In February 2011, the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia accessed data from Australia’s Virtual Herbarium (AVH) for use within the ‘Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting and Preparing Crop Wild Relatives’ project, which is led by the Global Crop Diversity Trust in partnership with the Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. More information on the project can be found here.

Between 2011 and 2013, CIAT and project partners have been collating, processing and using occurrence data from numerous sources around the world to model the distributions of the wild relatives of major crops and to identify gaps in their conservation, using methods based upon those described here. A full list of the data providers is presented here.

The researchers gathered and processed 5 million occurrence records, including over 100,000 herbarium records from AVH, and are nearing completion of ‘gap analysis’ work for the 29 crop genepools. Gap analyses for the wild relatives of an additional 60 important crops will be completed in 2013; the results of the analyses will be made freely available on the project website. The interactive map for displaying the gap analysis results will be launched mid-year.

In addition to the results, the full data set will also be made available for use by other researchers under the Creative Commons License (Non-commercial, Share-alike, 3.0 Unported).

As a service to the data providers of the project, the researchers returned occurrence data to the original providers, with feedback on suspected errors in taxonomic and geographical data. AVH data custodians have started checking through this data, and will update their records where additional data was provided or genuine errors were detected.

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