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This chapter provides a historical perspective on the development of community-based conservation and how approaches are grounded in changes that not only occurred in conservation practice but also in agriculture and rural development. This is achieved by looking at some of the pivotal changes in thinking and ideas that have taken place relatively recently in conservation practice and in agriculture and rural development. How these changes have been reinforced by the rapid rise of social movements lobbying for greater farmer and local community control over resources and food sovereignty is also reviewed in the context of its impact on conservation thinking. The chapter also highlights some key principles and guidance when considering collaboration and partnership with smallholder farmers, indigenous and community groups and provides an overview of approaches, tools and methods that are considered useful for facilitating community-based conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources.
Following the Green Revolution, conventional, ‘scientific’ plant-breeding quickly became the dominant breeding paradigm. However, conventional breeding has failed some farmers, particularly those in marginal agricultural environments. This conventional approach has been increasingly challenged by more collaborative approaches to breeding which bring farmers, scientists, extension officers and other actors together in decision-making. These approaches are commonly referred to as participatory plant breeding and participatory varietal selection. Such participatory approaches to plant breeding offer opportunities to better involve farmers and communities in the breeding process and to better target and meet their needs. This chapter will review and discuss, with the help of case studies from all over the world, both the principles of participatory plant breeding and participatory varietal selection, as well as the advantages and disadvantage of the participatory approach compared to the conventional approach to plant breeding.
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