Nigel Maxted

Ph.D, Senior lecturer and consultant in Genetic Conservation, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, UK     


Phone:+ 44 (0)121 414 5571

Fax:+44 (0)121 414 5463


Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests: Plant conservation and broader biodiversity conservation and use, with specific expertise in: field conservation, taxonomy, ecogeography, GIS, population sampling, population management, reserve management, on-farm conservation, gene flow and genetic diversity studies of various plant groups. Work experience throughout Africa, the Middle East, Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe.


Current Research Interests:May 2016 to date: Project partner in a Defra Darwin Initiative project concerned with Safeguarding Mesoamerican crop wild relatives.

January 2014 to date: Project partner in an EU ACP Programme project entitled Developing CWR conservation strategies for Southern Africa.

January 2014 to date: Project coordinator in a Norwegian Government project entitled Development of a CWR conservation strategies for Norway

March 2011 to date: Project partner in a Norwegian Government grant of US$ 50M for Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting, and Preparing Crop Wild Relatives.


Training Experience:Extensive undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, as well as vocational and field course training experience in biodiversity conservation, taxonomy and plant genetic resources management.  Supervision of 37 PhD, 7 MPhil, 14 MRes and >100 MSc research projects.


Management Competence:Coordinator / director of national and international research projects addressing in situ and ex situ conservation of plant genetic resources in Europe, Asia and Africa for various international agencies (FAO / IPGRI / World Bank / United Nations). Successful coordination of three large EC funded projects (EU Biotech ESIN, FP5 PGR Forum and FP7 PGR Secure) and regularly works as a consultant for the leading international conservation agencies.  Senior Scientific Advisor for the GEF / World Bank (Plant Genetic Resources Conservation) in Turkey and the Middle East; Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Crop Wild Relative Specialist Group; Chair of the European Cooperative Programme / Genetic Resources In Situ and On Farm Network; Chair of Wild Species Conservation in Genetic Reserves WG; Co-Chair of Task Force for in situ conservation of genetic resources for the Ecosystem Services Partnership; Chair of the U.K. Plant Genetic Resources Group; Honorary research fellow for Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and an Associate Advisor for the British Council in Biodiversity Conservation.  Cumulative research income of €10,635,143. Consultancy income of €880,978.


Publication record:Published over 110 peer review research papers, 120 book chapters, in the last 10 years has written or edited 20 books on various aspects of biodiversity conservation and delivered 15 conference keynote presentations.


Recent Key Publications:

Peer review papers

  1. Phillips, J., Asdal, Å. Magos Brehm, J., Rasmussen, M. & Maxted, N., (2016). In situ and ex situ diversity analysis of priority crop wild relatives in Norway. Diversity and Distributions, DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12470.
  2. Castañeda-Álvarez, N.P., Khoury, C.K., Achicanoy, H.A., Bernau, V. Dempewolf, H., Eastwood, R.J., Guarino, L., Harker, R.H., Jarvis, A., Maxted, N., Müller, J.V. Ramirez-Villegas, J., Sosa1, C.C., Struik, P.C., Vincent, H. & Toll, J., (2016). Global conservation priorities for crop wild relatives. Nature Plants, 15091022A.Fielder, H. Burrows, C. Woodman, J, Ford-Lloyd, B.V & Maxted, N., (2016). Enhancing the conservation of crop wild relatives in Wales. New Journal of Botany, 5(3): 177-190. DOI: 10.1080/20423489.2015.1123965
  3. Castañeda-Álvarez, N.P., Khoury, C.K., Achicanoy, H.A., Bernau, V. Dempewolf, H., Eastwood, R.J., Guarino, L., Harker, R.H., Jarvis, A., Maxted, N., Müller, J.V. Ramirez-Villegas, J., Sosa1, C.C., Struik, P.C., Vincent, H. & Toll, J., (2016). Global conservation priorities for crop wild relatives. Nature Plants, 15091022A.
  4. Fielder, H., Smith, C., Ford-Lloyd, B. and Maxted, N., (2016) Enhancing the conservation of crop wild relatives in Scotland. Journal for Nature Conservation, 29, 51–61.
  5. Jiang, J.F., Kell, S., Fan, X.C., Zhang, Y., Wei, W., Kang, D.M., Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyd, B. & Liu, C.H. (2015). The wild relatives of grape in China: diversity, conservation gaps and impact of climate change. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 210: 50–58.
  6. Kell, S.P., Qin, H., Chen, B., Ford-Lloyd, B.V., Wei, W., Kang, D. & Maxted, N., (2015). China’s crop wild relatives: Diversity for agriculture and food security. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 209: 138–154
  7. Jarvis, S., Fielder, H., Brotherton, P., Hopkins, J.J., Maxted, N. & Smart, S., (2015). Distribution of crop wild relatives of conservation priority in the UK landscape. Biological Conservation, 191: 444–451.
  8. Fielder, H., Brotherton, P., Hosking, J., Hopkins, J.J., Ford-Lloyd, B.V. & Maxted, N., (2015). Enhancing the conservation of crop wild relatives in England. PLOS ONE 10(6): e0130804. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130804
  9. Castañeda-Álvarez, N.P., de Haan, S., Juárez, H., Khoury, C.K., Achicanoy, H.A, Sosa, C.C., Bernau, V., Salas, A., Heider, B., Simon, R., Maxted, N. & Spooner, D.M., (2015) Ex situ conservation priorities for the wild relatives of potato (Solanum L. section Petota). PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0122599.
  10. Vincent, H., Wiersema, J., Kell, S.P., Dobbie, S., Fielder, H., Castañeda Alvarez, N.P., Guarino, L., Eastwood, R., Le?n, B. & Maxted, N., (2013). A prioritised crop wild relative inventory as a first step to help underpin global food security. Biological Conservation, 167: 265-275.


