ChapterPDF Available

Ex situ conservation of plant diversity in the Mediterranean islands: the role of the Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR)



Content may be subject to copyright.
Ex situ conservation of plant diversity
in the Mediterranean islands:
the role of the Sardinian
Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR)
Marco Porceddu, Andrea Santo, Rosangela Picciau,
Valentina Murru & Gianluigi Bacchetta
Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente,
Università degli Studi di Cagliari. Viale Sant’Ignazio da Laconi, 11-13, 09123 Cagliari, Italy.
Sardinia is the second-largest island (after Sicily) in the Mediterranean Sea and it is situated in
the western part of the Basin. Its isolation and high geological and geomorphological diversity
have contributed to create a wide range of habitats, with high levels of endemism, especially on
its mountain massifs, where conditions of ecological insularity occur (Médail & Quézel, 1997;
Bacchetta et al., 2012).
  taxa to
taxa has raised
approximately up to 3000 (Bacchetta et al., unpublished data). Bacchetta et al. (2005) have listed
347 endemic taxa, with 45.8% of exclusive Sardinian endemics. Several taxa of the Sardinian
and other catalogues of protection (Pontecorvo, 2009).
The Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR) is part of the Centre for the Conservation of
main objective is the conservation, study and management of germplasm of Sardinian endemic,
threatened and policy species inserted in the Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC, CITES and Bern
convention (Mattana et al., 2012; Fenu et al., 2015). BG-SAR participates in international
seed conservation consortia, such as the European Native Seed Conservation Network
(ENSCONET;, the Network of Mediterranean plant conservation
centres (GENMEDA; and, at national level, it is a founding member of the
Italian Network of Germplasm Banks for the Ex Situ Conservation of Native Flora (RIBES; www.
BG-SAR takes part in consortia created ad hoc for international projects, such as ‘Ensuring
the survival of endangered island plants in the Mediterranean’ (funded by the MAVA Foundation;
Porceddu M., Santo A., Picciau R., Murru V. & Bacchetta G., 2015. Ex situ conservation of plant diversity in the Mediterranean islands: the role of
the Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR). In: Mariotti M. & Magrini S. (Eds.), Conservation of threatened species: activities and collaborations
within the network. RIBES Series 1: 27-30.
28 and ECOPLANTMED ‘Ecological use of native plants for environmental
restoration and sustainable development in the Mediterranean region’ (funded by the European
Community ENPI CBC Med Programme; Moreover, a memorandum of
collaboration (MoC) is active from 2006 with the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (UK) in order to
duplicate seed lots of endangered and endemic Sardinian taxa.
Every year, the BG-SAR publishes the Index Seminum (, the catalogue
             
To date, BG-SAR preserved approximately 2,500 seed lots (see in Fig. 2 the base collection
at the BG-SAR) of which ca. 210 belonging to exclusive endemics of Sardinia and ca. 60 listed
in the Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC. Since 2006, BG-SAR sent 225 taxa for the MoC and 200
taxa for the ‘Ensuring the survival of endangered island plants in the Mediterranean’ projects as
duplicates to Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew in order to ensure the survival of endangered plants
in the Mediterranean islands.
The duplication of the seed collections involves also other research centres and germplasm
banks, such as the University of Catania, Pisa, Roma and Palermo, all of them members of the
RIBES network, the Centro para la Investigación y Experimentación Forestal (CIEF) of Valencia,
Islands) in Spain, and the Mediterranean Plant Conservation Unit of MAICh (Mediterranean
Agronomic Institute of Chania) in Greece.
To evaluate the viability of the stored seed lots and to deepen studies on germination ecology
of endangered species, germination tests are steadily conducted from 2006 to date, with
particular focus on Sardinian exclusive endemics and policy plant species.
FIGURE 1. The CCB Team
The cooperation among germplasm banks of different regions and countries, as well as the
duplication of the seed collections of various research institutes, is a valid method for a greater
and more effective ex situ conservation and it will allow in the next future to increase the number
of taxa effectively protected.
 
della Sardegna. Informatore Botanico Italiano 37: 306–307.
rankings for conservation. Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid 69: 81–89.
Fenu G., Fois M., Cogoni D., Porceddu M., Pinna M.S., Lombraña A.C., Nebot A., Sulis E., Picciau R., Santo A.,
Murru V., Orrù M., Bacchetta G., 2015. The Aichi Biodiversity Target 12 at regional level: an achievable
goal? Biodiversity. DOI:10.1080/14888386.2015.1062423
         
