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Origins of food crops connect countries worldwide

View Article: PubMed Central

ABSTRACT

Research into the origins of food plants has led to the recognition that specific geographical regions around the world have been of particular importance to the development of agricultural crops. Yet the relative contributions of these different regions in the context of current food systems have not been quantified. Here we determine the origins (‘primary regions of diversity’) of the crops comprising the food supplies and agricultural production of countries worldwide. We estimate the degree to which countries use crops from regions of diversity other than their own (‘foreign crops’), and quantify changes in this usage over the past 50 years. Countries are highly interconnected with regard to primary regions of diversity of the crops they cultivate and/or consume. Foreign crops are extensively used in food supplies (68.7% of national food supplies as a global mean are derived from foreign crops) and production systems (69.3% of crops grown are foreign). Foreign crop usage has increased significantly over the past 50 years, including in countries with high indigenous crop diversity. The results provide a novel perspective on the ongoing globalization of food systems worldwide, and bolster evidence for the importance of international collaboration on genetic resource conservation and exchange.

No MeSH data available.


Circular plots linking the primary regions of diversity of food crops with their current importance in the context of calories (kcal capita−1 d−1) in regional food supplies. Each region has a colour representing its own native crops and those colours are connected to other regions due the importance of those crops in the food supply in other regions. The direction of the contribution is indicated by both the primary region's colour and a gap between the connecting line and the consuming region's segment. The magnitude of contribution is indicated by the width of the connecting line. Regional food supply values (per capita day−1) were formed by deriving a population-weighted average of national food supply values across countries comprising each region. IOI, Indian Ocean Islands; ANZ, Australia and New Zealand; C America, Central America and Mexico. (a) only the most significant linkages (i.e. 95th percentile) between regions are shown, for visibility, whereas (b) displays the full matrix of linkages. As an example, C America is represented in orange. The orange lines represent the amount of regional food supplies derived from crops native to the region—such as maize, beans and cassava—eaten in different regions of the world (see line connecting to Southern Africa owing to the high importance of these crops in that region). In turn, C America consumes crops native to other regions, for example, rice, coffee and sugarcane. See electronic supplementary material, figure S3 for circular plots for all measured food supply and production variables.
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RSPB20160792F2: Circular plots linking the primary regions of diversity of food crops with their current importance in the context of calories (kcal capita−1 d−1) in regional food supplies. Each region has a colour representing its own native crops and those colours are connected to other regions due the importance of those crops in the food supply in other regions. The direction of the contribution is indicated by both the primary region's colour and a gap between the connecting line and the consuming region's segment. The magnitude of contribution is indicated by the width of the connecting line. Regional food supply values (per capita day−1) were formed by deriving a population-weighted average of national food supply values across countries comprising each region. IOI, Indian Ocean Islands; ANZ, Australia and New Zealand; C America, Central America and Mexico. (a) only the most significant linkages (i.e. 95th percentile) between regions are shown, for visibility, whereas (b) displays the full matrix of linkages. As an example, C America is represented in orange. The orange lines represent the amount of regional food supplies derived from crops native to the region—such as maize, beans and cassava—eaten in different regions of the world (see line connecting to Southern Africa owing to the high importance of these crops in that region). In turn, C America consumes crops native to other regions, for example, rice, coffee and sugarcane. See electronic supplementary material, figure S3 for circular plots for all measured food supply and production variables.

Mentions: Food supplies and agricultural production systems worldwide were found to be composed of a wide range of crops deriving from several different primary regions of diversity, indicating a thoroughly interconnected global food system with regard to the geographical origins of food plants (figure 2; see electronic supplementary material, figure S3 for all measured variables, and electronic supplementary material, tables S3 and S4 for values per country and per region). Without exception, regional food supplies and agricultural production systems were linked to the majority of the world's primary regions of diversity owing to the extensive production and/or consumption of crops from different geographical regions. An interactive resource for exploring links between regional food systems and the primary regions of diversity is available at http://blog.ciat.cgiar.org/origin-of-crops.Figure 2.


