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Warwick Wainwright

Warwick is based at the SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) studying the economic value of farm animal genetic resources. Genetic diversity is a crucial element of resilient and sustainable agricultural systems. However, increasingly intensified, high input systems have resulted in a global tendency towards ‘exotic’ breeds due to improved yields. This has resulted in declining Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR); the result being genetic and ecological uniformity. Many breeds underpin our cultural traditions, reflect strong regional identities and produce distinctive products (e.g. hides, cheeses and flavoursome meats). These breeds also serve a range of other purposes within developing countries (e.g. transport, insurance policies, trading mechanisms and preservation of cultural heritage). Furthermore, many indigenous breeds are well adapted to harsh landscapes unsuitable for ‘exotic’ breeds to prosper and their preservation represents the most effective method of farming and contributes to wider landscape conservation goals. During his PhD project Warwick hopes to assess the market and non-market benefits attributed to FAnGR conservation. In particular, an assessment of farmers Willingness To Accept (WTA) conservation policies will be assessed to determine supply and demand side factors underpinning FAnGR. The most appropriate policy mechanisms attributed to breed conservation (e.g. Payments for Ecosystem Services) will be identified, alongside mechanisms to improve the targeting of conservation schemes at specific breeds using a range of suitability criteria outlined in Weitzman’s conservation approach.

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