Bouvet D., Bovio M., Brusa G., Del Guacchio E., Foggi B., Frattini S., Galasso G., Gallo L., Gangale C.,
Gottschlich G., Grünanger P., Gubellini L., Iiriti G., Lucarini D., Marchetti D., Moraldo B., Peruzzi L.,
Poldini L., Prosser F., Raffaelli M., Santangelo A., Scassellati E., Scortegagna S., Selvi F., Soldano A.,
FIGURE 2. Base collection at -25°C
Natura Vicentina 10: 5–74.
Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (Eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian Vascular
Flora. Palombi Editori, Roma, Italia. 420 pp.
Mattana E., Fenu G., Bacchetta G., 2012. Regional responsibility for plant conservation: The 2010 GSPC
Target 8 in Sardinia. Plant Biosystems 146: 649–653.
Médail F., Quézel P., 1997. Hot-spots analysis for conservation of plant biodiversity in the Mediterranean
Basin. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 84: 112–127.
Pontecorvo C. (Ed.), 2009. Guida dell’Orto Botanico di Cagliari. Dip. Scienze Botaniche Università degli
Studi di Cagliari. Coedisar, Cagliari. 223 pp.
Rossi G., Orsenigo S., Montagnani C., Fenu G., Gargano D., Peruzzi L., Wagensommer R.P., Foggi B., Bacchetta
G., Domina G., Conti F., Bartolucci F., Gennai M., Ravera S., Cogoni A., Magrini S., Gentili R., Castello M.,
of policy species as a case study. Oryx. DOI:10.1017/S003060531500006X
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
The Aichi Biodiversity Target 12 aims to prevent the extinction risk of known threatened species and to improve their conservation status by 2020. We present the integrated strategy implemented in the last 10 years for the keystone plant species of Sardinia (Italy, W. Mediterranean Basin), which includes the following activities: conservation status assessment (following the IUCN protocol), ex situ conservation, in situ monitoring and active protection measures. To date, an average of 51.8% of keystone plant species have been subjected to the latter first three activities while, due to the higher costs, only few active conservation measures have been carried out. Considering the activities realised since 2004, we have also predicted the conservation effectiveness towards 2020 and have elaborated an index to evaluate it. Halfway through the strategic plan, we argue that more efforts are needed to guarantee the effective conservation of all threatened plants in Sardinia.
Full-text available
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and its isolation and high geological diversity have created a wide range of habitats with high levels of endemism, especially on its mountain massifs, where there are conditions of ecological insularity. In this study the exclusive endemic flora of Sardinia has been updated to 168 taxa, 139 of which are species, 23 subspecies, 4 varieties and 2 hybrids, belonging to 37 families and 72 genera. Despite this rich biodiversity and the threats to these species, few biological conservation studies have been carried out up to now. A conservation project for the most threatened exclusive endemic species of Sardinia was therefore funded in 2007 by the “Regione Autonoma della Sardegna���. To categorize these species of conservation interest, a priority list was created by applying 11 parameters based on rarity, threats and protection status. This work allowed the identification of the most threatened species of the Sardinian endemic flora. Cerdeña es la segunda isla más grande del Mediterráneo y su aislamiento y la gran diversidad geológica han originado una amplia gama de hábitats que albergan un elevado número de endemismos, especialmente en los macizos, donde se dan condiciones de insularidad ecológica. En este estudio se ha actualizado el catálogo de la flora endémica exclusiva de Cerdeña, que está integrada por 168 táxones, de los cuales 139 son especies, 23 subespecies, 4 variedades y 2 híbridos, pertenecientes a 37 familias y 72 géneros. A pesar de esta rica biodiversidad y de las amenazas para estas especies, son pocos los estudios de biología de la conservación que se han llevado a cabo hasta ahora. Por lo tanto, la "Regione Autonoma della Sardegna" financió en 2007 un proyecto de conservación de las especies endémicas exclusivas de Cerdeña más amenazadas. Para clasificar el estado de conservación de estas especies, se ha creado una lista de prioridades mediante la aplicación de 11 pará - metros basados en los criterios de rareza, amenaza y estado de protección. Este trabajo ha permitido identificar la mayoría de las especies amenazadas de la flora endémica de Cerdeña.
Full-text available
