Skip to content

Sector Specific Portals

Why in situ conservation of CWR?

In situ conservation of CWR

Nearly 2,500 of the over 3,600 species of our native flora are wild species related to our cultivated plants or potentially useful for food and agriculture. Many of these crop wild relatives (CWR) are not only part of our ecosystems, but also constitute an important resource for plant breeding. Plant breeders use the genetic characteristics of these wild species to improve modern crop varieties.

The natural populations of these wild species are increasingly threatened by climate change and other causes. The best way to conserve wild species is to preserve or restore viable populations in their natural sites, i.e. in situ. There they will have the possibility to continue their adaptation to changing environmental conditions. This ensures the preservation of their genetic diversity and teir availability as a resource for plant breeding also in the future. They are preferably conserved through nature conservation measures at their natural sites (in situ) and additionally in genebanks (ex situ). A list of priority CWR species serves as basis for setting conservation priorities.