Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1462917
 


 



Crop Diversity Report Card for the Twentieth Century: Diversity Bust or Diversity Boom?


Paul J. Heald


University of Illinois College of Law

Susannah Chapman


University of Georgia Department of Anthropology

August 27, 2009


Abstract:     
According to the conventional wisdom, the twentieth century was a disaster of monumental proportions for vegetable crop diversity. The conventional wisdom is wrong. Our study of 2004 commercial seed catalogs shows twice as many 1903 crop varieties surviving as previously reported in the iconic 1983 study on vegetable crop diversity. More important, we find that growers in 2004 had as many varieties to choose from (approximately 7100 varieties among 48 crops) as did their predecessors in 1903 (approximately 7262 varieties among the same 48 crops). In addition, we cast doubt on the number of distinct varieties actually available in 1903 by examining historical sources that expose the systematic practice of multiple naming. Finally, by looking more closely at the six biggest diversity winners of the twentieth century (tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, garden beans, squash, and garlic), we suggest that patent law is virtually irrelevant.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: vegetable varieties, crop diversity, crop varieties, patents, RAFI, seeds, biodiversity, tomatoes, peppers, garden beans

JEL Classification: I12, N5, O3, O34, Q10, Q13

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: August 31, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Heald, Paul J. and Chapman, Susannah, Crop Diversity Report Card for the Twentieth Century: Diversity Bust or Diversity Boom? (August 27, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1462917 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1462917

Contact Information

Paul J. Heald (Contact Author)
University of Illinois College of Law ( email )
504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
706-372-2567 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.illinois.edu/faculty/profile/PaulHeald

Susannah Chapman
University of Georgia Department of Anthropology ( email )
250A Baldwin Hall
Department of Anthropology
Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-3922 (Phone)
706-542-3998 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.uga.edu/anthro
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 2,845
Downloads: 458
Download Rank: 32,556

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.438 seconds