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Conservation of forest biodiversity in Sicily: contribution of the University of Palermo Germplasm Bank (Italy)

  • Authors: Palla, F.; Raimondo, F.; Scialabba, A.
  • Publication year: 2017
  • Type: Abstract in atti di convegno pubblicato in rivista
  • OA Link:


Germplasm Banks dedicated to the wild plants seeds conservation play a unique role in integrating the in situ conservation of endemic, rare or endangered plant species. One of the missions of the Seed Bank of the University of Palermo (HBP-Bank) is to support the conservation of biodiversity with particular attention to the spectrum of genetic diversity of plants belonging to Mediterranean habitat. Abies nebrodensis (Lojac.) Mattei is an relict species, consisted of 30 natural individuals, gathered in a small area of the Madonie Natural Park in Sicily (1500 -1600 m above s.l.), recorded on the checklist “TOP 50 Mediterranean Island Plants”. It is also one of eight conifers species critically endangered because of reproductive biology issues. A. nebrodensis species has been monitored in situ in order to evaluate the state of conservation of natural population and to implement the number of individuals. Its preservation has been integrated since 1994 with ex situ conservation of 83 accessions in the HBP-Bank in the long-term conservation conditions. The scientific strength of HBP germplasm collection is supported by the results of several studies on taxonomy, seed biology and genetic diversity. The embryonic loss observed into the seeds produced in natural environment can reduce the genetic variability of germplasm collection. This study, carried out on the A. nebrodensis population, demonstrates that a five-year planning is needed to collect enough seed to represent the genetic variability intra-population. This seed collection scheme can represent a useful tool to apply on other forest endangered species spread in Sicily and in the Mediterranean area.