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To improve knowledge on genetic variation and selection of species, ecotypes and progenies and their morphological, ecological and ecophysiological behaviour in order to understand the respective influence of genotype and environment on field performances of Mediterranean firs.

To detect favourable provenances of cedars for the Mediterranean regions, to estimate the genetic parameters for breeding and to develop a breeding strategy for reintroducing cedar in Mediterranean areas.
In the project basic knowledge has been improved concerning the genetic variation within and between species of Mediterranean firs and cedars, using morphological characters and biochemical markers. Concerning the latter, the methodologies have been improved and adapted to the species studied. New basic knowledge has also been obtained on the ecophysiology of Mediterranean firs and cedars and their provenances, leading to a better understanding of their reaction against drought. Information for the best site adapted choice of provenances for afforestation was also provided. Cooperation within the Mediterranean countries continues for instance in the form of International Cedrus Provenance Trials.
Three main topics are developed.

Genetic variation of firs and cedars:
genetic variability among and within species, provenances and progenies of biochemical markers, enzyme gene systems and morphological characters;
vegetative propagation capability of selected material;
variability of growth, mortality and stress adaptation.

Selection tests on firs and cedars:
establishment of progeny tests of firs in Greece (Abies cephalonica and A borisiiregis);
comparative trials of fir (Abies alba) provenances in Italy;
seed collection of cedar (Lebanon, Algeria), growing in nursery and establishment of field trials in France, Italy and Greece.

Ecological and ecophysiological functioning:
ecophysiological features of Mediterranean firs related to atmospheric and edaphic water constraints in controlled environments and summer drought under natural conditions;
ecological variation of vegetative bud flushing in relation to spring frosts;
juvenile growth in relation to nursery techniques and field planting techniques.


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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
EU contribution
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Avenue Antonio Vivaldi
84000 Avignon

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Participants (2)