In situ strategies
While the principles of in situ management for the protection of genetic resources are well known, relatively few areas are actually managed for these purposes. In the Garo Hills of India, gene sanctuaries for wild relatives of citrus crops have been established and similar re-serves for fruit trees are managed in other parts of India, and in China and Russia. India has several orchid reserves, Ethiopia maintains conservation areas for wild coffee, and a reserve dedicated to the protection of wild chillies is maintained on the Coronado National Forest in Arizona (USA). In Brazil, the National Centre for Research in Genetic Resources has estab-lished seven genetic reserves for a variety of economically important species. More reserves are planned.
It is unclear how many species should be managed in in-situ programmes. While FAO has conducted a review of in situ conservation needs for wild relatives of crop species, there is no comparable survey for other plant species of economic or scientific interest. No serious at-tempts have been made - even for wild relatives of crop species - to elevate in situ manage-ment of targeted species to a prominent place on conservation or development agenda.
Even if they were more widely implemented, in situ increasing programmes would not always be available or sufficient to maintain the diversity of species, populations and genetic re-sources. While in situ programmes are nearly always preferable when there is a choice, ex situ technologies have become increasingly useful as an adjunct to adjunct to on-site conservation and restoration efforts. They are also increasingly effective in their own right.