Building a botanical foundation for perennial agriculture: Global inventory of wild, perennial herbaceous Fabaceae species

Claudia Ciotir, Wendy Applequist, Timothy E. Crews, Neculai Cristea, Lee R. DeHaan, Emma Frawley, Sterling Herron, Robert Magill, James Miller, Yury Roskov, Brandon Schlautman, James Solomon, Andrew Townesmith, David Van Tassel, James Zarucchi, Allison J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Concerns about soil health and stability are focusing attention on crops that deliver both agricultural products and ecological services. Deep rooted, perennial plants that build soil organic matter, support diverse below-ground microbial communities, and produce edible seeds are key components underpinning ecological intensification; however few perennial, herbaceous crops have been domesticated for food.To facilitate development of edible, perennial, herbaceous crops, including perennial grains, we constructed an online resource of wild, perennial, herbaceous species – the Perennial Agriculture Project Global Inventory (PAPGI; http://www.tropicos.org/Project/PAPGI). The first component of this project focuses on wild, perennial, herbaceous Fabaceae species. We extracted taxonomic names and descriptors from the International Legume Database and Information Service. Names were added to PAPGI, a special project within the botanical database TROPICOS, where they link to specimen records and ethnobotanical and toxicological data. PAPGI includes 6,644 perennial, herbaceous Fabaceae species. We built a searchable database of more than 60 agriculturally important traits. Here we highlight food and forage uses for 314 legume species, and toxicological data for 278 species.The novel contribution of PAPGI is its focus on wild, perennial herbaceous species that generally have not entered the domestication process but that hold promise for development as perennial food crops. By extracting botanical information relevant for agriculture we provide a dynamic resource for breeders and plant scientists working to advance ecological intensification of agriculture, and for conservation managers working to preserve wild species of potential agricultural importance. Societal Impact Statement Agroecosystems are constantly evolving to meet the needs of a growing population in a sustainable manner. Perennial, herbaceous crops deliver both agricultural products and ecological services. Until recently, edible, perennial, herbaceous crops, including perennial grains, were absent from agriculture. Perennial, herbaceous crops can be developed through wide hybridization between annual crops and perennial relatives or by de novo domestication of wild species. The diversity of wild, perennial, herbaceous legume species documented by the PAPGI increases resources available to breeders of perennial, herbaceous legumes, and raises awareness about previously untapped wild plant diversity in future crop development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515189
Number of pages1
JournalPlants, People, Planet
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Keywords

  • INHS
  • ecological intensification
  • ethnobotany
  • Fabaceae
  • perennial grains
  • perennial polyculture
  • sustainable agriculture
  • toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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