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Abstract

This study investigated the state of the art of traditional, or landrace seeds in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. An ethnographic study was carried out by means of a non-statistical seed sampling in 13 farms from eight municipalities lying in the regions of the Greater Porto Alegre, Serra, Planalto Médio, Depressão Central and Serra do Sudeste. A broad diversity of ancient plants was observed. These species survive in the farms with the help of a seed bank. All in all, 39 plant species were characterized, distributed in 12 families, totaling 258 instances of landrace seeds grown in the farms visited. According to the farmers, the preference for landrace seeds is due chiefly to seed adaptability, better flavor and quality of the produce grown therefrom, valuablezation of customs and lower production costs. As regards seed upkeep, the most common difficulties mentioned were the lack of interest by the younger generations, and the obstacles in swapping and obtaining seeds. Alternatives to the upkeep of traditional seeds developed in different zones were also discussed as choices to plant conservation.

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