On-Farm Conservation of Agrobiodiversity in Israel Challenges and Case Study: Restoring Ancient Wheat

Abstract

Landrace seed is the living embodiment of a plant population's evolutionary and adaptive history, an ark of traits born across generations into our hands. It is the expression of species interaction of the plant in its environment and the human culture that shapes it. The land of Israel, in the southern arch of the Fertile Crescent, is a center of biodiversity for important world grain, fruit and vegetables that include: almonds, artichoke, arugula, barley, beet/chard, celery, chickpea, date, emmer, fig, flax, lentil, lettuce, melon, mustard, olive, pea, radish, and wheat. Our landraces have evolved over millennia of natural and farmer selection to be well adapted to local conditions and carry wide genetic diversity. However, recently genetic management has shifted to the hands of industry breeders - but with hidden costs.

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