Should in situ conservation replace ex situ conservation of forage crops? – Botanica Lithuanica, Suppl. 2: 99–104

Forage grasses and legumes have traditionally been conserved ex situ in speed banks. One criticism against the ex situ conservation methods is that it stops evolution that occurs in a changing environment. In situ and on-farm conservation is an interesting conservation method in forages. During our recent history a large number of landraces have been adapted to different local growing conditions. Usually the landraces are inferior to commercial cultivars. Grindstad timothy is an exemption, as it is the best timothy cultivar in southern Norway. Grindstad is a good example how a landrace evolves over time to changing agricultural practices and demonstrates in a good way how powerful on-farm conservation can be in changing a landrace in a useful direction. In situ conservation should not be seen as an alternative to ex situ conservation, but rather as a useful complementary method.

Keywords: in situ conservation, ex situ conservation, on-farm conservation.