On behalf of the Organizing committee, it is our pleasure to invite you to Montpellier in June 2019 for the Third Jack R. Harlan International Symposium Dedicated to the Origins of Agriculture and the Domestication, Evolution, and Utilization of Genetic Resources.
The First Harlan Symposium was held at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) at Aleppo, Syria, 10-14 May 1997, as a tribute to Jack R. Harlan who was an American botanist and agronomist (1917-1998). The Second Harlan Symposium was held 10-14 September 2008 at University of California (UC Davis) at Davis, USA. J.R. Harlan was a pioneer in the study of the origin of agriculture and crops, showing the importance of the relationship between the activity resulting from human development and the evolution of agricultural biodiversity. His most famous book, "Crops and Man", 1975, remains a reference and has been the bedside book of generations of students in plant breeding, especially in France, where J.R. Harlan’s influence was very strong in the scientific community dealing with plant genetic resources.
In many respects, the history of agriculture and genetic resources could be a preview of the future facing the (still) wild world in the Anthropocene era: the evolution of populations, species and communities under human-imposed selection pressures and in artificialized environments, marked by dramatic changes in landscapes and by tensions in governance systems. Agriculture is a strong driver of anthropogenic global change. It must also be an important part of solutions to minimize human impact on the biosphere. With increasing recognition of the necessity for ways of farming that preserve biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (nature-based solutions, agroecology, biodiversity-friendly agriculture), genetic resources—collectively, agrobiodiversity—have taken on new functions. They are called upon to enhance not only the provisioning of food but also other ecosystem services, such as the conservation of biodiversity in mosaic landscapes and mitigation of the impact of climate change.
Since the 2nd J.R. Harlan Symposium in 2008, due to dramatic progress in biological sciences, we know more about agricultural trajectories of past and contemporaneous societies, the diversity and adaptive potential of genetic resources and their management in its technical, social and political dimensions. Owing both to this progress and to the changing expectations of farmers and consumers, our research questions on these themes have evolved.
The third Harlan symposium will highlight the major advances in knowledge on these themes and draw attention to emerging issues in the history of agriculture and the evolution, conservation and use of genetic resources. It will maintain the originality of the Harlan symposium series by emphasizing the multidisciplinary aspects of the science (from archeology to genetics and agroecology), the variety of biological models (plants, animals, microorganisms) and the broad temporal scale (from the origin of agriculture to the current problems of use of agricultural biodiversity).
We look forward to meeting you in Montpellier in 2019.
The Organizing Committee