The technology and science available to those who preserve agrobiodiversity
CAPFITOGEN has focused on innovative scientific strategies for conservation and efficient use of agricultural biodiversity. Particularly in recent years several techniques and methodologies have emerged that incorporate ecogeography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the collection, conservation, characterization and efficient use of plant genetic resources, which has aroused great interest among curators and technicians. These methodologies include simplicity, scientifically proven efficiency and low cost. However, their daily use has been restricted by the lack of practical ways that allow its use. For this reason, the CAPFITOGEN programme defined as its main objective the development and subsequent transfer of practical tools necessary to implement the concepts of ecogeography and GIS utilities, adapted to the conditions of the National Conservation Programs for Plant Genetic Resources in Latin America. The tools are developed by the same research team that has published many of the methodologies and the transfer is done through classroom-based technical workshops (theoretical/practical).
To use CAPFITOGEN tools, a given user must install the application on the computer (Windows system) and then enter the passport data in a format previously established (FAO / Bioversity 2012 format with minor modifications). The tools are available through a simple interface where certain parameters are defined. The interface load these parameters in an R programming software (R Core Team, 2012) where the analysis is performed, and the results are then saved in a folder determined by the user. The results are mainly composed of maps, charts and graphs, which can be displayed in other free software like DIVA-GIS. The design and development of CAPFITOGEN tools allow a given user without knowledge of R to use these tools efficiently.
The tools are access- and use-free, and are available via online download or via USB drives (on demand). When a user accesses the tools, not only accesses the technical material but can also download all the eco-geographical information (GIS layers), specifically designed to interact with the tools. This eco-geographical information is designed and prepared for countries and regions (global coverage, continents and sub-continents). Initially the tools were available only for Latin America but due to the demand arising for other regions, extended coverage for up to more than 160 countries and/or regions.
Finally, the tools are available in Spanish, Portuguese and English language, which can be changed at any time in the control panel of the tool interface.