WP06: Case study Beta

The ECP/GR Beta working group has recommended establishing genetic reserves for the rare species (B. patula, B. nana) and cytotypes of the genus Beta (B. macrocarpa, 4x) as well as for selected populations of B. vulgaris subsp. maritima. Suitable sites were suggested and local partners willing to facilitate the establishment of genetic reserves have been identified. However, decisions should be based on a dispassionate overview of European and national conservation efforts to allow optimal use of the limited funds for conservation. The work will therefore commence with the systematic collation of the species and population distribution data using the International Database for Beta as a starting point. Data will be jointly sourced with University of Birmingham. The necessary database structure will be developed by the coordinator. Prioritisation of species and populations will be done according to a scheme developed by University of Birmingham and the results be discussed with the ECPGR Beta working group members. Depending on the output of the prioritisation work sites possibly suited to establish genetic reserves in the EU will be recommended and the national focal points for the genetic resources programmes be informed. Following steps already described by the case study Prunus the species specific guidelines for genetic reserves will be elaborated taking into account the specific biological features of 10 Beta species and their habitats. In the case of Beta patula, a very advanced GR work plan planning will be elaborated by the University of Madeira and if agreed by the Natura 2000 manager of Ilhu do Desembarcadouro set into action.

Beta patula Aiton is a rare endemic species inhabiting two islands of the Archipelago of Maderia, including the Deserta and Madeira islands. Biennial plant stems up to 30 cm, branching freely from the base, the branches spreading or ascending. The photo show an aspect of the Ilheu dos Desembarcadores.