PGR Secure helpdesk


Welcome to the CWR and LR conservation helpdesk!


Europe contains a wealth of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) which are valuable for their potential use as gene donors for crop improvement. The current and anticipated impacts of climate change on crop growing conditions demand new genetic diversity which may be found in populations of wild species related to crops (crop wild relatives, or CWR) and traditional crop varieties, known as landraces (or LR).

Despite the recognized value of Europe's CWR and LR, their conservation—both ex situ and in situ—has to date not been adequately addressed. Systematic methods and tools to tackle their conservation are now available and it is critical that each country addresses the conservation of these precious resources before more potentially useful genetic diversity is lost.

Horizon scanning exercise

To define what future conservation actions are needed, we must first know what measures are currently in place. To this end, a horizon scanning exercise was undertaken involving delegates at the symposium, ‘Towards the establishment of genetic reserves for crop wild relatives and landraces in Europe’ held in Funchal, Madeira, 13‒16 September 2010. Contributors to this exercise included partners in the EC AGRI GENRES project 'An Integrated European In Situ Management Workplan: Implementing Genetic Reserve and On-farm Concepts' (AEGRO), 53 members of the ECPGR In Situ and On-farm Conservation Network and others with an interest in CWR and LR conservation. Horizon scanning is a participatory approach to establishing future priorities and was in this case used to review the current status of European CWR and LR conservation and agree priorities for their conservation over the next 30 years. All conference delegates were invited to contribute suggestions for CWR and LR conservation actions and then each voted for those that they consider a priority. The exercise was extended to members and interested parties not present at the meeting via email following the meeting. Read more about the exercise, including a summary of the results in Crop wild relative Issue 8.

Progress in national CWR and LR conservation in Europe

Part of the horizon scanning exercise involved a review of progress in national CWR and LR conservation in each European country. Click here to see the results of the national review. These tables will be updated during the lifetime of the PGR Secure project. If you are a National Focal Point with responsibility for implementing PGRFA conservation in your country or are otherwise involved in national CWR or LR conservation and you would like to make changes to the status in your country, please contact Shelagh Kell:

PGR Secure: taking forward CWR and LR conservation in Europe

Within the PGR Secure project, three national CWR conservation strategies (for Finland, Italy and Spain) and three national LR conservation strategies (for Finland, Italy and the United Kingdom) are being developed as case studies. It was not possible to fund the development of national conservation strategies for all European countries; however, PGR Secure and the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR) funded the participation of up to three representatives from each European country to attend the workshop, 'Conservation strategies for European crop wild relative and landrace diversity' to provide training and guidance in the development of national CWR and LR conservation strategies. Since this workshop was convened, in addition to the completion of the PGR Secure case study national CWR conservation strategies for Finland, Italy and Spain, strategies for the Czech Republic and Cyprus have been developed and planning is underway in a number of other countries, including Albania, Bulgaria, Norway, Sweden, Turkey and the UK, with funding from national PGR programmes and technical support from the PGR Secure project.

The role of the helpdesk

While PGR Secure cannot provide direct funding to assist all European countries in the development of their CWR and LR conservation strategies, we can provide technical assistance through the provision of resources and tools, as well as one-to-one advice on all aspects the strategy planning process. By providing this assistance, we hope that together as a region we can make significant progress in securing Europe's wealth of PGRFA for future food security.

How to use the helpdesk

  • Use the links on the right to access a range of resources to assist you in CWR and LR conservation planning.
  • For one-to-one guidance with the development of your CWR national conservation strategy, please contact Shelagh Kell:
  • For one-to-one guidance with the development of your LR national conservation strategy, please contact Valeria Negri: