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    Chapter 9 Sampling, structuring, documenting and presenting information for action plans 133

    Chapter 9 Sampling, structuring, documenting and

    presenting information for action plans (with the collaboration of D. Louette, P. Mathur, P. Quek and I. Thormann)

9.0 Objectives 134

    9.1 Obtaining a representative sample 134

    9.1.1 Choosing a representative sampling size 134

    9.1.2 Sampling strategy: random, systematic or stratified 135

    9.1.3 Structuring multidisciplinary information for sampling the number problem 135

    9.1.4 Sampling over time 137

    9.2 Collecting and structuring information to support in situ

    conservation on-farm 137

    9.2.1 Determining the amount and distribution of genetic diversity

    maintained on-farm 140

    9.2.2 Studying the processes used for maintaining and managing diversity 141

    9.2.3 Determining the factors that influence farmers to maintain diversity 142

    9.2.4 Determining who maintains diversity 143

    9.3 Documentation for in situ conservation on-farm 143

    9.3.1 Data recording and verification 144

    9.3.2 Written records 144

    9.3.3 Visual records 145

    9.3.4 Triangulation 145

    9.4 Returning information to the community 145

    9.4.1 Community information systems 145

    9.5 Using information for action plans for on-farm conservation 147 9.6 References 147

    9.7 Recommended reading 148

    A Training Guide for In Situ Conservation On-farm: Version 1 134

    9.0 Objectives

    By the end of this module, readers should have an understanding of how to:

    ; Carry out representative sampling over space and time

    ; Structure information to answer key questions related to in situ conservation on-farm

    ; Document in situ conservation efforts and return information to the community

    ; Present information for conservation and development action plans.

9.1 Obtaining a representative sample

    Appropriate sampling is important to ensure that adequate representation of the situation or site is reflected in the information collected. Regardless of the approach chosen, some part of the diversity in human, environmental and genetic diversity factors will not be sampled. Sampling strategies must consider resource constraints along with scientific needs.

9.1.1 Choosing a representative sampling size

    How many subsamples of households, plots, and plants are necessary to have a representative sample of the site or population in question? The objective is to determine the smallest number of samples to adequately characterize the region in question. Sampling size will depend on the amount of variation among samples. A larger sample size will give more information on the variation between samples than will a smaller sample. Thus, the more homogenous the population, be it in terms of household characteristics, field soil types or variety populations, the less the need will be for larger sample sets. This concept or trend in the decrease in new information as more and more, or larger and larger, samples are included is often used by plant ecologists in a technique called the species-area curve to

    determine the minimum size and number of samples that will be representative of a population. A more general form of the relationship is known as the law of diminishing returns.

    A species-area curve is created by sampling the area in a system of nested plots (larger and larger plots arranged on the ground such that each successive plot encompasses all of the previous plot) (Barbour et al. 1987). After a certain point, very few new species are found in each successive plot.





    10Number of species

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011Plot area

     Besides this nested method of determining sampling sizes, decisions are often made through consulting existing information (e.g. scientific literature) regarding the population.

    Chapter 9 Sampling, structuring, documenting and presenting information for action plans 135

    For example, social scientists commonly sample 510% of the households in a village when

    they know there is significant variation in household characteristics. For the IPGRI Global project on in situ conservation on-farm, population geneticists have agreed that a minimum of 30 individuals per population of a variety should be sampled (Jarvis and Hodgkin 1998; see Chapter 5, this Training Guide). In addition, under the "Recommended reading" section of this chapter we list some key references from different disciplines that can guide the reader on determining appropriate sampling size.

9.1.2 Sampling strategy: random, systematic or stratified

    A key decision to make is whether samples should be taken in a random or systematic

    manner (Causton 1988). In random sampling every point in the field site has an equal chance to be sampled. In systematic sampling, transects or grids are used to take samples at regular intervals. This has the advantage of avoiding the over-sampling of “uninteresting”

    areas at the expense of “interesting” ones. However, consideration is required when selecting

    a sampling approach, because sampling can have a profound impact on study results; poor sampling choices can lead to results that may be considered invalid. Potential biases, particularly when choosing non-random samples, require special attention.

