Breeding for resilience: a strategy for organic and low-input farming systems?

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Breeding for resilience: a strategy for organic and low-input farming systems?

  • Breeding
  • Production Systems
  • Social Aspects
  • Genetics And Propagation
  • Research Methodology And Philosophy


Global change is increasingly affecting agricultural production and threatening food security. Organic and low-input farming systems are less demanding in fossil energy and might thus contribute to moderating global carbon missions. Moreover, under increased uncertainty and variability in environmental conditions, these systems offer solutions for buffering against climatic extremes, disease epidemics, changing nutrient availability, and other stresses that will add to already heterogeneous environmental conditions. 2010 has been designated the Biodiversity Target year by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Yet, it is clear that biological diversity in agroecosystems, measured as the number and abundance of species as well as genetic diversity within cultivated plants, is still decreasing, largely due to the negative impacts of intensive industrial agriculture. Overall, ecosystem services delivered by biodiversity such as plant disease control, soil fertility and pollination are jeopardized by its decline. These threats present an opportunity for the organic sector to develop original and innovative strategies for biodiversity preservation and increased resilience in the field. The second EUCARPIA meeting of the Section Organic plant breeding and low-input agriculture organised in Paris, France, from the 1st to the 3rd of December 2010, by INRA – UMR Génétique Végétale Le Moulon and ITAB, wishes to take inspiration from the ecological sciences to highlight the use of biodiversity in agriculture while taking advantage of the new tools coming from genomics. Therefore, the symposium will deal with breeding strategies for organic and low-input farming systems with a special emphasis on approaches that allow for more resilience in response to global change. Some 130 participants representing 20 countries will attend the symposium, including students, researchers and other professionals from universities, institutes, breeding companies, governemental institutions, Non Governemental Organizations and farmers. The programme features 30 oral and 37 poster presentations, covering the following areas: · Improving resilience of agro-ecosystems · Utilizing and conserving agrobiodiversity in agricultural landscape · Global change and adaptability · New insights into the mechanisms of adaptation to local conditions and organic farming · Breeding for diverse environments and products · Regional participatory plant breeding

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