Descriptors for farmers' knowledge of plants

Bioversity International, Rome, Italy and The Christensen Fund, Palo Alto, California, USA.

This list of descriptors has been developed by Bioversity International to provide a standard format for the gathering, storage, retrieval and exchange of farmers’ knowledge of plants. The list aims to capture key characteristics, uses and values of cultivated and wild plants as described by farmers and other people in farming communities. Many of these descriptors are not included in conventional descriptor lists. Wild and weedy plants are also covered by this list since they often play a significant role in farming communities, being useful from a socio-economic and ecological standpoint.

The list is a first attempt to combine a documentation system traditionally used in controlled environments (genebanks, breeding institutes) with an approach that involves people and their knowledge ‘in the field’. We hope that this list, which is the result of many years of review of fieldwork by scientists and field practitioners, will become an important tool for integrating biology and traditional knowledge. Although the list is primarily targeted at the plant genetic resources community, to increase the range of knowledge recorded during plant collection, its widespread use by others, including communities and organizations, is encouraged. It is intended to be user-friendly and practical, whilst balancing inclusiveness and concision.


Any suggestions for improvement of this document will be highly appreciated by Bioversity and should be addressed to Adriana Alercia

14 p.
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