INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CONSERVATION SCIENCE GERMPLASM COLLECTION FROM LAST REMNANTS OF RICE LANDRACE GENETIC DIVERSITY IN HIGH ALTITUDE AREAS OF KASHMIR HIMALAYAS
The aim of the present study was to know about past and present cultivation and status of rice landraces in Kashmir province of Indian Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir. Tremendous genetic diversity has existed in past in paddy fields throughout Kashmir especially in remote high altitude areas and more than 4 dozen named landraces have been recorded in the literature. Elderly farmers in their sixties and beyond still fondly remember these landraces and often recall quality attributes in many
... attributes in many of these genetic resources. Most of the landraces have now disappeared from the local production system and only few are presently being cultivated and that too in a very small area. The reasons as to why farmers lost interest in these genetic resources and why few landraces are still popular in farmer fields have been discussed. Our study has revealed that variability in paddy fields has now been drastically reduced to few high altitude areas where also it is seriously endangered. We argue that collection of well adapted traditional varieties from these 'last remnants of rice genetic diversity' in Kashmir is an important task especially under prevailing uncertain social and climatic conditions to ensure a sustainable environment. 32 germplasm accessions of some landraces have been collected during our survey in these areas. These have been deposited in National Seed Gene Bank at NBPGR, New Delhi for conservation and characterization.