Avocados, Vanilla Among Dozens Of Wild Crop Relatives Facing Extinction

"Study finds agriculture and pesticide use threaten relatives of world’s most important crops, considered crucial to food security"

"Wild relatives of some of the world’s most important crops, including potatoes, avocados and vanilla, are threatened with extinction, according to a study.

Vanilla, an orchid native to South and Central America, is facing the highest risk of extinction, with all eight wild species found in the region listed as endangered or critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened plants and animals.

Wild cotton is the second-most threatened with 92% of species at risk of disappearing, according to the study. Three in five avocado species are at risk, while 23% of wild potato species are facing extinction.

Relatives of the 224 wild crops analysed in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have become staples around the world, crucial to human diets and clothes production, and were first domesticated by the Aztecs, Mayans and other civilisations between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago."

Patrick Greenfield reports for the Guardian September 8, 2021.

Source: Guardian, 09/08/2021