The University of Almeria and the Andalusian Regional Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, have signed a protocol to collaborate in the implementation of the Germplasm Bank of unique trees and groves of Almeria, some of them thousands of years old.
The Rector of the UAL, Carmelo Rodríguez, and the Regional Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Carmen Crespo, have been in charge of signing the protocol, which is valid for 4 years, for its implementation. This Germplasm Bank will be included in GERMHUAL, the germplasm bank of CECOUAL (Centre of Scientific Collections of the UAL).
To achieve the general objective, both parties will be responsible for selecting the trees and groves in the province of Almeria, mapping the specimens, studying the environmental conditions in which they are found, studying each specimen in detail, collecting seeds and plant material for vegetative reproduction and the creation of the Germplasm Bank with all the reproductive material collected in order to obtain a genetic reserve of these specimens.
The rector of the University of Almeria, Carmelo Rodríguez, assures that “the creation of this Germplasm Bank is a decisive step towards preserving the valuable natural heritage of the unique trees, also known as monumental, venerable, emblematic, old trees of our province, which have witnessed the events that have marked the course of our communities and even countries. With this bank it will be possible to conserve their genetic value, maintaining their seeds in the medium and long term and being able to cultivate them over the years”.
The rector of the UAL also indicated that “our Centre for Scientific Collections plays a very important role in this task, which will be responsible for the detailed study of the specimens and their environmental conditions, the creation of the herbarium of unique trees and groves of Almeria, the creation of the germplasm bank and its management and the ex situ conservation by creating an arboretum from the seeds collected”.
For her part, Carmen Crespo highlighted the Andalusian Government’s commitment to “making progress in the genetic preservation of our rich plant variety through actions such as the setting up of this germplasm bank and without neglecting, of course, the in situ protection of the trees and groves”. “An example of the Junta’s commitment to environmental protection is that, as part of the Green Revolution that Andalusia has been experiencing over the last three years, we have planned investments to improve and enhance the Cabo de Gata-Níjar and Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Parks, as well as the Almeria area, as well as the Almeria area of the Sierra Nevada National Park”, said the minister, adding that her department has mobilised nearly 2.5 million euros since 2019 “to address the decline of conifers in the province of Almeria”.
Currently, the Junta de Andalucía has catalogued 52 trees and 14 singular groves in the province. This figure may be reduced over the years due to various factors such as pollution, extreme pruning, the presence of parasitic fungi or lack of consideration for the ecology of the species.
As for the actions, the staff of the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development will be in charge of collecting fruits and seeds of the unique trees and groves in the province of Almeria, collecting data and herbarium sheets, updating the list of unique trees in Almeria and proposing new unique trees and groves.
Source: UAL NEWS