Co-conserving Indigenous and local knowledge systems with seeds

Elsevier, Trends in Plant Science, Volume 28, December 2023
Teixidor-Toneu I., Westengen O., Ulian T., McMillion A., Lorimer M., Grace O. et al.

Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) holders have deep ecological, horticultural, and practical knowledge of plants, but this knowledge is not routinely considered and supported along with seed collections conserved ex situ. In this opinion, conceived collaboratively by a team of botanists, ecologists, ethnobiologists, and practitioners in biodiversity and ILK systems conservation, we propose seven actions towards the co-conservation of seeds and associated knowledge to overcome obstacles and encourage ex situ conservation institutions to support knowledge holders in multiple ways. Success depends on simultaneous changes in conservation practices, new collaborative relationships, and shifts in policy to share and conserve biocultural diversity. Failure to act will witness the continued erosion of ILK and depreciation of ex situ plant collections.