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Coping with insularity: the need for crop genetic improvement to strengthen adaptation to climatic change and food security in the Pacific

Lebot V.. 2013. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 15 (6) : p. 1405-1423.

DOI: 10.1007/s10668-013-9445-1

The capability of Pacific Island countries' agriculture to adapt to climatic and environmental changes is analysed. After presenting key features of the region's food cropping systems, findings of genetic diversity studies for the most important food crops are reviewed and their implications for adaptation are discussed. Biophysical and economic vulnerabilities of the food system are identified. For the major food crops, the needs for genetic improvement are detailed, and practical solutions for broadening genetic bases are suggested. The paper concludes by identifying areas for additional research on crops and agro-ecosystems adaptation aiming at increasing the flexibility of agriculture in the Pacific. In this region, plant breeding has to cope with the insularity constraints of the small island states. The new varieties need to satisfy farmers' agronomic requirements in very diverse environments. However, because of genotype-by-environment interactions (G × E), it is difficult to identify a variety that would be accepted by most farmers on different islands. A new type of breeding programme with a pragmatic approach is therefore necessary. The geographical distribution of allelic diversity appears as a practical and cost-efficient solution. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : changement climatique; Île; sécurité alimentaire; sélection; génétique; variété; adaptation; caractère agronomique; agroécosystème; plante alimentaire; araceae; variation génétique; petite exploitation agricole; amélioration des plantes; colocasia esculenta; musa; ipomoea batatas; dioscorea; facteur du milieu; facteur climatique; distribution géographique; intéraction génotype environnement; adaptation aux changements climatiques; océanie; Îles du pacifique (territoire sous tutelle); système agroalimentaire

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