grid cells of size 5 × 5 km. Fifty-three of 123 taxa have ex situ collections with only three taxa having ex situ collections at the Malawi Plant Genetic Resources Centre. The findings of this study will guide formulation of conservation actions for the priority taxa as well as lobbying for active conservation of the same under in situ and ex situ.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGenetic Resources and Crop Evolution
Early online date27 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Sept 2020


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