Community seed network in an era of climate change

Fenzi, M., Rogé, P., Cruz-Estrada, A. et al. Community seed network in an era of climate change: dynamics of maize diversity in Yucatán, Mexico. Agric Hum Values (2021).

Abstract: Local seed systems remain the fundamental source of seeds for many crops in developing countries. Climate resilience for small holder farmers continues to depend largely on locally available seeds of traditional crop varieties. High rainfall events can have as significant an impact on crop production as increased temperatures and drought. This article analyzes the dynamics of maize diversity over 3 years in a farming community of Yucatán state, Mexico, where elevated levels of precipitation forced farmers in 2012 to reduce maize diversity in their plots. We study how farmers maintained their agroecosystem resilience through seed networks, examining the drivers influencing maize diversity and seed provisioning in the year preceding and following the 2012 climatic disturbance (2011–2013). We found that, under these challenging circumstances, farmers focused their efforts on their most reliable landraces, disregarding hybrids. We show that farmers were able to recover and restore the diversity usually cultivated in the community in the year following the critical climate event. The maize dynamic assessed in this study demonstrates the importance of community level conservation of crop diversity. Understanding farmer management strategies of agrobiodiversity, especially during a challenging climatic period, is necessary to promote a more tailored response to climate change in traditional farming systems.

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