WP05: Case study Prunus

This work package will take cherry as a model for in situ conservation of broad-leaved tree species and identify a set of genetic reserves across Europe. Species and population distribution data from the networks described below will be collated by the University of Birmingham. The necessary database structure will be developed by the coordinator utilising information provided by the other work packages. Criteria for the selection of genetic reserves and the selection of priority sites/populations will be discussed with EUFORGEN’s Prunus common action plan working group and agreed (as appropriate) in accord with the scheme developed by the University of Birmingham.  The results will be disseminated to ECPGR’s Prunus Working Group and EUFORGEN’s Scattered Broadleaves Network group members, ideal vehicles for dissemination of information to tree and fruit improvement programmes. The national focal points for the genetic resources programmes will be informed. PGR Forum project guidelines for design, management and monitoring of genetic reserves will be used along with information from other networks to develop species specific guidelines. These will be distributed to the owners/managers of potential genetic reserves to encourage appropriate management and characterisation of the reserves, not purely for conservation purposes but as the reservoirs of genetic material useful for crop improvement. In the UK, the framework required to establish a national genetic reserve will be defined through discussions with the Forestry Commission (the governmental body responsible for policies relating to forestry and forest reproductive materials) and other bodies as necessary. This will contribute to the national concept of a crop wild relative conservation strategy and form part of the European integrated workplan for in situ management of crop wild relatives as a genetic resource.

The further case studies will develop workplans for genetic reserves (GR) according to a similar scheme. The scheme is exemplified here and will not be repeated for the case crop studies Beta, Brassica and Avena. The workplan starts with the identification of the general (importance of this reserve in the context of the species European wide distribution) and specific genetic reserves objectives (value for breeding, specific diversity segment represented in this population only, etc.) reflecting the justification for its establishment. The workplan will then describe the delimitation and shape of the GR and the legal, administrative frame required for its establishment and finally produce a management and monitoring plan with a detailed to-do-list.

A possible site for a Prunus genetic reserve at Branscoombe, South England