New crop wild relatives atlas availableNov 27th, 2011 | By Nora P. Castañeda-Alvarez | Category: Ecosystem Services, Feature Articles
Last week, the Atlas of Guatemalan crop wild relatives was officially presented at the “VIII Simposio Internacional de Recursos Genéticos para América Latina y el Caribe“ held in Quito, Ecuador.
The Atlas was prepared for being used with Google Earth (download the file here), enabling users to explore the places and surrounding areas where the crop wild relatives taxa have been registered or expected to occur, all these taking advantage of the others layers of information that Google Earth has freely available (i.e. Panoramio pictures, YouTube videos, WWF conservation projects, UNEP Atlas of our changing environment, among others).
Below, you will find an overlay between UNEP Atlas of our changing environment and the Atlas of Guatemalan crop wild relatives. The small blue squares are crop wild relatives individuals and the area shown corresponds to the border between Mexico and Guatemala. The Guatemalan side is part of to the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Land cover changes are evident between 1974-2000, particularly in the surroundings of the Rio San Pedro (I wonder, is any of the wild relatives located in these area under a conservation scheme?)
In addition to the geographic information, the Atlas also contains general information of each mapped genepool (29 in total) and a description for each of the 105 taxa taken into account, including common names, synonyms, distribution, images, conservation status and recommendations.
Why Guatemala?: Mesoamerican forests are considered a bioversity hotspot, with 2.941 endemic plant species. Also, part of the region shared between Mexico and Guatemala is a center of origin for several cultivated plants (i.e. beans), and a center of diversity for some crops (i.e. cotton).
For those interested in pursuing their own geographical analysis, the Atlas has available to download the full coordinates dataset here.