Ambiguity in a trans-disciplinary stakeholder assessment of neglected and underutilized species in China, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam

Markus Schmidt, Wei Wei, Anan Polthanee, Nguyen Thanh Lam, Sophal Chuong, Li Juan Qiu, Poramate Banterng, Pham Thi Dung, Stefan Glaser, Ralph Gretzmacher, Veronika Hager, Edwin De Korte, Ying Hui Li, Nguyen The Phuong, Sophoanrith Ro, Zeng Yan Zhang, Hai Fei Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neglected and Underutilized Crop Species (NUS) are grown primarily by traditional farmers in developing countries. They were once more widely grown but are today falling into disuse for a variety of agronomic, genetic, economic and cultural factors. While these crops continue to be maintained by socio-cultural preferences and use practices, most of them remain inadequately characterized and neglected by research and conservation. The aim of our work was to improve the agricultural portfolio by identifying promising neglected and underutilised species in China, Cambodia, Northeastern Thailand and Northern Vietnam. We began with preparing a "Masterlist" containing 260 species, based on farmer interviews and literature review. After an initial pre-selection we identified 17 NUS for China, 13 for Cambodia, 12 for Thailand, and 22 for Vietnam as of highest priority. These NUS then underwent a multi-criteria and trans-disciplinary assessment involving 511 stakeholders such as scientists, farmers, NGOs and policy makers. Based on the assessment we identified the most promising NUS for each country. We also identified some limitations for the promotion of so-called priority NUS regarding to some substancial disagreement between the involved stakeholders. In China and Cambodia, for example, farmers judged the potential of NUS significantly lower than other stakeholders, and in Vietnam scientists and policy makers had substantially different opinions on NUS compared to farmers. Addressing these ambiguous views will be highly relevant to the develoment of an improved agricultural portfolio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1645-1666
Number of pages22
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Neglected and underutilized species
  • Portfolio
  • Thailand
  • Traditional farmers
  • Trans-disciplinary assessment
  • Vietnam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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