The Crop biodiversity action enhanced methodologies and techniques to improve crop specific management of Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) and landraces diversity in situ and on-farm based on the genetic reserves concept. Four crops were selected for crop-specific case studies. The action revealed the constraints of creating genetic reserves; a list of 52 sites in 11 Member States was suggested for establishing genetic reserves within protected areas. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary
The objectives of the action are:
- To develop crop specific in situ management (ISM) work plans based on the genetic reserve (GR) concept
- To identify sites suited to organise genetic reserves
- Case crop studies to reveal constraints impairing the application of the GR concept
- A Geographic Informatic System (GIS) analysis of GR sites will discover the most appropriate areas where a high amount of diversity can be maintained at good cost-value ratio
- To develop generic technical guidelines and quality standards for genetic reserves
- To develop data base tools required for population management and monitoring and integration of these tools in existing information systems
- Results will be used to improve the generic concepts and methodologies launched by the accomplished Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) Forum project and to establish a web-based help desk function for the development of national Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) and landraces ISM strategies.
Actions and means involved
The partners bring together the knowledge and infrastructure required to implement the AEGRO action successfully.
The action will be implemented by 9 partners and is composed of 4 cross-cutting tasks and 5 crop specific work packages (WPs).The knowledge of the partners is complementary and only in a few segments overlapping.
- WP1 is dedicated to the overall coordination and project management.
- WP2 targets the provision of generic concepts and methodologies, web-based help function for case studies. This WP will provide training and assist the WP leaders/partners in the data sourcing, planning and implementation of their WPs.
- WP3 focuses on the case study landraces.
- WP5 focuses on the case study Prunus.
- WP6 focuses on the case study Beta.
- WP7 focuses on the case study Brassica:
- WP8 focuses on the case study Avena. The crop specific WP will provide two kinds of deliverables, a European wide list of recommended GR sites, and a detailed work plan for the organisation of a single to few GRs by genus.
- WP9 targets the GIS, quality aspects, synthesis. The WP will identify the Most Appropriate Areas from the biological and cost-value ratio point of view, develop quality standards for GR and provide a basis for a GR network in the Member States.
- Finally, WP10 aims at the documentation and information. The projected development of European Central Crop Databases (ECCDBs) as central coordination instruments for ISM is the task of WP10. The WP leader will make the code via CropForge available under public license for re-use by any of the 52 ECCDBs existing in Europe.
Relevance to the objectives
The coordination (WP1) is essential, the effort calculated with 3 PM per year. The WP2 provides the case study leaders with knowledge compiled by the large PGR Forum project group in a concise manner. It is the conceptional backbone, as such essential, but even more important can continue to act as backbone for future crop cases after the end of AEGRO project.
The crops represent different habitats (landrace / agro-ecosystem) or management frameworks. Prunus provides a case for collaboration with the EUFORGEN while Avena, Beta and Brassica stand for agricultural CWR occurring within or outside protected areas. They are examples for collaboration with the Natura2000 programme and/or local landowners. Altogether they represent the European cooperative programme for crop genetic resources networks (ECP/GR) coordinating groups (Avena- cereals, Beta- sugar, starch and fibre, Brassica – vegetables, Prunus- fruit).
The case studies are indispensable for the AEGRO knowledge transfer into the ECP/GR.
WP9 is required to improve the cost-value ratio of the GR concept and will provide the concepts for a realistic and sustainable integrated European ISM work plan. AEGRO’s future depends on this WP.
A project without efficient data documentation (WP10) is unthinkable nowadays.
The partners bring together the knowledge and infrastructure required to implement the AEGRO successfully.