     The primary purpose of random sampling is to detect and assess correlation between distributions of one factor in relation to another factor. One might want to know how the distribution of genetic diversity relates to certain social, economic, biological, environmental and other factors in the community. Does wealth status relate to any level of genetic diversity in the community? Do farmers with more fragmented land contain more diversity? These questions require a random sample of households across the landscape. Random samples of farmers' fields throughout the site also may be appropriate for gaining an idea of the range and diversity of the main abiotic and biotic factors affecting crop diversity.

     Although it is the most statistically robust method, the placement of random samples is particularly time consuming. Regular or systematic placement of samples is the simplest method to carry out, but may be less appropriate for statistical analysis. A compromise method is stratified random sampling. In this method, the area to be sampled is first

    systematically subdivided into relatively homogenous sections, and then randomly placed samples are taken in each subsection (see Barbour et al. 1987; Kershaw and Looney 1985;

    Gauch 1982; Greig-Smith 1983). Stratified random sampling is often used once an area has already been stratified into different areas. Criteria are used to divide the study site/population into various strata, from each of which a certain number of samples are drawn randomly; criteria for stratification may be socioeconomic, agronomic or environmental in nature.

9.1.3 Structuring multidisciplinary information for sampling the number


    Stratifying to structure date becomes extremely important when more than one discipline is involved in a sampling procedure. For example: a community or village containing 1000 households is selected as a study site. Ten percent or 100 households of the village are sampled for social and economic variables. In each household, a farmer grows four target crops. For each crop, the farmer manages an average of three varieties grown in a particular field with certain soil and topographical characteristics. For each variety a minimum of 30 samples will be needed for an adequate study of the population. Thus, in order to compare household characteristics, plot characteristics and varieties, we end up collecting 30 samples × 3 varieties × 4 crops × 100 households or 36 000 samples for analysis. Of course this number of samples is unreasonable given time and resource constraints. How is this problem solved? One method is to return once again to the key questions that the study is trying to answer what is the amount and distribution of genetic diversity maintained on-

A Training Guide for In Situ Conservation On-farm: Version 1 136

farm, by what processes is this diversity being maintained, by whom and why to structure

the data collection.

    Chapter 9 Sampling, structuring, documenting and presenting information for action plans 137

     What has been useful in ongoing on-farm work is to first carry out a random sample of the households in a village to have an idea of the range of social, economic, cultural and farming management practices. At the same time, it will enable a preliminary idea of the total range of abiotic and biotic factors in the sites and the total range of genetic variation within the village. Where topography is an important factor, it may be useful to run a transect across north- and south-facing slopes and randomly sample households along this transect to have an idea of the entire range of agroecological factors for the site. Likewise, it may be useful to collect samples of all the landraces in the village for preliminary characterization to have an idea of the total range of variety diversity.

     Once the range of (1) household and village social, economic and cultural characteristics (Chapter 2), farming management practices (Chapter 3), abiotic and biotic factors (Chapter 3), and genetic diversity of target crops (Chapters 4 and 5) is known, this information must be structured, or stratified to make comparisons among groups of different data types.

9.1.4 Sampling over time

    On-farm conservation of crop diversity is influenced by agroecological, socioeconomic and genetic processes with different directions and rates of change over time. Some factors are stable, meaning that they do not change over time, at least in the short term, such as the soil, parent rock or climate. Rainfall may fluctuate annually, and market infrastructure may develop rapidly or gradually. It will be crucial for on-farm conservation efforts to study how changes in these factors over time might affect crop genetic diversity. For annual or biennial plants, sampling over time may be feasible within the lifetime of one research project, but this may not be possible for perennial species. For such long-lived species, spatial proxies for time will need to be used to understand how these different factors may influence genetic diversity over time.

