Traditional grasslands : Conservation measures needed?

R. van Treuren, L. Visser

    Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


    A number of temperate grasses and legumes, important for animal feeding, have their centre of diversity in the North-West European region, including perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.; Engels raaigras), white clover (Trifolium repens L.; witte klaver) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.; veldbeemdgras). These species traditionally occur in Dutch grasslands where they can be considered as typical. Undisturbed grasslands that are still in agricultural use have severely become reduced in number in the Netherlands. To investigate the need for conservation policies for such grasslands, diversity was assessed in perennial ryegrass, white clover and Kentucky bluegrass collected from traditional grasslands. This diversity was then compared with the diversity in commercial reference cultivars and in grasslands from nature reserves. Diversity estimation included morphological analyses and molecular characterization. The analyses indicated no substantial distinction between the gene pools of the three investigated groups for any of the three investigated species. In particular, comparison of traditional grasslands with grasslands from nature reserves indicated that basically these two groups covered the same range of genetic variation. It was therefore concluded that no specific in situ conservation measures are currently needed to maintain the genetic diversity of perennial ryegrass, white clover and Kentucky bluegrass occurring in traditional grasslands, considering that nature reserves are already under protective measures. Because perennial ryegrass, white clover and Kentucky bluegrass can be regarded key species of grasslands, the obtained results may be indicative of other species with similar life-history characteristics. Therefore, the need for specific conservation measures for traditional grasslands cannot be warranted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationWageningen
    PublisherCentrum voor Genetische Bronnen
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Publication series

    NamePolicy Brief
    PublisherCentrum voor Genetische Bronnen


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