In Situ Conservation

The recent application of in situ conservation projects within the framework of GEF aims to maintain the wild crop genetic resources in their natural habitats in existing state-owned lands. This project is the first of its kind in the in situ world to address both woody and non-woody crop relatives from an integrated multispecies and multisite approach.20 This has been done through conducting ecogeographical surveys and inventories to provide bases for establishment of in situ Gene Management Zones (GMZs) in selected pilot areas that are rich in target wild crop relatives. The highest priorities have been given to globally significant non-woody crop species which are in the first gene pool of cereals (wheat and barley) and legumes (Vicia and Lens), as well as important woody species such as chestnut, plums, and selected forest species. The project has initiated and developed a mechanism to foster the ongoing National Plant Genetic Resources Research Program for identifying, designating and managing areas specifically for in situ conservation of nationally and globally significant wild crop relatives which have originated in Turkey.2 The project has also aimed to integrate in situ conservation with existing ex situ conservation programs in Turkey.

The project uses the complementary strengths of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), with experience in genetic resources activities, especially in ex situ conservation, the Ministry of Forestry (MOF), which has experience in land management, and the Ministry of Environment (MOE), which has a strategic outlook on resource management. MARA and MOF are the implementing ministries of the In situ Conservation Project. The lead institute of MARA, the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) coordinates activities for in situ conservation projects and collaborates with other related research institutes. The pilot areas have been selected, and designated as: The Kaz Dag Area of the northwestern Aegean Region; Ceylanpinar in southeastern Turkey; the mountains of southern Anatolia on the southern part of the Anatolian diagonal.

The project has been designated around the following five components:

1. Site survey and inventories;

2. Designation of GMZs;

3. Data management;

4. Development of a National Plan for in situ conservation;

5. Institutional strengthening within and between MARA, MOF and MOE.

The project started in 1993 with training of the project staff of MARA, MOF and MOE. The survey activities have been completed at three designated areas, and the GMZs have already been identified according to the results of survey and inventory and genetic variation analysis.21-27

In 1995, IPGRI, together with national programs in nine countries, formulated a global project to strengthen the scientific basis of in situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity. Nine countries involved in the project are: Burkino Faso, Ethiopia, Nepal, Vietnam, Peru, Mexico, Morocco, Turkey and Hungary. The main objectives of the project are:

1. To support the development of a framework of knowledge on farmer decision—making processes that influences—in situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity;

2. To strengthen national institutions for planning a new implementation of conservation programs for agricultural biodiversity; and

3. To broaden the use of agricultural biodiversity and participation in its conservation by farming communities and other groups.

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