The gene pool of plant species represents an important part of biological
diversity, from which mankind widely benefits. In Slovakia, more than 160
plant species have been cultivated for economic purposes.
The gene pool of particular cultivated species consists not only of modern and exploited cultivars and hybrids which have been primarily used in agriculture, but also of restricted cultivars, world assortment cultivars, land races and old cultivars, and ecotypes
of some cultivated species that have been maintained and directly used by small-scale growers.
Old cultivars and land races have been used by humans since ancient times and enjoy a special position.
They are highly valued as an important part of genetic diversity, natural wealth and cultural heritage. Intensive agriculture has become dominant and it has been found that the spreading of only a few intensive cultivars has caused a great decrease of
In 1994, an inventory of endangered farm animal populations was carried out in the Slovak Republic according to the FAO criteria. Twenty-three breeds out of seven animal species were evaluated, five breeds were included in the World Watch List
for Domestic Animal Diversity.
|improve inventories to assess the genetic diversity of domesticated
and non-domesticated species in order to maximize
the conservation and economic use of genetic recourses;
|gather valuable genotypes of old cultivarsland races and ecotypes within
natural populations and subsequently evaluate
document and multiply them for long-term storage;
|establish a national programme for the management and conservation of animal genetic resources;|
|establish special long-term repositories for valuable genotypes of vegetatively propagated species;|
|utilise established collections for both domestic and international breeding programmes, for research, education, public awareness and for alternative agriculture and landscape engineering;|
|In the area of forest management surveys of ecological and phenotypic
variation are available for Norway spruce, silver fir, Scots pine, common
beech, sessile and pedunculate oak, European larch, maple, lime, wild cherry
birch, black alder and juniper.
In 1988, the Slovak Ministry of Forestry and Water Management intended to establish a network of forest gene reserves. The draft regulation was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture in 1993 but has been postponed due to the preparation of a new Forestry Act. In spite of this, forest management has been modified towards full preference of natural regeneration in most of the proposed gene reserves.
In 1996, the Parliament passed the Forestry Act Amendment The legal regulation for forest gene reserves is expected
in the near future.
By definition, the forest gene reserves are large conservation units designed for in-situ conservation of forest genetic resources on an ecosystem and population level. By January 1,1995, sixty-six forest gene reserves totalling 22,110 ha had been proposed.
Their area should increase up to 35,000 ha.
The area of a single gene reserve usually covers more than 100 ha. Special attention is paid to the dynamic conservation of the gene pool through equal distribution of age classes and diverse spatial structure. The forest gene reserves currently focus on conservation ot forest tree genetic resources and provide a sustainable basis for long-term conservation of forest ecosystems:
their area is large enough to consider them independent conservation units
the dynamic conservation guarantees a diverse mosaic of microhabitats
absolute preference of natural regeneration ensures tree species diversity conservation and thus diversity of associated plant and animal species
|The Ministry of Agriculture of the Slovak Republic is responsible for
the co-ordination of research projects aimed at studying genetic resources
from cultivated species. Projects are carried out within the framework
of the National Programme for
Conservation of Cultivated Species and co-ordinated by the Research Institute of Plant Production in Piestany Systematic monitoring, documentation, assessment and long-term storage of old cultivars, land races and valuable ecotypes of indigenous
plant species are covered by the Conservation
of Endangered Plant Gene Pool Program in Slovakia and co-ordinated by the Slovak Agricultural! University in Nitra.
Seventeen institutions work under the scope of the National Programme of Collection, Conservation and Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources. Seed- propagated plants are stored in active collections in the individual institutions. A gene bank for these species was established by the Research lnstitute of Plant Production in Piest'any in 1996.
Since 1994, the project "Collection, Study and Conservation of Cultivated Species" has been carried out Its main goal is to determine, through research, storage and utilisation of plant genetic resources, the basis for a long-term national programme. Apple trees are a good example. At the end ot the last century more than 300 various apple cultivars were grown in Slovakia. At present only some 50 cultivars, mostly foreign, are grown in intensively managed orchards.
In 1996, the project "Strategy for biological services development and diversity conservation of genetic resources ot native farm animal breeds in the Slovak Republic" has been prepared. The main goal of the project is to establish a specific programme for the protection ot endangered farm animals in Slovakia.
The institutes which hold collections are responsible for supplying and preparing documentation (in cooperation with the gene bank), evaluation and regeneration of genetic resources. A great amount of attention has been devoted to the collection of
This measure has been applied to individual trees to conserve the most valuable genotypes within forest tree populations. The selection of plus trees started in 1950 with Scots pine and European larch. Grafts of these trees were first used for setting up clone seed orchards. Since 1970 the selection programme has included Norway spruce and more recently also broad-leaves.
|Forest Seed Zones.
Forest seed zones are the means used to control seed harvesting and
reproduction material. Slovakia is among the few countries that have established
legal regulations on forest seeds and reproduction material.
Harvesting and transfer of propagation material of all other tree and
shrub species is ruled by consideration
|Approved Seed Collection Stands.
The approved seed collection stands provide the best available seed
material for the artificial regeneration of forests and at the same time,
form a basis for the protection and reproduction of the most valuable gene
pool of forest tree species. From the in-situ gene pool conservation point
of view, natural regeneration of these stands is the highest priority The
area of a single approved seed colection stand ranges usually from 2 to
20 hectares, while its registration is conducted through classifying them
into two categories: IIA - top quality stands and IIB - quality stands.
In 1995, the total area of approved seed collection stands covered 11,448
ha in IIA category and 44,478 ha in lIB category