Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2011
Publication Date: 8/1/2011
Citation: Dzyunbenko, N., Dzyunbenko, E., Afonin, A.A., Greene, S.L. 2011. Implementing a gap analysis to conserve Caucasus Medicago species for ex situ conservation. Conference Proceedings on Problems of Conserving Biodiversity in the Caucasus Region, Suchumi botanical Garden, Abchazia, Russia, Sept. 15, 2011. p.25-29. Interpretive Summary: This article reviews research carried out using the gap-analysis method to address the problem of conserving wild relatives of cultivated alfalfa in the Caucasus region using ex situ and in situ methods. In this study we found that gaps exist in the major ex situ collections for crop wild relatives of alfalfa. Although the Caucasus region was well represented, areas with little representation were identified, mainly areas with political unrest. Surprisingly, there was a serious gap in ex situ collections for rare and/or vulnerable species, despite the fact that they are close relatives of alfalfa.
Technical Abstract: This paper discusses the results of a Medicago gap analysis of the Former Soviet Union, with a focus on the Caucasus Region. A comprehensive database of 2400 accessions of Medicago crop wild relatives that had been collected in the area of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) was developed. Using the data we developed species distribution maps and species richness maps and carried out a gap analysis. The Caucasus region was well represented, but areas with little representation were identified, mainly areas with political unrest. Surprisingly, there was a serious gap in ex situ collections for rare and/or vulnerable species, despite the fact that they are in the 2° and 3° gene pool of alfalfa. The gap analysis helped us to identify 7 geographic areas that together, represent Medicago species and ecogeographic diversity of the study area. We identified a set of Protected Areas located in these areas, including six that reported among them, the presence of the majority of our targeted Medicago species. This gap analysis has pointed out the next steps that need to be taken to ensure the ex situ and in situ conservation of important Medicago CWR in the area of the Former Soviet Union.