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Rather than the usual focus on rare or endangered plants and ex situ efforts in conserving plant biodiversity, Iriondo (biodiversity and conservation, U. Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain) and the co-editors are devoted to the conservation of the genetic diversity of crop wild relatives in their natural environments. After presenting the increasingly urgent rationale for such conservation efforts, contributors to seven chapters address international/national initiatives including integrating efforts to maintain plant diversity with protected area management, issues in reserve location and design, monitoring technologies, and habitat recovery techniques. The volume includes highlighted case studies, and color plates of plants, interaction with local peoples for successful wild relative crop conservation, monitoring activities, a gene bank, and native plant nursery. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Crop wild relatives are the natural genetic progenitors of plant species that humans cultivate and consume every day. This massive and thorough textbook covers many of the scientific efforts used to conserve and utilize these species, including in situ management, genetic and hybrid research and the prevention of natural and man-made factors that can limit or destroy crops. Specific case examples are presented from around the world, showing how agricultural science has progressed in this area, and how pollution and population growth have set this progress back. The text is dense and aimed at those already proficient at agri-science, but a more comprehensive study of crop wild relatives would be hard to imagine. Three of the six editors are affiliated with the school of biosciences, U. of Birmingham, UK; two are with Bioversity International, Rome, Italy; and one is with the U. Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain. Contributors of the 49 chapters are from many countries, and the final two chapters discuss global conservation issues.
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