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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » National Germplasm Resources Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321385

Title: Collaboration between the US Forest Service and the USDA Agricultural Research Service on the complementary conservation of crop wild relatives in the United States

item Williams, Karen
item STRITCH, LARRY - Forest Service (FS)
item ZALAPA, JUAN - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item HUMMER, KIM - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item RODRIGUEZ-BONILLA, LORRAINE - University Of Wisconsin

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Two USDA agencies, the Forest Service (USFS) and the Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) are cooperating on the complementary conservation of crop wild relatives (CWR) native to the United States. The USFS manages 193 million acres of National Forest System lands in 43 states and provides support in the management of the nation’s privately owned forests. The USDA-ARS coordinates the US National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), which collects, maintains, distributes, and evaluates genetic resources of plant species important to U.S. and global agriculture. The agencies have joined forces in the conservation of CWR both in natural environments (in situ) and in genebanks (ex situ). Of the CWR native to the U.S., the emphasis for these projects is on taxa related to food crops. A strategic framework establishes two approaches, one focusing on conserving the CWR of one specific crop, and another on CWR of multiple crops within the boundaries of a specific protected area. A pilot study for the first approach concerns the wild relatives of cranberry; the large cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) and the small cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos L.). Populations of these species are being studied on National Forests and will be prioritized for designation as In Situ Genetic Resource Reserves (IGRRs). This designation will be based on location, distance from other populations, sustainability, population size, genetic profile, ease of access, and cultural significance to Native Americans. Long-term management plans will be implemented by the USFS to monitor, manage, and safeguard the security of the populations. Representative germplasm will be maintained as seedlots and plants by the NPGS at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon. A goal for the future is to expand the study to populations outside the National Forest System to encompass broader genetic diversity of the wild cranberry species. This approach could also be applied to the CWR of grapes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, hops, sunflowers, pecans and other native crops.