Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Horticultural Selection & Biodiversity on Araki Island

Photo: Different varieties of Island Cabbage (Abelmoschus manihot) observed during site visits around Vanuatu.

The topography of this small island is unique in that it is comprised of 3 distinct terraces, made up of ancient reef beds that have been thrust up above sea level over time.  This means that a wide variety of microclimates are available in a very small space - walking around cultivation areas on all three terraces felt akin to what it must be like to walk around a giant-sized herb spiral.

By selecting for desirable traits (such as flavor, hardiness, time to harvest, etc) and saving seeds / propagules from the best plants, varieties specifically adapted to microclimates on Araki can be developed over time.  In this way, the remote location of this community can be leveraged to their advantage, providing a refuge of sorts to develop & protect the horticultural selection of biodiversity for the region.

   - excerpt from 'Kaikai fo Laef Project Report 2012' -