Biodiv Sci ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (6): 750-757.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.08138

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Crop wild relatives and their conservation strategies in China

Yanbo Yu1, Qunliang Wang4, Shelagh Kell2, Nigel Maxted2, Brian V. Ford-Lloyd2, Wei Wei3,*(), Dingming Kang1,*(), Keping Ma3   

  1. 1 College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
    2 School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
    3 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    4 Agricultural Bureau of the Weishan County of Shandong Province, Weishan, Shandong 277600, China
  • Received:2013-06-13 Accepted:2013-09-01 Online:2013-11-20 Published:2013-12-02
  • Contact: Wei Wei,Kang Dingming


Crop wild relatives (CWR) are important components of plant genetic resources that are characterized by unique biological traits, including those with great potential and specific value in coping with climate change and ensuring food security. In general, there are more than 24,000 CWR species that can be found in China, many of which are likely to contain valuable characters for crop improvement. There are many ex situ collections of plant genetic resources including some CWR in China, but that does not replace the role and function of in situ conservation, which conserves the diversity of population in nature so that ongoing evolutionary processes of selection and adaptation to their natural habitats are maintained. One hundred and sixty-nine in situ protected areas have been established so far in China, however, there is an urgent need for China to develop a national CWR strategy which identifies prior species for conservation at national and regional levels and the steps needed to secure those species using complementary (in situ and ex situ) conservation approaches. The steps taken so far in China for CWR conservation are discussed and possible conservation strategies are proposed in this paper, which serves as a crucial reference for developing conservation policy for China’s CWR.

Key words: crop wild relative, in situ conservation, genetic resource, conservation strategy, climate change