     When data are collected at different times, time-series analysis methods can be used to

    examine relationships between variables over time (Kendall and Ord 1990). Time-series analysis is based on the idea that measurable variables that are observed continuously may be regarded as information signals. Sampling this signal at different intervals produces a discrete signal, or time series (1996-2000 Finney: 1985). An autocorrelation coefficient is

    determined as a measure of the similarities of measurements that are separated by a particular time interval, while a cross-correlation coefficient is used for detecting patterns of

    variation between variables over time. For comparing frequencies of events over time, a common statistical tool is power-spectral analysis. Power-spectral analysis is used to

    determine periodicities within the data by giving an indication of the different frequencies over time of variation, which account for most of the variability in the data. All these tools usually require numerous data points or sampling occasions. In some cases, it may be interesting to calculate transition probabilities among classes (e.g. identify land-use types in different aerial photographs of the study area and then use Markov modelling to simulate changes over time).

9.2 Collecting and structuring information to support in situ

    conservation on-farm

    In Chapters 2 through 6, we saw how different categories of information are needed to answer key questions important to in situ conservation on-farm. In Chapters 7 and 8 we

    discussed creating a framework, selecting sites and sensitizing the community. Once these aspects are in place, partners in an on-farm conservation programme are in a position to collect and structure information that will support in situ conservation on-farm under the

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    four major topics discussed throughout this guide:

    1. The amount and distribution of genetic diversity being maintained on-farm. 2. The processes being used to maintain this diversity.

    3. The social, economic, cultural and environmental factors influencing farmers to

    maintain diversity on-farm.

    4. The people maintaining this diversity in terms of gender, age, ethnic and social or

    economic status in the community.

     The information to study these topics comes from different levels and disciplines. The different sources and levels of information, i.e. the variety, the crop, the parcel or plot, the

    household, the village or community, the landscape or region are summarized in the

    diagram below. Information from one aspect may be useful to answer more than one question. What is important is that the information collected at the level of the household or farmer’s plot may not be the appropriate scale for analysis or for crop diversity conservation.

    Barley stored on the rooftops in Jumla, Nepal.

    Single families have their own populations of

    barley, but it may be that the village is the

    appropriate scale for conservation.

     As noted in earlier chapters it is probable that one single farmer does not maintain a sufficiently large population for effective conservation over time. More likely it will be the village or a network of villages or even a region that will be the appropriate level for understanding the maintenance of crop genetic diversity on-farm. In other cases, it may be that one village is representative or contains the entire range of diversity for a region, and therefore should be given particular attention (see Example, section 5.8.2). The collection and analysis of this information gives conservation managers and development workers the tools to develop conservation plans and make interventions as noted below after the steps.

     The experience of ongoing work in in situ conservation on-farm suggests that the steps

    described below may be appropriate to follow to answer some key questions once a site has been selected for on-farm conservation as described in Chapter 8.

     The collection and analysis of this information gives conservation managers and development workers the tools to prescribe conservation plans and make interventions as noted below after the steps. The information is also needed formulate interventions that will improve the value of local crop diversity for farmers discussed in Chapter 11.

Chapter 9 Sampling, structuring, documenting and presenting information for action plans 139

    (1) Information needed to determine the amount and distribution of genetic diversity maintained on-farm

    (2) Information needed to understand the processes used for maintaining diversity(3) Information needed to understand the factors that influence farmers to maintain diversity

    (4) Information needed to understand who maintains diversity* Information collected, disaggregated by gender / age / other

    National policy informationCountry

    (1&3) Formal seed supply systemRegion/Market IRegion/Market IIRegion/Market III(3) Policies affecting variety choiceRegion/MarketRegion/Market information

    (1&3) Seed supply/acquisitionVillage/ Village/ Village/ (3) Prices of crop products, seed, and grain for Community 3Community ICommunity 2each variety

    Village/CommunityVillage/Community information

    (1&3) Seed supply/ acquisitionHousehold AHousehold BHousehold C(3) Proximity to markets

