The conservation of crop genetic resources is one of the important elements in efforts to sustainably increase agricultural production in low-income countries, and to guarantee long-term food security, especially for the low-income population groups in these countries. Horticultural crops, as high-value crops, have an important role to play in revitalizing rural economies and can add significantly to national economies. Moreover, horticulture provides more than twice the number of jobs compared to traditional cereal crop production, and the shifting of conventional agriculture towards high-value horticulture has increased employment opportunities in developing countries.
To exploit this potential, researchers need a vast array of horticultural genetic resources and information on new traits. Horticultural crops, which are only a part of PGRFA (Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture), are characterized by a wide and varied range of species. In fact, there are five major horticultural crop groups: fruit and nut crops, vegetables, food legumes, roots and tubers, and lastly the ornamental and medicinal group.
In this context, the present book provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of conservation and utilization of horticultural genetic resources, addressing contemporary approaches to conservation in connection with different technologies, including biotechnological approaches as practised in India and in some cases, globally. It includes a brief chapter on the unique nature of horticultural genetic resources, providing a rationale for viewing them as being distinct from field crop genetic resources. Subsequent chapters share insights on protocols for the conservation of selected horticultural crops ex situ, and focus on the increased need to complement these efforts with in situ conservation approaches. Geospatial tools are also briefly described, emphasizing their utility with regard to mapping and managing resources.
The book also explores the wild gene pool in horticulture crops; discusses legal aspects related to horticultural genetic resources and biotechnological aspects; and describes the key aspects of sustainable management and replenishment. Given its scope, the book offers a valuable resource for all horticulturists, graduate students, researchers, policymakers, conservationists, and NGOs engaged in horticulture in particular and biodiversity in general.