The Hazelnuts and Almonds action studied hazelnut and almond genetic resources across six Member States, enhanced to retrieve and safeguard the acquired traditional knowledge of tree nuts and contributed to their conservation. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary.
The objectives of the action are:
- To increase the knowledge of the European hazelnut and almond germplasm (Corylus avellana and Prunus dulci) in order to enhance its characterisation, preservation and utilisation
- To recover and valorise local endangered germplasm in the traditional productive areas of the Mediterranean basin
- To create a core collection both for hazelnut and almond species
- To set up a web based inventory linked with the major thematic international databases and to create a strong European network
- To promote a wider application of traditional knowledge to raise stakeholders awareness on the values of biodiversity in the framework of the sustainable development.
Actions and means involved
The first action will be a survey on available germplasm and recovery of endangered varieties of hazelnut and almond. This action will include: data acquisition on the genotypes available in ex situ and in situ collections, both at the local and national level. Chemical and genetic characterisation of germplasm will be performed in order to define the genetic profile and validate proper cultivars classification. Emphasis will be put on nutritional and nutraceutical aspects. A questionnaire will be used to pursue the objective of recovering memories of traditional uses and agricultural practices as well as social and historical information.
A specific action will be aimed at the conservation and management of genetic resources: core collections for both almond and hazelnut will be established, taking into account the biodiversity value, the recovery of old varieties and the traditional knowledge linked to them.
The final objective of the project, namely dissemination and exchange of information on traditional use of hazelnut and almond genetic resources in sustainable agricultural systems, will be achieved by developing an interactive web-system. Surveys of available knowledge at all biodiversity levels - genetic, varietal, ecosystemic and landscape - will be carried on.
Relevance to the objectives
Nuts represent economically important crops for the European Community, particularly in the bio-geographic Mediterranean area. The interest towards these species is also related to their excellent nutritional and nutraceutical properties. The cultivation of species such as hazelnut and almond is strongly related to traditions and cultural identity of people, also contributing to a suitable use and recovery of marginal lands. In many regions where these crops are not a major agricultural resource, they represent an interesting source of income for the local sustainable production system, according to a multifunctional concept of agriculture widely supported by the European Union.