Cypress, specially Cupressus sempervirens, is an irreplaceable species in three uses : ornament, wind- break, reaforestation. It is promissive to prevent forest fires, erosion and for soil recolonization.
Cortical canker disease due to Seiridium cardinale, west to east spreading, destroyed since twenty years a wide part of the plantations.
The five mediterranean countries of the Community for several years have cooperated to save and rehabilitate the cypress. So the present contract is encouraging them in this long way, already marked out with milestones results of ten years researches.
The project was set up to determine, through selection and adaptation, which varieties of cypress showed good growth form and resistance to disease, in particular cortical canker disease due to Seiridium cardinale. Sampling of natural populations of cypress growing in Crete and the Aegean Sea islands was performed, for biosystematic and genetic investigations of the species. A provenance progeny test was established and the allocation of the total variance was estimated. New trees were selected on the basis of resistance to disease and growth form. Intraspecific and interspecific crosses were successfully made and general combining ability (GCA) was estimated concerning resistance to disease. A plantation of 70 clones resistant to disease, representing 7 species of cypress, was planted in a gene bank and a seed orchard was established with 50 clones of Cupressus sempervirens and 24 clones of C dupreziana. Ecophysiological studies were carried out in Greece, Italy and France and studies to estimate interaction between genotype and environment were initiated in Italy and Greece. Experimental plantations of selected clones resistant to Seiridium cardinale were established in the particpant countries except Spain. Besides Seiridium cardinale, species of fungi such as Botryopherias species and Phomopsis species seem to be damaging for cypress. Cypress cuttings were successfully rooted by macropropagation, the success of which depends upon various factors, the most important being the genotype of the donor plants, their pretreatments, the season of cutting collection and their treatment in the rooting beds.
Complementary tasks, simultaneously engaged are affected to appropriate participants according to their competence :
- sampling and establishment of provenance and progeny test in natural stands. Selection of clones resistant to canker disease, to fire, to frost and adapted to their use. Creation of hybrids and varieties, elite seed production;
- adaptability of new material to ecological conditions, plasticity of their behaviour (60 clones grown in each country);
- investigation and variability plant pathogenic populations as to prevent new problems (resistance break down ...);
- improvement of vegetative propagation of cypress and identification of innovations (morphological, biochemical parameter).
Within four years the first selected clones will be ready for dissemination.
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83237 Bormes Les Mimosas