An Interdisciplinary Monitoring Network of Diversity Hotspots for Long-Term in-situ Conservation of Potato Landraces
Severin Polreich1, Stef De Haan1, Henry Juarez1, Alejandra Arce Indacochea1, Franklin Plasencia1, Raul Ccanto2, Maria Mayer de Scurrah2, Domingo Begazo Oliviera3
1International Potato Center (CIP), Peru
Custodian farmers have been cultivating a highly diverse and nutritive potato landrace portfolio over centuries in a sustainable and balanced manner. The largest part of cultivated potato diversity is not available in genebanks and custodians form a critical part for the future conservation of PGRs. To date no strategies and methods have been promoted for long-term monitoring approaches that are suitable to assess the dynamics and evolutionary processes within crop genepools, which are important ecosystem services. In 2012 the International Potato Center (CIP) and partners have founded the initiative Chirapaq Ñan (Quechua = rainbow route), a network of diversity hotspots to monitor the world's largest potato genepool from Colombia to Chile. The initiative focuses on (i) improving the understanding of the dynamics of ongoing evolution and its role as an adaptive process to changing environments, to strengthen the future provision of ecosystem services derived from ongoing evolution, (ii) implement a communication strategy linking stakeholders at community, private and national level across hotspots to foster in situ management of PGR through custodian farmers, (iii) strengthening the engagement of the local youth in maintaining agrobiodiversity as heritage that consolidates the cultural identity of local communities for the future. The Initiative has thus far begun the monitoring effort in three selected hotspots in Peru and Bolivia and will expand by 2015 to four countries. As part of its baseline documentation the temporal-spatial management of potato fields and its relationship to risk mitigation, geographical setting and intraspecific diversity is investigated. Landrace diversity is characterised molecularly and morphologically following developed standard procedures for monitoring at gene, variety, species and landscape level. Potential interactions between extreme weather events -such as frost, hail, periods of heavy rainfall and drought- yield and diversity are explored at field level. Through yield sampling and potato diversity sampling methods which followed participatory field mapping, yield impacts for 312 native potato fields located between 3200 and 4200 meters above sea level were quantified by cultivar and weather stressor types. Results from the initial baseline documentation evidence high levels of contemporary diversity and a complex matrix of interactions at the biophysical and socio-ecological level.
Keywords: Agrobiodiversity, Andes, characterisation, conservation, in situ, landraces, monitoring, ongoing evolution, potato
Contact Address: Severin Polreich, International Potato Center/CIM, Global Program of Genetic Resources, Avenida La Molina,, Lima, Peru, e-mail: s.polreichcgiar.org