    (3) Access to extension services

    (3) Climatic conditions

    (3) Human population density

    (3) Land tenure system

    Household AHousehold information

    (3) Number, ages, genders of household Parcel/Plot 1Parcel/Plot 2members

    (3) Education levelBean variety Maize variety b(3) Labour availabilityParcel/Plot 3b(3) Reliance on off-farm income sources_ _ _ _ _ _ _(3) Land tenureMaize variety c(3) Farm size, fragmentationMaize (3&4) Ethnic groupvariety a(3&4) Wealth (income/assets)Parcel/Plot informationCrop informationVariety information(1&2) Distance between plots by *(1) Number of varieties*(1) Farmer's variety namevariety*(1) List of variety names*(1) Farmer's criteria for distinguishing (2&3) Soil type, aspect, slope, water (1&2) Breeding systemvarietyregime(1&2) Co-adapted crops(1) Area planted to variety(2&3) Field/lab measurements of (1) Synchrony of flowering timeslimiting factors and effects of (1) Outcrossing ratesmanagement practices(1) Genetic diversity measurements *(2&4) Agricultural management (agromorph. biochem. molecular)practices for production(1&2) Distance between varieties

    (1&2) Density of planting

    (1&2) Field/lab characterization and


    (1&2) Co-adapted varieties

    *(1, 2&4) Seed system: acquisition,

    supply and storage

    *(2&4) Criteria for selection of next


    *(2, 3&4) Criteria for variety choice

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    9.2.1 Determining the amount and distribution of genetic diversity

     maintained on-farm

    Documenting the amount and distribution of genetic diversity on-farm requires information on the genetic identity of farmer-named varieties (see Chapter 4.2), the genetic structure of populations, the pattern of farmer-named variety occurrence (see Chapter 5), and the seed supply system (see Chapter 6). The plant’s breeding system (see Chapter 5) is important, and initial data have shown that inbreeding crops such as rice, barley and durum wheat will have different patterns of distribution than outcrossing crops such as maize.

     The information collected through these steps allows the determination of the extent and distribution of genetic diversity on-farm so that a conservationist can make decisions to prioritize the conservation of certain areas and target populations.


    1. Using participatory methods discussed in Chapter 8 and direct observation in fields and

    granaries and markets, compile a list of farmer-named varieties for the village/site, and

    note the exact name of the variety as given by the farmer without modifying it (Chapter

    4), or encourage farmers to do this through a Community Biodiversity Register (Section


    2. Repeat this procedure during several cultivation cycles, preferably with the same farmers

    (male and female) to make sure that all cultivated varieties have been recorded and to

    observe changes in the relative importance of certain varieties over time. 3. Determine together with farmers which criteria they use to describe, recognize and name

    their varieties using participatory methods (Chapter 8) and identification tests at

    different stages of the growth cycle of the plant (Chapter 4).

    4. Determine whether farmers are consistent in naming and describing varieties by

    comparing information from farmer households and different groups (gender, ethnic,

    wealth) (Chapters 2 and 4)

    5. Have the farmer rank varieties in terms of importance (according to his or her different

    criteria) and area covered (Chapter 4).

    6. Obtain measurements of the size and distribution of cultivated field/plots for each

    variety, the density of planting and the distance between varieties along the farmers'

    fields, and the flowering time of varieties (Chapter 5).

    7. Using the methods discussed in Chapter 6 determine the source of seeds, whether self,

    from within the family, between farmers in the communities, with farmers from other

    communities, from local or distant markets.

    8. Conduct field trials (Chapter 4) to characterize local varieties together with modern

    varieties according to both farmer criteria and key agronomic criteria. 9. Conduct biochemical and molecular characterization on a subset of varieties and

    calculate diversity indices (Chapters 4 and 5).

    10. Statistically compare farmer-named varieties with measurements of genetic identity

    (agromorphological, biochemical, molecular) to determine whether and/or at what level

    farmer-named varieties are genetically distinct (Chapters 4 and 5).

    11. Examine the extent of farmer-named varieties and determine whether they are the same

    genetically throughout the village (Chapter 4).

    12. Calculate the average diversity of a field, the population divergence of genes and of

    levels of genetic variation, the spatial divergences of genes and levels of variation

    (Chapter 5).

    13. Determine whether diversity increases with field size (Chapter 5).

    14. Determine whether rare varieties are selected from common ones for different breeding

    systems (Chapter 5).

    15. Determine whether locally common varieties have the greatest locally common alleles

    Chapter 9 Sampling, structuring, documenting and presenting information for action plans 141

    (Chapter 5).

