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Farmers' BountyLocating Crop Diversity in the Contemporary World$
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Stephen B. Brush

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100495

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100495.001.0001

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A Naturalist's View of Crop Diversity

A Naturalist's View of Crop Diversity

(p.19) 2 A Naturalist's View of Crop Diversity
Farmers' Bounty

Stephen B. Brush

Yale University Press

This chapter describes some of the ways in which crop diversity has been used to address larger issues about human and agricultural evolution. Recognition and management of crop varieties are part of a single continuum of using and caring for plant species and plant communities, a continuum that is most apparent in the amazing diversity of crops. This diversity is renewed yearly during seed selection, a human routine that has guided crop evolution. The chapter discusses how engagement with crop diversity is ubiquitous in agricultural societies because farmers everywhere are aware of the potential of new crops or crop varieties to solve problems. It also reveals how many different societies have organized the search for new crop varieties, and how this search has eventually led to scientific crop improvement programs based on conscious selection, crosses among different varieties, and genetic manipulation.

Keywords:   agricultural evolution, crop varieties, plant species, crop diversity, crop improvement

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