The project will contribute to the reforestation, the environmental improvement and the control of the erosion. At the same time, the project will offer plant material for alternative cultures, helping the productivity and demographique stability of particular regions of the Community (in Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Portugal).
The project objective is to contribute to environmental improvement in marginal Mediterranean regions through reforestation and the control of erosion. Selection of superior trees with respect to adaptation, growth rate, form and, for some species, fruit production was performed. This was accomplished in plantations and natural stands of the species Ceratonia siliqua (Greece and Italy), Liquidambar orientalis (Greece), Simmondsia chinensis (Italy), Quercus suber (Italy and Portugal) and Prosopsis juliflora (introduced from Africa). Micropropagation techniques were applied by culturing nodal explants obtained from young seedlings 2 to 3 years old except for the species Liquidambar orientalis (sweet gum) where explants were obtained by culturing buds of mature trees. Rooting was successful although it was very difficult for Prosopsis juliflora. 3 laboratories responsible for micropropagation, have worked out a protocol for each one of the 5 species. Shoots of carob trees (C siliqua) and jojoba (S chinensis) were examined for the occurrence of epiphytic and endophytic bacteria flora. Both species were free from endophytic bacteria but not from epiphytic bacteria. Studies to determine optimal conditions of seed germination and seedling development were initiated.
Five forest plant species have been chosen for rapid clonal and mass propagation. The project will deal with the following woody species :
Carob (Ceratonia siliqua), Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), Orient Liquidambar (Liquidambar orientalis), Oak (Quercus suber) and Prosopis (Prosopis juliflora).
In selected clones of these five species the work will be as follows :
- the establishment of the "in vitro" plant micropropagation techniques,
- the optimisation of the used micropropagation methods,
- the industrialisation of these methods for producing plants in mass, with low cost,
- the application of the hydroponic system and the mycorrhization to the selected clones,
- the adaptation of the performant selected clones, with trials in the individual mediterranean regions.