Origins of food crops connect countries worldwide
Circular plots linking the primary regions of diversity of food crops with their current importance in the context of calories (kcal capita−1 d−1) in regional food supplies. Each region has a colour representing its own native crops and those colours are connected to other regions due the importance of those crops in the food supply in other regions. The direction of the contribution is indicated by both the primary region's colour and a gap between the connecting line and the consuming region's segment. The magnitude of contribution is indicated by the width of the connecting line. Regional food supply values (per capita day−1) were formed by deriving a population-weighted average of national food supply values across countries comprising each region. IOI, Indian Ocean Islands; ANZ, Australia and New Zealand; C America, Central America and Mexico. (a) only the most significant linkages (i.e. 95th percentile) between regions are shown, for visibility, whereas (b) displays the full matrix of linkages. As an example, C America is represented in orange. The orange lines represent the amount of regional food supplies derived from crops native to the region—such as maize, beans and cassava—eaten in different regions of the world (see line connecting to Southern Africa owing to the high importance of these crops in that region). In turn, C America consumes crops native to other regions, for example, rice, coffee and sugarcane. See electronic supplementary material, figure S3 for circular plots for all measured food supply and production variables.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4920324&req=5

RSPB20160792F2: Circular plots linking the primary regions of diversity of food crops with their current importance in the context of calories (kcal capita−1 d−1) in regional food supplies. Each region has a colour representing its own native crops and those colours are connected to other regions due the importance of those crops in the food supply in other regions. The direction of the contribution is indicated by both the primary region's colour and a gap between the connecting line and the consuming region's segment. The magnitude of contribution is indicated by the width of the connecting line. Regional food supply values (per capita day−1) were formed by deriving a population-weighted average of national food supply values across countries comprising each region. IOI, Indian Ocean Islands; ANZ, Australia and New Zealand; C America, Central America and Mexico. (a) only the most significant linkages (i.e. 95th percentile) between regions are shown, for visibility, whereas (b) displays the full matrix of linkages. As an example, C America is represented in orange. The orange lines represent the amount of regional food supplies derived from crops native to the region—such as maize, beans and cassava—eaten in different regions of the world (see line connecting to Southern Africa owing to the high importance of these crops in that region). In turn, C America consumes crops native to other regions, for example, rice, coffee and sugarcane. See electronic supplementary material, figure S3 for circular plots for all measured food supply and production variables.
Mentions: Food supplies and agricultural production systems worldwide were found to be composed of a wide range of crops deriving from several different primary regions of diversity, indicating a thoroughly interconnected global food system with regard to the geographical origins of food plants (figure 2; see electronic supplementary material, figure S3 for all measured variables, and electronic supplementary material, tables S3 and S4 for values per country and per region). Without exception, regional food supplies and agricultural production systems were linked to the majority of the world's primary regions of diversity owing to the extensive production and/or consumption of crops from different geographical regions. An interactive resource for exploring links between regional food systems and the primary regions of diversity is available at http://blog.ciat.cgiar.org/origin-of-crops.Figure 2.

View Article: PubMed Central

ABSTRACT

Research into the origins of food plants has led to the recognition that specific geographical regions around the world have been of particular importance to the development of agricultural crops. Yet the relative contributions of these different regions in the context of current food systems have not been quantified. Here we determine the origins (‘primary regions of diversity’) of the crops comprising the food supplies and agricultural production of countries worldwide. We estimate the degree to which countries use crops from regions of diversity other than their own (‘foreign crops’), and quantify changes in this usage over the past 50 years. Countries are highly interconnected with regard to primary regions of diversity of the crops they cultivate and/or consume. Foreign crops are extensively used in food supplies (68.7% of national food supplies as a global mean are derived from foreign crops) and production systems (69.3% of crops grown are foreign). Foreign crop usage has increased significantly over the past 50 years, including in countries with high indigenous crop diversity. The results provide a novel perspective on the ongoing globalization of food systems worldwide, and bolster evidence for the importance of international collaboration on genetic resource conservation and exchange.

No MeSH data available.