World Watch List
For domestic animal diversity (second edition)


Edited by FAO, UNEP

Summary: World food production and agriculture utilize only a few animal species, within which many breeds with unique characteristics exist. These genetic resources form the pool of domestic animal diversity available to meet the increasing massive global demand for food and agriculture. This component of biodiversity is essential for efficient and sustainable production of food from the great range of production environments in the world, and to satisfy the many different needs of human societies. This biological diversity is being lost as human population and economic pressures accelerate the pace of change in traditional agricultural systems. As a result, more and more breeds of domestic animals are in danger of becoming extinct. Greater efforts in the conservation and sustainable use of these irreplaceable resources are required to prevent, stop and reverse this trend of erosion of diversity. Conservation is not simply preservation of those breeds currently not in use. It also encompasses the monitoring, characterization and well-managed development and utilization over time of the gene pool of each species.

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Table of contents

Part 1 - Using WWL-DAD:2

Part 2 - Farm animal genetic resources

Part 3 - Wild relatives of domestic livestock

Preface

World food production and agriculture utilize only a few animal species, within which many breeds with unique characteristics exist. These genetic resources form the pool of domestic animal diversity available to meet the increasing massive global demand for food and agriculture. This component of biodiversity is essential for efficient and sustainable production of food from the great range of production environments in the world, and to satisfy the many different needs of human societies.

This biological diversity is being lost as human population and economic pressures accelerate the pace of change in traditional agricultural systems. As a result, more and more breeds of domestic animals are in danger of becoming extinct. Greater efforts in the conservation and sustainable use of these irreplaceable resources are required to prevent, stop and reverse this trend of erosion of diversity. Conservation is not simply preservation of those breeds currently not in use. It also encompasses the monitoring, characterization and well-managed development and utilization over time of the gene pool of each species.

Within its Global Programme for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources FAO has established The Global Early Warning System for this sector of biological diversity. The basis of this system are databases for breed inventory and description, and for monitoring the preservation of animal genetic material. At this stage The Databank incorporates information on 3 882 breeds comprising twenty-eight species. This information has been used to prepare this second edition of the World Watch List for Domestic Animal Diversity (WWL-DAD:2).

Information on wild relatives of domestic animal genetic resources is also provided. The diversity represented in the wild relatives has the potential to make important ontributions to food and agricultural production.

The WWL-DAD acts as the voice of the Global Early Warning System by providing inventory basic description information on domestic breeds at risk. The list will serve to monitor their stability and conservation needs overtime. Undoubtedly this list will be used in a range of ways by many governmental and non-governmental organizations at the local, national and international levels. Opportunities for action arising from this second edition of WWL-DAD are listed at the start of PART 1 (section 1.2). WWL-DAD:2 contains not only information on a large number of species and breeds, but also provides additional information on breeds included in the first edition. WWL-DAD:2 provides further evidence that genetic diversity is being eroded. More than 30% of all remaining animal genetic resources are now classified either on the critical, critical-maintained, endangered or endangered-maintained list. These lists are presented here based on criteria established by FAO.

FAO and UNEP consider the communication of this most up to date information on the state of global animal genetic resources as important. Eventually all 40+ animal species in use, involving some 4 000 to 5 000 breeds, will be included in FAO’s Global Databank for Farm Animal Genetic Resources. Future editions of WWL-DAD will be extended to reflect this additional information.

As The Global Databank for Farm Animal Genetic Resources is expanded and updated, further issues of WWL-DAD will be produced, to record and monitor global animal diversity. In this process, FAO will continue to rely on receiving data and information from the networks of country contacts throughout the world. If you are able to assist with new information on one or more breeds this would be appreciated. Please respond using a copy of the pro-forma in Annex 2.1 (Part 2) of this publication, forwarding completed forms either to your country’s National Coordinator, listed in Annex 2.3 or where governments have not yet been invited to identify a National Coordinating Institute for contact with FAO’s Global Programme for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources by forwarding completed forms direct to FAO.

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