  1. Maxted, N., Ehsan Dulloo, M. and Ford-Lloyd, B.V. (eds.) (2016). Enhancing Crop Genepool Use: Capturing Wild Relative and Landrace Diversity for Crop Improvement. CAB International, Wallingford, UK. ISBN-13: 978-1-78064-613-8  
  2. Maxted, N., Dulloo, M.E., Ford-Lloyd, B.V., Frese, L., Iriondo, J.M. & Pinheiro de Carvalho, M.A.A., (eds.) (2012). Agrobiodiversity Conservation: Securing the Diversity of Crop Wild Relatives and Landraces. CAB International, Wallingford. ISBN 978-1-84593-099-8.
  3. Veteläinen, M., Negri, V. & Maxted, N. (eds.), (2009). European Landraces: On-farm conservation, Management and Use. Bioversity Technical Bulletin 15. Pp. 1-359. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy. ISBN: 978-92-9043-805-2.
  4. Iriondo, J.M., Maxted, N. & Dulloo, E. (eds.), (2008). Conserving Plant Genetic Diversity in Protected Areas: Population Management of Crop Wild Relatives. CAB International, Wallingford. ISBN: 97-818-459328-24.
  5. Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyd, B.V., Kell, S.P., Iriondo, J., Dulloo, E. & Turok, J. (eds.), (2008). Crop wild relative conservation and use. CAB International, Wallingford. ISBN: 97-818-4593099-8.
  6. Hawkes, J.G., Maxted, N. & Ford-Lloyd, B.V., (2000). The ex situ conservation of plant genetic resources. pp. 1-250. Kluwer, Dordrecht. ISBN 0-7923-6442-2.
  7. Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyd, B.V. & Hawkes, J.G. (eds.), (1997). Plant genetic conservation: the in situ approach. Chapman & Hall, London. pp. 451. ISBN 0-412-63400-7.


Keynote Abstract

Using Crop Wild Relative Diversity to Underpin Global Food Security

N. Maxted, H. Vincent, N. Castañeda Alvarez, S. Kell, and J. Magos Brehm

Ensuring global food security in the face of climate change is critical to human survival. With a predicted human population of 9.6 billion in 2050, it is necessary to increase food supplies by 60% globally, while over the same time period the IPCC predicts climate change will reduce crop production by 14%.  One potential solution is new climate smart varieties created using the breadth of diversity inherent in crop wild relatives (CWR). Yet globally CWR are threatened, with 16% regarded as threatened and 4% critically endangered and they are also significantly under-conserved. A thirdhave no ex situ collections, a third have <10 ex situ collections and 72% are a high priority for immediate collection (Castañeda et al., 2016) and in situ CWR conservation is virtually non-existent, with only a handful of active CWR populations conserved in Europe. Drawing recommendations from recent research, the following points are highlighted. (1) Global CWR conservation policy is currently ineffective: there is no global agency with responsibility for integrated CWR conservation; (2) CWR conservation is complex involving multiple stakeholders but their lack of cohesions is limiting use, it is imperative diverse communities work together to plan and implement more systematic conservation/use; (3) in situ CWR conservation is seriously under-resourced and there is a need to re-balance conservation strategies (without detriment to ex situ activities); (4) improved CWR use can only follow from improved systematic CWR conservation planning and (5) conservation action, applying an integrated conservation and use approach is desirable; (6) CWR are widely underutilised in crop breeding and a modus operandi for more systematic use of CWR diversity from in situ sites using genomic, predictive characterisation and data management tools is required; (7) CWR are also underutilised because of the difficulty of breeders access and there is a policy imperative to simplify CWR accessibility; (8) it is unlikely farmers will utilise CWR diversity directly themselves but PPP pre-breeding projects can provide CWR enhanced lines for participatory breeding that could secure traditional farmers varieties; (9) Genetic Resource Centres need to refocus their attention on improving their efforts to serve user’s needs, not just maintaining accessions in genebanks, but stepping up to lead management of conserved ex situ and in situ resources and meeting farmers and breeders needs. Finally, Vincent et al. (2017) have recently identified the global priority sites for in situ CWR conservation and proposed the establishment of the N.I. Vavilov CWR Network of in situ conservation in honour of the founding father of plant genetic resource conservation, the Russian scientist N.I. Vavilov, achieving this goal by 2025 is feasible if we work together now.