Prioritising in situ conservation of crop resources: A case study of African cowpea (Vigna unguiculata)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • The Australian National University
  • Nature Conservancy

Abstract

Conserving crop wild relatives (CWR) is critical for maintaining food security. However, CWR-focused conservation plans are lacking, and are often based on the entire genus, even though only a few taxa are useful for crop improvement. We used taxonomic and geographic prioritisation to identify the best locations for in situ conservation of the most important (priority) CWR, using African cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) as a case study. Cowpea is an important crop for subsistence farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, yet its CWR are under-collected, under-conserved and under-utilised in breeding. We identified the most efficient sites to focus in situ cowpea CWR conservation and assessed whether priority CWR would be adequately represented in a genus-based conservation plan. We also investigated whether priority cowpea CWR are likely to be found in existing conservation areas and in areas important for mammal conservation. The genus-based method captured most priority CWR, and the distributions of many priority CWR overlapped with established conservation reserves and targets. These results suggest that priority cowpea CWR can be conserved by building on conservation initiatives established for other species.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number5247
JournalScientific Reports
Volume4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas