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Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) were once widely considered to be global public goods. Recently, however, access to subsets of PGRFA has been subject to various forms of exclusive technological and legal restrictions. In reaction, numerous voluntary pooling initiatives - from local to global scales - are being experimented with, in an attempt to re-strike a balance more supportive of agricultural research and development. The first part of the paper argues that different subsets of PGRFA can now be accurately described as public goods, private goods, club goods and common pool resources, but that these categories do not fully interrogate important 'exogenous variables' concerning PGRFA. As the products of complex interactions between crops breeding systems and natural and human selection, PGRFA occupy a middle ground between natural resources and human-make cultural resources. The paper identifies which subsets of PGRFA are (or could be) included in an evolving global plant genetic resources commons. The paper uses Elinor Ostrom's eight design principles for long enduring commons to analyze the extent to which the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) supports or undermines this evolving global commons. The paper concludes by identifying options for policy reforms to provide better tailored institutional support for the plant genetic resources commons.

Shaver I.,University of Idaho | Shaver I.,Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center | Chain-Guadarrama A.,University of Idaho | Chain-Guadarrama A.,Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center | And 15 more authors.
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2015

Tropical ecosystem conversion to agriculture has caused widespread habitat loss and created fragmented landscapes composed of remnant forest patches embedded in a matrix of agricultural land uses. Non-traditional agricultural export (NTAE) crops such as pineapple are rapidly replacing multiuse landscapes characterized by a diverse matrix of pasture and smallholder crops with intensive, large-scale, monoculture plantations. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we conduct a case study to examine the coupled social and ecological implications of agricultural intensification in this region, with larger application to regions experiencing similar patterns of agricultural intensification. Guided by frameworks from both political and landscape ecology, we: (1) describe the social and economic implications of pineapple expansion, specifically the concentration of land, labor and financial resources, (2) quantify pineapple cultivation's spatial characteristics, and (3) assess the effects of pineapple expansion on surrounding forest ecosystems, on the agricultural matrix and on biodiversity conservation. Our results indicate that pineapple production concentrates land, labor, and financial resources, which has a homogenizing effect on the agricultural economy in the study region. This constrains farm-based livelihoods, with larger implications for food security and agricultural diversity. Landscape ecology analyses further reveal how pineapple production simplifies and homogenizes the agricultural matrix between forest patches, which is likely to have a negative effect on biodiversity. To offset the effects of pineapple expansion on social and environmental systems, we recommend developing landscape level land use planning capacity. Furthermore, agricultural and conservation policy reform is needed to promote landscape heterogeneity and economic diversity within the agricultural sector. Our interdisciplinary research provides a detailed examination of the social and ecological impacts of agricultural intensification in a tropical landscape, and offers recommendations for improvement relevant not only to our study region but to the many other tropical landscapes currently undergoing non-traditional agricultural export driven agricultural intensification. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Rossmann B.,University of Graz | Muller H.,University of Graz | Smalla K.,Julius Kuhn Institute | Mpiira S.,Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2012

Bananas are among the most widely consumed foods in the world. In Uganda, the country with the second largest banana production in the world, bananas are the most important staple food. The objective of this study was to analyze banana-associated microorganisms and to select efficient antagonists against fungal pathogens which are responsible for substantial yield losses. We studied the structure and function of microbial communities (endosphere, rhizosphere, and soil) obtained from three different traditional farms in Uganda by cultivation-independent (PCR-SSCP fingerprints of 16S rRNA/ITS genes, pyrosequencing of enterobacterial 16S rRNA gene fragments, quantitative PCR, fluorescence in situ hybridization coupled with confocal laser scanning microscopy, and PCR-based detection of broad-host-range plasmids and sulfonamide resistance genes) and cultivation-dependent methods. The results showed microhabitat-specific microbial communities that were significant across sites and treatments. Furthermore, all microhabitats contained a high number and broad spectrum of indigenous antagonists toward identified fungal pathogens. While bacterial antagonists were found to be enriched in banana plants, fungal antagonists were less abundant and mainly found in soil. The banana stem endosphere was the habitat with the highest bacterial counts (up to 109 gene copy numbers g-1). Here, enterics were found to be enhanced in abundance and diversity; they provided one-third of the bacteria and were identified by pyrosequencing with 14 genera, including not only potential human (Escherichia, Klebsiella, Salmonella, and Yersinia spp.) and plant (Pectobacterium spp.) pathogens but also disease-suppressive bacteria (Serratia spp.). The dominant role of enterics can be explained by the permanent nature and vegetative propagation of banana and the amendments of human, as well as animal, manure in these traditional cultivations. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.

Yang J.Y.,University of British Columbia | Scascitelli M.,University of British Columbia | Motilal L.A.,University of the West Indies | Sveinsson S.,University of British Columbia | And 6 more authors.
Tree Genetics and Genomes | Year: 2013

Trinidad and Tobago has a long history of producing high-quality cacao (Theobroma cacao L.). Cacao genotypes in Trinidad and Tobago are of a highly distinctive kind, the so-called "Trinitario" cultivar group, widely considered to be of elite quality. The origin of Trinitario cacao is unclear, although it is generally considered to be of hybrid origin. We used massive parallel sequencing to identify polymorphic plastidic single nucleotide polymorphisms (cpSNPs) and polymorphic plastidic simple sequence repeats (cpSSRs) in order to determine the origin of the Trinitario cultivar group by comparing patterns of polymorphism to a reference set of ten completely sequenced chloroplast genomes (nine T. cacao and one outgroup, T. grandiflorum (Willd. ex Spreng.) Schum). Only three cpSNP haplotypes were present in the Trinitario cultivars sampled, each highly distinctive and corresponding to reference genotypes for the Criollo (CRI), Upper Amazon Forastero (UAF) and Lower Amazon Forastero (LAF) varietal groups. These three cpSNP haplotypes likely represent the founding lineages of cacao to Trinidad and Tobago. The cpSSRs were more variable with eight haplotypes, but these clustered into three groups corresponding to the three cpSNP haplotypes. The most common haplotype found in farms of Trinidad and Tobago was LAF, followed by UAF and then CRI. We conclude that the Trinitario cultivar group is of complex hybrid origin and has derived from at least three original introduction events. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Sonwa D.J.,Center for International Forestry Research | Sonwa D.J.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Weise S.F.,Biodiversity International | Nkongmeneck B.A.,University of Yaounde I | And 2 more authors.
Agroforestry Systems | Year: 2016

The distribution and composition of the tree component inside cocoa agroforests plays an important role in the economic and ecological services offered by these plantations. The presence of these plant components appears to be influenced by several factors controlling the introduction and management of associated plants inside cocoa agroforests. To date, few studies have tried to evaluate the horizontal and vertical distribution of plants inside cocoa plantations in Cameroon. This study determines the structure of cocoa plantations in Southern Cameroon. Field data were collected in 60 cocoa plantations belonging to 12 villages located along a contiguous gradient of market access, population density and resource use intensity in the humid forest zone of southern Cameroon. This study area comprises (i) the sub-region of Yaoundé, (ii) the sub-region of Mbalmayo, and (iii) the sub-region of Ebolowa. Market access, population density and resource use intensity all decreased from the first to the third sub-region. For cocoa and associated plants, we quantified (1) the density (2) the individual number, the species composition and the group uses of plants (edible, timber, medicinal, etc…) distribution across strata, and (3) the basal area in the 60 cocoa plantations located in the three main sub-regions. Results are presented for each sub-region and the whole study area. The paper develops cocoa agroforest typologies and discusses possible implications of cocoa agroforest structure diversity in the achievement of economic and ecological services. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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