Relationship between in situ and ex situ conservation of plan genetic resources at community level in Ecuador: a proposal. – Botanica Lithuanica, Suppl. 2: 47–51

Ecuador, and other Andean countries, is one of the world’s important regions for agro-biodiversity conservation and management. Ancient civilizations settle in the region several millennia ago and domesticated native plant species, such as potato, that today are some of the most important crops in the world. Other crops are of local importance or are endemic to this region. The preservation and management of genetic resources in Ecuador is recent event. In early 1980’s, the Ecuadorian Agricultural Research Institute (INIAP) started to collect and preserve native Andean crops. As a result of this, a national gene bank was established as means of ex situ conservation in order to preserve this important germplasm. In recent years, researchers have identified a need for in situ conservation and the establishment of a link between the gene bank and local farming communities. In addition, relationships between in situ and ex situ conservation have to be established in order to use the genetic resources wealth conserved in gene banks. In this way the importance of ex situ conservation will increase due to the return of seeds to the communities. An in situ conservation program, initiated as part of an integrated management system of agro-biodiversity conservation in the Rio Pataza valley communities of Chimborazo-Ecuador, currently focuses on Andean Root and Tuber crops (RTA). The integrated system includes soil and water conservation and management, forest and other minor and local food crops.

Keywords: conservation, in situ, ex situ, Ecuador.