Examples and applied use

Crambe feuillei A.Santos, an European Critically Endangered (CR) wild relative of the oil producing and fodder crop, C. abyssinica R.E.Fr. (Arnoldo Santos Guerra)

As part of an initiative to publish the first European Red List, regional assessments of 591 European CWR species in 25 priority crop gene pools/groups were undertaken (see Bilz et al. 2011, Kell et al. 2012). The assessment process involved the collaboration of more than 70 experts who had good knowledge of the national flora of their countries and/or of a particular taxonomic group. A key part in the process was a five-day Red List workshop involving 26 experts and a team of facilitators, during which many of the assessments were drafted. The remaining work was undertaken via email correspondence and the completion and editing of the assessments was undertaken primarily by three members of staff from the coordinating institutes.

The assessment of a significant sample of European CWR provided a snapshot of the threatened status of these species in the region. At least 11.5% (66) of the species are considered threatened, with 3.3% (19) of them Critically Endangered, 4.4% (22) Endangered and 3.8% (25) Vulnerable—a further 4.5% (26) of the species are classified as Near Threatened. More than half of the species were regionally assessed as Least Concern. However, a significant proportion of these are threatened at national level. Regional data are lacking for many species and many are therefore currently regionally assessed as Data Deficient, indicating either a lack of knowledge about these species throughout their range or challenges in accessing the necessary information.

The study found that livestock farming is the threat that has by far the greatest impact on CWR in Europe, followed by arable farming, which is often associated with the use of herbicides and pesticides. However, it cannot be concluded from these results that all types of farming are threatening CWR diversity. In fact, farmed areas (including arable land and pasture) are one of the primary habitats of CWR species. It is intensive and unsustainable farming practices, such as severe overgrazing, conversion of land to monocultures and the over-use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides that are the major threats to CWR growing in agricultural areas—this includes grazing in semi-natural habitats such as Mediterranean maquis (Kell et al. 2012). Development for tourism and recreation are also major threats to CWR in the region, particularly those restricted to coastal and mountainous areas, as well as islands. Other major threats include urban development, invasive alien species, transport infrastructure development, an increase in fire frequency or intensity (or sometimes also fire suppression), severe weather events, such as drought and flooding and intensive forestry (including pollutants from forestry activities). The significance of climate change as a major threatening factor to European CWR is yet to be accurately quantified.

Source: Bilz et al. (2011), Kell et al. (2012)

IUCN Red List categories were obtained for nine Aegilops spp. in Armenia using ecogeographic survey data complemented with extensive field surveys. The ecogeographic survey was based on an herbarium survey following the model proposed by Maxted et al. (1995), with an aim to draft the preliminary distribution of the target taxa and plan the timetable and routes for field studies. Data collected during field surveys included: latitude, longitude, altitude, site description (including administrative unit and nearest settlement), conservation status of the area, average density (number of plants per unit of surface), approximate area occupied by each subpopulation, plant community, current and potential threats, growth stage and soil characteristics. The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (IUCN 2001) and the IUCN Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional Levels (IUCN 2003) were then used. Area of occupancy (AOO) was generally calculated using a grid size of 4 km2 except for those species known to have very small populations and limited range distribution in the country, in such cases a grid size of 1 km2 was used. The results showed four threatened species: Ae. mutica Boiss. (CR), Ae. crassa Boiss. (CR or Ex(R)?), Ae. neglecta Req. ex Bertol. (EN), Ae. biuncialis Vis. (EN), Ae. columnaris Zhuk. (NT), Ae. triuncialis L. (LC), Ae. cylindrica Host (LC), Ae. tauschii Coss. (LC) and Ae. umbellulata Zhuk. (DD).

Source: Haruntyunyan et al. (2010)

The Interactive Toolkit for Crop Wild Relative Conservation Planning was developed within the framework of the SADC CWR project www.cropwildrelatives.org/sadc-cwr-project (2014-2016),
which was co-funded by the European Union and implemented through ACP-EU Co-operation Programme in Science and Technology (S&T II) by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.
Grant agreement no FED/2013/330-210.