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Development of a cost-effective diversity-maximising decision-support tool for in situ crop genetic resources conservation: The case of cacao

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  • Samuel, Aurelia F.
  • Drucker, Adam G.
  • Andersen, Sven B.
  • Simianer, Henner
  • van Zonneveld, Maarten
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    Abstract

    This paper undertakes an exploration of the potential application of the Weitzman prioritisation approach to the conservation of plant genetic resources (PGR). Using a case study approach and assuming limited conservation resources, this approach is applied to calculate the maximum diversity which can be conserved based on a clustering of cacao species (Theobroma cacao L.). A conservation budget allocation model applied across a set of ten clusters and nine subclusters of cacao, together with the use of alternative diversity and risk measures, allowed for an evaluation of a range of potential conservation outcomes. Alternative risk measures generally resulted in the allocation of conservation funds to the same priority clusters of cacao (Criollo and Curaray). However, the use of the number of locally common alleles as an alternative to the original Weitzman diversity measure produced a markedly different result, prioritising the Purús cluster in Western Amazonia. The Curaray cluster was highly prioritised under both diversity measures, indicating its distinctiveness relative to both the Criollo and Purús clusters. We conclude that the Weitzman approach can indeed allow diversity comparisons to be made between the outcomes of different PGR conservation strategies, although subjective decisions regarding the choice of diversity and risk measures remain.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 96 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 155-164

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:96:y:2013:i:c:p:155-164

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    Keywords: Plant genetic resources; Cost-effective prioritisation; Weitzman diversity; Locally common alleles; Risk measures; Climate change;

    References

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    1. Weitzman, M.L., 1991. "On Diversity," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1553, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Simianer, H. & Marti, S. B. & Gibson, J. & Hanotte, O. & Rege, J. E. O., 2003. "An approach to the optimal allocation of conservation funds to minimize loss of genetic diversity between livestock breeds," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 377-392, July.
    3. Andrew Metrick & Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "Conflicts and Choices in Biodiversity Preservation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 21-34, Summer.
    4. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "The Noah's Ark Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1279-1298, November.
    5. Weitzman, M.L., 1992. "Diversity Functions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1610, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    6. Zander, Kerstin K. & Drucker, Adam G. & Holm-Müller, Karin & Simianer, Henner, 2009. "Choosing the "cargo" for Noah's Ark - Applying Weitzman's approach to Borana cattle in East Africa," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2051-2057, May.
    7. Narloch, Ulf & Drucker, Adam G. & Pascual, Unai, 2011. "Payments for agrobiodiversity conservation services for sustained on-farm utilization of plant and animal genetic resources," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1837-1845, September.
    8. Weitzman, Martin L, 1993. "What to Preserve? An Application of Diversity Theory to Crane Conservation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 157-83, February.
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