Crop wild relatives (CWR) and wild harvested plant species (WHP) constitute an important element of a nation's plant genetic resources (PGR) available for utilisation. Although their natural populations are threatened like other wild species by habitat lost and fragmentation, little attention has generally been paid to their systematic conservation. The development of checklists and inventories is considered by the convention on biological diversity (CBD) and the global strategy for plant conservation (GSPC) as the first step in any national strategy for conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity. Methodological approaches to the development of a national inventory of wild PGR are discussed in the light of a case-study for the CWR and WHP growing in mainland Portugal. The resultant inventory comprises 2319 taxa, of which 97.5% are CWR, 21.4% are WHP and 19.0% are both CWR and WHP. Approximately 6.1% are endemic to mainland Portugal; 24.1% occur in 1 to 4 Portuguese administrative regions; 15.6% are threatened, but only 5.9% are covered by legislative protection. Taxonomic misalignments and the dispersed nature of biological literature were the major impediments to the production of the national inventory, but once the inventory was established it has proven to be a powerful tool in conservation management.
- plant genetic resources
- management tool