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Seed Exchange as an Agrobiodiversity Conservation Mechanism. A Case Study in Vall Fosca, Catalan Pyrenees, Iberian Peninsula

Laura Calvet-Mir, Institut de CiŤncia i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona
Maria Calvet-Mir, Institut de CiŤncia i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona
Josť Luis Molina, Departament díAntropologia Social i Cultural, Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona
Victoria Reyes-GarcŪa, ICREA and Institut de CiŤncia i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-04682-170129

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Abstract

Interest in landraces conservation has grown in the last decades with research on the topic focusing on in situ conservation of agrobiodiversity in the tropics. Researchers agree that home gardens play a key role in the maintenance of in situ agrobiodiversity, but few studies have analyzed how farmers actually maintain agrobiodiversity in home gardens and what mechanisms they use to avoid genetic erosion. We evaluate the functioning of a network of seed exchange and explore its contribution to agrobiodiversity conservation. We focus on the exchange of seeds and seedlings among 55 home garden keepers who grow a total of 62 home gardens in Vall Fosca (Catalan Pyrenees). Fieldwork included visits to gardens and surveys to register the frequency and management of local landraces. We also asked about the farmersí network of seed exchange. We identified 20 local landraces belonging to 17 species. People who were mentioned more often in the network of seed exchange (highest indegree) and who had a higher level of intermediation among other people in their personal network (highest egobetweenness) conserved more local landraces and had more local landrace knowledge than people who were less central in the network. Our findings suggest that local landrace conservation is strongly associated with individual position in the network of seed exchange.

Key words

Catalonia; home gardens; in situ conservation; local landraces; social network analysis; Spain; traditional ecological knowledge
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087