WP09: Synthesis and development of common quality standards for genetic reserves

The information resulting from the selection of sites for genetic reserve establishment coming from the case study work packages will be synthesized to provide an overall picture of the locations, habitats and conservation status of the selected sites. In order to achieve this, all the information resulting from the work packages dealing with the case study taxa will be collated and integrated into a Geographic Information System along with thematic layers dealing with environmental condition, use of territory and protected areas. This platform will allow for a synthetic evaluation of the sites selected for genetic reserves for the case study taxa.

A general implementation of genetic reserves for all relevant CWRs in Europe made independently through a single species by species approach would lead to an unmanageable amount of genetic reserves that would be difficult to sustain. Therefore, it is sensible to conclude that the implementation of a network of genetic reserves for CWRs will in time evolve into a network of genetic reserves each containing populations of more than one CWR taxon. In this work package the sites selected for the pilot CWR taxa will be characterised to identify other CWR taxa that also occur in the same habitat and that might be conserved in the same site under the umbrella of the selected taxa. This selection will be carried out taking into account the EUNIS habitat classification and its associated species along with the catalogue of crop wild relatives produced by Fifth Framework Programme PGR Forum project. Thus, the possibility of establishing networks of genetic reserves including CWR taxa that share a common type of habitat will be considered.

Much in the same way the integration of germplasm banks in Europe will only be possible if partner countries agree on a set of minimum quality standards for the preservation of seed accessions, the genetic reserves selected for the in situ conservation of specific CWR taxa should present common baseline features in terms of population structure, management plan, protecting regulations and conservation facilities. These characteristics will be analysed from the results obtained from each crop specific case study and from the synthetic evaluation to produce a minimum set of quality standards for the conservation of CWR taxa in European genetic reserves.

The map shows the Beta species richness on the Spanish part of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands as well as the SCI (Sites of Community Interest) of the Natura 2000 Network that have at least one occurrence (red squares: 1 species, blue squares: 2 species, black squares: 3 species). Analysis combining data of all case crops will be conducted by AEGRO to identify Most Appropriate Areas (MAA) for genetic reserves