Research on landrace in situ conservation has examined the socio-economic characteristics of landrace custodians and the social organizations where landrace diversity occurs. However, researchers have paid less attention to the distinctive features that result in landraces of some crops being preserved while others are abandoned. In this work, we analyze reasons behind landraces' in situ conservation or abandonment. We worked in temperate home gardens in Vall de Gósol, Catalan Pyrenees. Data collection included participant and non-participant observation, freelistings, garden inventories, structured interviews, and a workshop. We found ten strains that conform to the definition of landrace, a high number for the relatively small geographical area studied. Crop and landrace features are of key importance in explaining whether a landrace is maintained or abandoned. Features that promote in situ conservation include 1) crop and/or landraces intrinsic characteristics (e.g., propagule viability, productivity), 2) landraces socio-economic characteristics (e.g., commercial interest, uniqueness vs. substitutability), and 3) landraces cultural significance (e.g., tradition, local organoleptic perceptions). Viable landrace conservation plans should identify the specific features that affect in situ conservation at the landrace level.
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Vol. 34 • No. 2