Knowledge for better food systems

The role of crop wild relatives for food security

This book examines the impacts that climate change is expected to have on food security and also explores the contribution to food security that could come from wild relatives of food crops.

Publisher’s summary

This book critically examines the environmental hazards posed by global warming with regard to future food security, which will depend on a combination of stresses, both biotic and abiotic, imposed by climate change; variability of weather within a growing season; and the development of cultivars that are more sensitive to different ambient conditions. Furthermore, the ability to develop effective adaptive strategies which allow these cultivars to express their genetic potential under changing climate conditions will be essential. 

In turn, the book investigates those plant species which are very closely related to field crops and have the potential to contribute beneficial traits for crop improvement, e.g. resistance to a wide range of biotic and abiotic stresses, enriching the gene pool, and ultimately leading to enhanced plant yield, known as “Crop Wild Relatives” (CWRs). CWRs hold tremendous potential to sustain and enhance global food security, contributing to human well-being. Accordingly, their development, characterisation and conservation in crop breeding programs have assumed great practical importance.

 

Reference

Nair, K. P. (2019). Combating Global Warming: The Role of Crop Wild Relatives for Food Security. Springer International Publishing, Cham.

Read more here. See also the Foodsource building block What is food security?

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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