The collections stored at the Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR) were analysed to verify if setting conservation priorities on the exclusive endemic flora of Sardinia (Italy) would make it possible to reach the 2010 GSPC Target 8. By 2010, 39.9% of the exclusive-endemics of Sardinia, 43.1% of the BGCI European threatened species and 65.0% of the taxa listed in Annex II of DIR 92/43/EEC present on the island had been stored in BG-SAR. Of the stored plants, 40% of those listed in the DIR 92/43/EEC, and only 25.69% of the BGCI threatened plants are represented by an adequate number of populations. For a few of the stored threatened plants (ca. 36%), and for 60% of the DIR 92/43/EEC ones, at least one seedlot with more than 5000 seeds is available. These data indicate that focusing on exclusive endemics gave a substantial, although not decisive, contribution towards the achievement of the 2010 GSPC Target 8 in Sardinia, and that more efforts are needed to guarantee the effective long-term conservation of these threatened taxa with the aim of reaching the 2020 GSPC target.
Full-text available
La Sardegna, a causa dell’insularità e dell’elevata biodiversità ecosistemica, risulta ricca di unità tassonomiche endemiche ed in particolar modo lo sono i suoi massicci montuosi per effetto dell’orofitismo. Si determina quindi, specialmente per le montagne a litologia carbonatica, una condizione di insularità ecologica che crea un effetto hot spot. Tali condizioni, unitamente alla peculiare evoluzione filogenetica della flora endemica sarda, permettono di riferire i territori in oggetto alla regione biogeografica mediterranea, subregione mediterranea occidentale e provincia sardo- corsa. Il riconoscimento di una provincia biogeografica autonoma si fonda su un elevato contingente di unità tassonomiche paleoendemiche esclusive delle due isole e sulla presenza di due generi endemici monotipici: Morisia Gay e Nananthea DC. Questi dati testimoniano la grande valenza del contingente endemico della Sardegna e al tempo stesso giustificano questo contributo.
The conservation of species listed in the Bern Convention and European Directive 1992/43/EEC (so-called policy species) is mandatory for European Union (EU) countries. We assessed the conservation status of Italian policy species, based on the IUCN categories and criteria, to evaluate the effectiveness of existing protection measures at the national level. Among the 203 vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens evaluated, 41.9% are categorized as threatened, and one is already extinct, indicating that the protection measures for policy species are inadequate. Our results for the Italian policy species are consistent with those of an assessment at the EU level. Conservation priorities should be established at both the national and regional scales. An effective conservation strategy is needed, and in situ and ex situ actions focused on threatened species should be promoted.
Due to the increase of human impact on the world scale, there is an urgent need to identify the sectors of the greatest biodiversity that are also the most endangered. Examination of the plant biodiversity of the five regions with a mediterranean climate (SW Australia, the Cape region of South Africa, California, mediterranean Chile, and the Mediterranean basin) clearly demonstrates their key role in the world context. The delimitation and definition of 10 red alert areas or 'hot-spots' situated in the Mediterranean basin and in Macaronesia are explained in detail. The 10 sectors identified are: the Canary Islands and Madeira, the High and Middle Atlas mountains, the Baetic-Rifan complex, the Maritime and Ligurian Alps, the Tyrrhenian Islands, Southern and Central Greece, Crete, Anatolia and Cyprus, the Syria-Lebanon-Israel area and, lastly, the Cyrenaic Mediterranean. There are two main centers of biodiversity in the Mediterranean basin: one in the west that includes the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco, and one in the East that includes Turkey and Greece. This analysis demonstrates the uniqueness and fragility of the island habitats.
Guida dell'Orto Botanico di Cagliari. Dip. Scienze Botaniche Università degli Studi di Cagliari
  • C Pontecorvo
Pontecorvo C. (Ed.), 2009. Guida dell'Orto Botanico di Cagliari. Dip. Scienze Botaniche Università degli Studi di Cagliari. Coedisar, Cagliari. 223 pp.
An annotated checklist of the Italian Vascular Flora
  • F Conti
  • G Abbate
  • A Alessandrini
Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (Eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian Vascular Flora. Palombi Editori, Roma, Italia. 420 pp.