Porcuna-Ferrer, A., Fiala, V., Freyer, B., van Etten, J., Vernooy, R., & Probst, L. (2020). Do community seed banks contribute to the social-ecological resilience of communities? A case-study from western Guatemala. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. (PDF, 2MB)

Community seed banks (CSBs) are initiatives to support the conservation and use of 35 diverse crops though locally rooted collective action. The impact of CSBs is assumed to be 36 complex, but has not been investigated in detail. Our study addresses this gap by analysing 37 the impact of CSBs using social-ecological resilience as theoretical framework. We focus 38 on the western highlands of Guatemala where CSBs have been implemented since 2009. 39 We used qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis, including 40 focus groups, participatory workshops, and structured and semi-structured interviews 41 conducted in the local communities with CSB members and non-members. Our results 42 indicate that CSBs contributed to increased seed exchanges, improved access to novel crop 43 diversity, more saving of traditional varieties, and greater information and knowledge 44 access, use and exchange. These effects strengthened the social-ecological resilience of the 45 local communities. The scope of action of the CSBs, however, was constrained by wider 46 socio-economic trends, including social divisions, out-migration of youth, and a change in 47 livelihood strategies. We conclude that for CSBs to effectively strengthen social-ecological 48 resilience in the future, they should be continuously adapted to the local context. 49 Conceptually, our findings call for the further evolution of the CSB concept.