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09.02.2006 - CWR Forum

Crop Wild Relatives Projects forum is started. You can take part in our discussions here.

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12.12.2005 - Opening of webpage

We are happy to inform you that the official opening of our webpage took place on 12th of December 2005. The main information sources have been discovered and relevant data on CWRs have been collected by CWR project staff. The CWR database is under construction.
We hope you find it useful and interesting.

13.12.2005 - Priority taxa

The method of priority taxa selection has been a product of profound debates among botanists from different fields. Based on congeniality, the entire list of CWRs subject to the Project has been divided into different groups since there are biological and ecological differences among CWR families. It has to be noted, that each of these families' socio-economic characteristics were also evaluated, which is very important for agronomy and economy. So accordingly, all CWR species have been divided into four main groups - cereals, pulses, vegetables and fruits, and taking into consideration ecological, biological, economical and agronomical characteristics/values of a particular group, a separate set of criteria for each group has been developed. Each group was evaluated using specifically developed set of criteria, which were inapplicable for the other groups. This separation is mechanical, but it gives possibility to combine species that have close characteristics/values into one large group, and to develop. This separation gives possibility to develop new strategy for priority taxa selection. The remarkable specialists from the relevant fields conducted a research of each CWR group in the Republic of Armenia. The general criteria remain the same for all species (Conservation status, Gene Sources and etc.). At the same time a separate set of criteria for each group was developed, such as food/animal food, bee plants, environmental use, materials, and food additives. All species included in the project's list are evaluated according to these criteria. Consequently, four species, which have a higher cumulative point, are chosen from each group (the list is presented below). The species, that have received the highest points, are considered as a priority:

1. Triticums,
2. Vavilovia formosa (Stev.) Fed.,
3. Beta. lomatogona and Pyrus caucasica Fed.,
4. Aegilops tauschii Coss.

Based on the outcomes of the discussions with experts, it was decided to choose also Aegilops tauschii Coss as priority taxon. For this species is a host of very important genes absent in Triticums, it cannot be separated from Triticums.

14.12.2005 - Level of public awareness

Within the scope of CWR project, in the component of Public awareness, a sample questionnaire from IPGRI on public understanding of CWR significance and value has been received and elaborated for Armenian communities. The latter has been used to conduct a survey on public understanding of CWR significance and value. The survey has been conducted with Policy makers, Extension Workers and NGOs, Protected Area Managers and Education System Workers of all relevant institutions.
Farmers from different villages of the Republic of Armenia have also been interviewed. For the development of crops in cultivated fields may technically endanger wild relatives of crops, the main criterion for choosing some particular villages has been the level of agricultural development.
The results of survey showed that local communities are eager to know more about CWR, because they understand the importance of these species, but lack of awareness and education (especially difficulty concerned with finding available information) makes its negative influence and people prefer "not to waste the time" in searching this information. Collected data from information centers of the protected areas show that 97% of visitors are tourists. Local people are not very often guests there and usually visit information centers, if there is any special occasion.
The most part of knowledge about CWR is known from history. People know that Armenia is rich with CWR and many cultivars naturally occur in Armenia. Unfortunately, level of awareness in cities differs from the one in villages. The level of awareness also differs amongst different age groups.
Every village has specific local name for different plant species in different part of Armenia. This creates some difficulties to understand the level of knowledge concerned with the particular species. Young generation has much more practical knowledge about CWR and better understands their importance for human wellbeing. Elder generation knows mainly about the CWR species, which are used in their everyday life and have direct importance. In cities around 23% of people were able to enumerate some CWR species (scientists are also included in this group) and 36 % have some ideas about CWR. On the same data, there is lower level of awareness (around 9.7% and 17%) in villages

The reasons of present situation are;

1. The lack of awareness (TV, radio, magazines, journals, pamphlets, etc),
2. The lack of trainings on CWR in protected areas, educational institutions, communities,
3. the absence of public participation on CWR conservation and rational use in the Republic of Armenia.

It may be concluded, that the level of awareness in Armenia is very low. The wide stratum of society has very vague conception of CWR and perhaps does not understand their importance and necessity. There is some fragmented information on CWR in the different specialized institutes, but this information has specific scientific purpose and is not available for the wide range of people.
Geographical location of communities, isolated from other urban areas by natural barriers, is another reason for lack of awareness. Compared with other regions, in Yerevan the level of awareness is higher, but unfortunately, insufficient. Development of educational programs and trainings with local communities will provide necessary information about CWR and will increase the level of awareness in Armenia. It will help to develop more progressive conservation actions and to have positive results.

14.12.2005 - Workshop-seminar

"The International Treaty on Plant Genetic resources for Food and Agriculture and CWR Conservation" workshop-seminar was organized in Hrazdan Hotel on 15 and 16 of December 2005. Among participants were scientists from different institutions of Armenia as well as invited international experts.

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