Reasons and Processes Leading to the Erosion of Crop Genetic Diversity in Mountainous Regions of Georgia

Akhalkatsi, Maia and Ekhvaia, Jana and Mosulishvili, Marine and Nakhutsrishvili, George and Abdaladze, Otar and Batsatsashvili, Ketevan (2010) Reasons and Processes Leading to the Erosion of Crop Genetic Diversity in Mountainous Regions of Georgia. Mountain Research and Development, 30 (3). pp. 304-310. ISSN 0276-4741

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Agriculture has a long history in Georgia; it has led to a great variety of ancient crops. However, this diversity is under threat for many reasons. First, introduced crops have caused a loss of traditional cultivars, because the introduced crops are preferred due to their higher yield. Moreover, agricultural machines such as forage and grain combine harvesters imported to Georgia are constructed for widely distributed, imported crops and cannot be used to harvest local cultivars. Until recently, genetic erosion of ancient crop varieties was not a problem in the mountain areas of Georgia, which until the 1990s constituted a depository of local crop varieties of wheat, barley, rye, oat, common millet, traditional legumes, vegetables, herbs, and spice plants with specific varieties adapted to mountain conditions. These mountain areas worked as a depository because local mountain communities preserved their traditional ways of life and socioeconomic structures. Their traditional agricultural equipment, used on a large scale until the 1990s, still allows them to maintain areas under cultivation (with grain or other crops) on steep slopes and at high elevations where modern tractors cannot be used. Moreover, some old landraces of wheat and barley are still being used to prepare bread and beer for religious rituals. Currently, many endemic and native representatives of crop plants are in danger of extinction. International nature conservation institutions and Georgian scientific and nongovernmental organizations have developed plans to preserve the genetic resources of local cultivars.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > Conservation Biology
Q Science > Ecology
Q Science > QK Botany
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Divisions: Institutes > Institute of Ecology
Depositing User: Prof. Ketevan Batsatsashvili
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2015 09:38
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2015 09:38

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