center for synthesis
and analysis of biodiversity

A centre created and developed by the FRB
Strengthening management of agrobiodiversity through social networks: A cross-disciplinary method for analyzing how local seed systems impact the diversity of domesticated plants

Principal Investigator:  Doyle McKey, University Montpellier-2 CNRS – UMR 5175 CEFE (d_mckey(at)

Post doctorate: Marco Pautasso, CEFE, CNRS, Montpellier.

15 participants:
Adeline Barnaud, IRD, Montpellier et Eric Garine, Université Paris Ouest; Sophie Caillon, CNRS, Montpellier (sophie.caillon(at) ; Pascal Clouvel Cirad, Montpellier ; Kevin Coffey, Columbia University, NY, USA, Christine Padoch Instit. Econ. Botany, NY, USA et Benjavan Rerkasem, Chiang Mai University, Thailand; Oliver T. Coomes, McGill University, Montréal, Canada; Elise Demeulenaere, CNRS, Paris; Isabelle Goldringer, INRA, Versailles-Grignon; Ludivine Eloy, CNRS, Montpellier; Laure Emperaire, IRD, Paris; Christian Leclerc Cirad, Montpellier; Sélim Louafi, Cirad, Montpellier; Shawn McGuire, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK; Pierre Martin, Cirad, Montpellier; François Massol, Cemagref, Aix-en-Provence

Associated Researchers:
Guntra Aistara, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary (;
Devra Jarvis, Bioversity International
Mathieu Thomas, Postdoctorant, Département de Sociologie, Université de Groningen, Pays-bas (;

Chloé Violon, thésarde, Laboratoire d’ethnologie et de sociologie comparative (LESC) Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre, UMR 7186 CNRS (;
Jean Wencelius, thésard, Laboratoire d’ethnologie et de sociologie comparative (LESC) Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre, UMR 7186 CNRS (



Plant biodiversity within agricultural ecosystems is a central asset for food security, dietary diversity and ecologically and socially sustainable farming. A key question is how the diversity of seeds and the access to them can be maintained. As human activities have fragmented natural habitats, altered agricultural environments, and facilitated global-scale connections, understanding the diffusion of genetic resources within and among locations has become particularly important. Farmers use, produce, select and conserve biodiversity through their management of seeds, which depends on the ecological and evolutionary processes operating in their fields as well as the flow of seeds among farmers through social exchange. Seed exchange networks thus mediate the diffusion of genetic resources, and integrate natural and social dynamics into the dynamics of agricultural biodiversity.

Network analysis can reveal new relationships between society and biodiversity, and provides a tool that can help support farmers in the maintenance and management of seed flow networks, enabling human communities to adapt to the changing cultural, economic and environmental conditions that characterize our world today.

About the project