WP03: Case study landraces

Methodologies to set, manage and monitor genetic reserves for CWRs have been defined by the PGR Forum project group. By contrast much remains to be done for landraces (LRs). The aim of this WP is to recommend an efficient strategy to establish LR conservation areas in EU member states. To define a common base of understanding, the University of Perugia will initially review landrace conservation concepts, since not even a common comprehension of concepts like ‘landrace’ itself, ‘LR under threat’ or ‘biogeographical region of origin/adaptation’ is presently established. Secondly, criteria will be elaborated to be taken into account in delimitating areas which are rich in LRs. This second step will be carried out with a particular focus on those who actually conserve landraces: the resident families of gardeners and farmers. The main criteria to be taken into account are altitudinal belts, pedoclimatic conditions and isolation of the areas. A model strategy for setting conservation areas will be drafted. Thirdly, the model strategy will be applied to the biogeographic regions in Europe for which inventories of LRs have been already established and sufficient documentation about the human and biological environment exists such as in central Italy. This step will test the efficiency of the developed strategy in capturing the maximum of LR diversity with aim of protecting genetic resources for future use. The product will be a recommended strategy that can serve as blueprint for EU member states interested in developing and implementing their own strategies of LR conservation. Fourthly, eventual overlapping of LR reserves areas with CWR reserves established in the other work packages will be assessed in order to define Most Appropriate Areas (MAA) for PGR conservation.

Brassica landraces can also be found in home gardens in Italy. Products from landraces are highly valued by Italian families. (Photo: © V. Negri)
Distribution of landraces in central Italy. Red colours indicate a high, green colours a low LR density within the 20 x 20 km quadrant. (Map: © V. Negri)