Guidelines for Evaluation of Seed (Genetic) Sites of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Lithuania

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Abstract

The aim of the study is to discuss and establish tentative guidelines for the original selection and evaluation of genetic sites for in situ conservation of medicinal and aromatic plant genetic resources in Lithuania and provide baseline recommendations for their management and monitoring. The methodology applied is largely based on the one used in crop wild relative conservation in situ. Three groups of criteria, including species, site and threat assessment, are used on a 5-point evaluation scale to evaluate genetic sites, with ‘5’ representing the highest quality or state and ‘1’ representing the lowest quality or state. Top ten criteria are selected out of more than twenty those discussed for the application in genetic site evaluation. Four of these pertain to target species: species number and cover abundance (20% weight), number of red-listed species (10%), number of cultivated/CWR species (10%), distinctive properties of populations (10%); two to site: area size (5%), protected area status (15%); and four to threat assessment: open site overgrowth with woody plant species (5%), mechanical damage of soil surface (5%), abundance of invasive non-native species (10%) and abundance of problematic native species (10%). Then, a weighted summing up is made to get an overall evaluation of a genetic site. For long-term conservation only sites scored not less than three points on average are recommended. An interpretation of final evaluation scores is also provided. Baseline recommendations for genetic site management focus on intervention measures, while those for monitoring – on periodicity of evaluation and some organizational aspects of implementation.

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