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Commission for the Conservation of Plant Resources

The aim of building a net of seed banks for rare or endemic species around the Mediterranean is slowly becoming a reality. A new breed of small seed banks is now in operation, much better adapted to the management of wild material, and using much more reliable seed preservation methods, than the large, traditional institutions. In the Iberian Peninsula, the network is now almost fully implemented with seed banks in Madrid (2), Lisbon, Córdoba, Las Palmas (Canary Islands), Blanes (Gerona) and Sóller (Mallorca). In other parts of the Mediterranean area, seed banks are found in Porquerolles and Palermo. Since 1992 T. Ekim has been supervising a project on the collection of seeds of Turkish endemics, with the participation of 30 botanists. Half of the endemics have already been collected and the seeds have been deposited in the seed bank at Izmir.

In 1994 the database on "Current research on the biology of threatened plant species of the Mediterranean basin and Macaronesia" by J.M. Iriondo, C. Gómez-Campo and L.J. De Hond was published as volume 4 of the serial "Bocconea". The database, containing information on endangered and vulnerable species, was compiled through questionnaires distributed by Commission members among botanical institutions of their respective countries. The questionnaire was also included in the OPTIMA Newsletter and the European edition of "Botanic Gardens Conservation News". It includes 281 species belonging to 56 families. The database is currently being transferred into a new data structure managed in "Access for Windows" and will obviously be open to additions and updates in the future.

At the Commission meeting held at the XI OPTIMA Meeting in Belgrade in September 2004, three priority areas of action were outlined. The first area involves the creation of new seed banks in the Mediterranean region and the establishment of a network of Mediterranean seed banks. In this respect, Commission members will compile a complete inventory of seed banks in the Mediterranean area, and funds will be sought for the organization of a workshop coordinating actions among these seed banks. In this line, two EU-funded projects entitled ENSCONET (European Native Seed Conservation Network) and GENMEDOC (Genetic Resources of the western Mediterranean) were approved in 2004. The second priority area is the conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants in the Mediterranean. IPGRI will be contacted and asked to revitalize these activities in the Mediterranean, and a meeting is to be organised with specialists and institutions working in this field. The third priority is the creation of a databank on selected genera of wild relatives of crops. Contacts will be made with the aim of continuing current efforts (PGR Forum Network) with emphasis on the Mediterranean region.

For further information, please contact Commission's Secretary (2001-2007):


Commission for the Conservation of Plant Resources


D. Zohary
Dept. of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, ISRAEL
Tel: 972-2585390; Fax: 972-2792613


M. Awishai, Jerusalem
A. Benabid, Sale
M. Caixinhas, Lisboa
T. Ekim, Ankara
E. Gabrielian, Erevan
C. Gómez-Campo, Madrid
P. Hanelt, Gatersleben
V. Heywood, Reading
J. M. Iriondo, Madrid
E. Lanfranco, Sliema
Ch.Leon, Kew
P. Mazzola, Palermo
B. de Montmollin, Neuchâtel
L. Olivier, Hyères
S. Peccenini Gardini, Genova
D. Peev, Sofia
A. Santos Guerra,
Puerto de la Cruz
A. Tiniakou, Patras
R. Vogt, Berlin

Page editors. This page last updated 1 September, 2007.