LIFE4FIR - Decisive in situ and ex situ conservation strategies to secure the critically endangered Sicilian fir, Abies nebrodensis (DBA.AD003.178)
Project areaMultifunzionalità delle produzioni agricole, zootecniche e del settore foresta-legno (DBA.AD003)
Structure responsible for the research project
Other structures collaborating in the research project
The main purpose of the LIFE4FIR project is to increase the genetic diversity and improving the state of conservation of the highly endangered Abies nebrodensis population. The relic population is made up of only 30 adult trees and is highly vulnerable due to: 1) dramatic genetic erosion and fragmented range; 2) poor natural regeneration (Fig. 2); 4) superficial and rocky soil; 5) localized soil erosion; 6) grazing of wild herbivores and uncontrolled cattle. The habitat of A. nebrodensis is part of the Natura 2000 network (habitat 9220 *, SAC Ita 020004, SPA 020050). The LIFE4FIR project will put into practice an innovative, integrated and thorough strategy in the Madonie Park (Sicily, Italy) territory for the preservation of the highly endangered Abies nebrodensis (only 30 residual adult trees), based on increasing its genetic diversity and implementing a reforestation plan to restore a dynamic structure of the population.
LIFE4FIR goal will be pursued through the attainment of the following objectives:
1) sustain and protect the residual adult trees and the few young plants of the natural regeneration of
A. nebrodensis in their natural habitat;
2) restore the dynamic structure of the population by implementing a reforestation plan using selected seedlings. This requires the achievement of the following sub-objectives:
- production in the nursery of healthy, vigorous, genetically pure and outbred seedlings;
- establishment of reforestation plots in suited areas as re-diffusion cores;
- setting up of a new, effective clonal orchard to promote the production of outbred seed in the future;
3) Ex situ conservation by the implementation of a seedbank and a cryobank for the long-term conservation of seeds, pollen, isolated embryos and embryogenic callus lines of Abies nebrodensis.
4) Clear identification of ways to sustain the activities after the end of the project, and to define a strategy for the future application of LIFE4FIR methodology to other endangered conifer species in Europe.
Start date of activity
Genetic erosion, genetic diversity, extinction risk, in situ conservation, ex situ conservation, biodiversity, endangered species
Last update: 01/12/2023