School of Geography - Theses

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    A comparative study of in situ agrobiodiversity conservation in Switzerland, Turkey and Nepal
    Bardsley, Douglas ( 2002)
    Biodiversity conservation and agricultural production systems are increasingly overlapping in their management methods and goals. Conservation recognises that for effective outcomes local people must become partners in the development and application of conservation plans. Agriculture is responding to concerns associated with the erosion of ecological and social conditions by striving to apply ecologically sustainable practices while maintaining productivity and profitability. In situ agrobiodiversity conservation has the potential to unite these goals by fostering the effective evaluation of diversity within agricultural systems. The viability of different in situ conservation approaches for crop landraces is assessed within marginal agricultural systems in Switzerland, Turkey and Nepal. Switzerland provides an example of the abundance of opportunity that exists within a nation with the capacity and public will to apply ideas for in situ conservation through government, market, research and community channels. Turkey remains predominantly interested in enclosure approaches to in situ conservation, although extensive de facto conservation is undertaken in rural communities. Nepal has initiated a program to develop methods for adding value to local agrobiodiversity through participatory plant breeding, awareness raising and the development of market links, but is currently reliant upon de facto conservation by marginalised farmers. The globalisation of agriculture is generating the demand for appropriate responses to the unequal liabilities of socio-ecological risk. In situ agrobiodiversity conservation can play a vital role in alleviating risks, in part by effectively complementing current dominant forms of biodiversity conservation and agricultural development. The unification resulting from a neoclassical approach to globalisation creates the requirement for a corresponding human ecology development paradigm, based on the retention of local diversity. In situ agrobiodiversity conservation could focus this approach in the rural margins by increasing the value of local agrobiodiversity and directing compensation to farmers for their conservation activities. In this manner, in situ agrobiodiversity conservation methods, which act to value rather than erode diversity, present nations with a conceptual model for sustainable development.