    16. Determine whether increased variety richness and increased genetic diversity are

    positively correlated (Chapters 4 and 5).

    17. Determine whether the amount of variation in different crops is correlated (Chapter 5).

    Identification of distinguishing agromorphological

    characters for rice in Vietnam.

    9.2.2 Studying the processes used for maintaining and managing diversity What are the key agricultural management practices including planting methods and distances, weeding, harvesting, storage and seed selection (Chapters 3 to 6) that ensure the maintenance of diversity? These practices may relate to a particular farmer-named variety, a crop in general, or a land or soil type. This information can be used by breeders for the improvement of local varieties, by farming system managers for improved management of abiotic and biotic limiting factors. It also can be used to identify methods to introduce new diversity into the farming system and to determine the vulnerability of the present seed supply system and its effectiveness for conservation under normal and abnormal (e.g. random events) conditions. This information will be important in designing strategies that support farming systems in continuing to maintain crop diversity over time.


    1. Using participatory methods, determine what are the agromorphological characters that

    farmers are trying to maintain because preferred and the characters that farmers are

    selecting against (Chapter 4).

    2. Through participatory methods, have farmers identify varieties with particular adaptive

    traits to environmental conditions including soil types, post-harvest storage disease

    resistance, etc. (Chapters 3 and 4).

    3. Through participatory methods, identify varieties with particular quality characteristics

    (short cooking time for beans, tenacity of tortillas, spiciness of chilli peppers) (Chapter 4). 4. Evaluate landrace samples for these characters using field and lab trials (Chapter 4). 5. Using participatory methods, elicit from the farmer what he or she thinks are the

    environmental factors limiting to crop production (water regime, soil type, topography,

    disease and temperature).

    6. Using the methods discussed in Chapter 3, characterize these “limiting factors” for the

    site and where possible map agroecological factors using GIS (Chapter 10). 7. At the village or site level, compile a list of agricultural, seed management and/or land

    management practices described by farmers at both the (1) farmer variety level and (2)

    parcel level or for particular soils or topography, to overcome limiting factors or to

    improve production.

    8. Through field and lab experiments test to see the effectiveness of practices identified by

    farmers as being key in the continued maintenance of diversity on-farm. 9. Collect historical information on whether farmers' varieties are susceptible to random

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    events that have resulted in the loss of varieties at the household, village or regional


    10. Through participatory methods determine whether farmers are introducing and

    maintaining new characters into their varieties and/or in the system through seed flows. 11. Using the information above and the information collected under 9.2.1 and methods from

    Chapter 6 on seed source, determine whether farmer/village/seed networks maintain

    sufficiently large populations for effective conservation over time.

    Use of irrigation, as in this date palm and alfalfa cropping

    system in Morocco's oasis area, may be one of the processes

    shaping the genetic diversity of these crops.

    9.2.3 Determining the factors that influence farmers to maintain diversity One of the reasons for collecting socioeconomic data at the household level is to provide a basic understanding of the human contexts that characterize local farming systems. Household characteristics, market development, agricultural intensification, agroecology and government policy may be important determinants of how many and which varieties farmers plant, as discussed in Chapter 2. Aggregated to the village level, such variables will provide a basic understanding of how households are structured. Taken at the individual level, bivariate analysis can illustrate how particular subgroups of the population may be situated, such as men and women or young and old. In addition, simple bivariate tables can show social and economic correlations that may underlie agricultural practices. For instance, household size or wealth may have significant associations with the fragmentation of land holdings, with potential consequences for farmers' maintenance of genetic diversity.

     Identifying which of these factors affect farmers' maintenance of diversity, accounting for the potential effects of environmental, economic and cultural change over time, will be important in allowing us to predict which farmers and communities will continue to cultivate genetically diverse populations over time. This knowledge can foster the design of appropriate on-farm conservation programmes that support farming systems associated with high genetic diversity.


    1. Using the methods in Chapters 2 and 8, collect information on household characteristics,

    stratified by agricultural intensification, agroecology, and market development. 2. Test the relationship of these factors to some measure of variety choice with multiple

    regression analysis (Chapter 2)

    3. Relate the farmer variety choice analysis to actual crop genetic diversity

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