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Community -Supported Agriculture and Cultivated Biodiversity

This questionnaire is part of the Dynaversity project (Horizon 2020). Dynaversity analyses and describes the actors involved in plant genetic conservation and renewal of cultivated diversity for agriculture with a view to promoting management and governance models and to building new forms of networking. This questionnaire is sent to CSA networks all over Europe. It aims to map CSAs and producer-consumer partnerships leading in-situ conservation initiatives. It will help us identify best practices. These best practices will be further explored with in depth interviews. The actors and sites will be included in a selected set of case studies.


Key Concepts (definitions from Dynaversity project)


1 – About genetic diversity and its conservation :

Genetic conservation could be addressed by two different and complementary approaches. In situ strategy consists of maintaining viable population of species in the place where plants developed their distinctive properties. The ex situ approach involves conservation outside species habitats or sites of origin, for example as seeds or tissues in genebanks.

Genetic erosion :  Over the last century, a considerable amount of plant genetic diversity in agriculture has been lost as farmers worldwide have abandoned themany local varieties in favour of genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties. This loss affects crop potential to adapt to a changing environment.


2 – About the cultivated varieties

If “variety” is considered as a legal term, the variety is registered and strictly defined and tested (DUS, for agricultural important species also VCU) and grants rights to its breeder, whereas landrace lacks formal breeding and is defined by historical origin while being genetically more diverse.

An heirloom variety or landrace is an old or traditional population of cultivated plants that is maintained by small-scale seed companies, gardeners and farmers; it is locally adapted and associated with traditional farming systems. It has historical or regional origins and is usually bred true-to-type with variable levels of homogeneity, using natural processes that are very different from formal crop improvement; it is often an open-pollinated variety i.e. it pollinates naturally.

A new population variety or farmers’ new variety or peasant variety is bred by farmers within rural communities or within participatory plant breeding programmes. It has diverse genetic origins and homogenous characteristics that are specifically adapted to territories and enhances the local economy. It is bred using methods that respect natural processes and it is not subject to intellectual property rights. It is managed collectively and owned by farmers.


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There are 75 questions in this survey.