Indicators for the on-farm assessment of crop cultivar and livestock breed diversity: a survey-based participatory approach

Luisa Last, Michaela Arndorfer, Katalin Balázs, Peter Dennis, Tetyana Dyman, Wendy Fjellstad, Jürgen K. Friedel, Felix Herzog, Philippe Jeanneret, Gisela Luscher, Gerardo Moreno, Norman Kwikiriza, Tiziano Gomiero, Maurizio Paoletti, Philippe Pointereau, Jean-Pierre Sarthou, Siyka Stoyanova, Sebastian Wolfrum, Roland Kölliker

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Agrobiodiversity plays a fundamental role in guaranteeing food security.
However, still little is known about the diversity within crop and livestock species: the genetic diversity. In this paper we present a set of indicators of crop accession and breed diversity for different farm types at farm-level, which may potentially supply a useful tool to assess and monitor farming system agrobiodiversity in a feasible and relatively affordable way. A generic questionnaire was developed to capture the information on crops and livestock in 12 European case study regions and in Uganda by 203 on-farm interviews.
Through a participatory approach, which involved a number of stakeholders, eight potential indicators were selected and tested. Five of them are recommended as potentially useful indicators for agrobiodiversity monitoring per farm: (1) crop-species richness (up to 16 crop species), (2) crop-cultivar diversity (up to 15 crop cultivars, 1–2 on average), (3) type of crop accessions (landraces accounted for 3 % of all crop cultivars in Europe, 31 % in Uganda), (4) livestock-species diversity (up to 5 livestock species), and (5) breed diversity (up to five cattle and eight sheep breeds, on average 1–2).We demonstrated that
the selected indicators are able to detect differences between farms, regions and dominant farm types. Given the present rate of agrobiodiversity loss and the dramatic effects that this may have on food production and food security, extensive monitoring is urgent. A consistent survey of crop cultivars and livestock breeds on-farm will detect losses and help to improve strategies for the management and conservation of on-farm genetic resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3051-3071
Number of pages21
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number12
Early online date25 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2014


  • agrobiodiversity
  • indicators
  • participatory
  • cultivars
  • breeds
  • landacres


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