In situ strategies

  1. Little or no management. strategy relies on national parks and other protected areas - or unprotected areas with minimal human disturbance - to maintain the population sizes and structures necessary to protect genetic integrity in wild species or populations of wild relatives of crop plants. A major constraint to this strategy is the lack of information on most species and major uncertainties about how effective hands-off management can be for maintaining genetic diversity in systems that may already have been or are substantially influenced by human activities.
  2. Moderate management strategy relies on protecting traditional forms of extractivism and animal harvesting to maintain habitat and human practices that have shaped species diversity and have - at least for some manipulated species - contributed to genetic diversity. Small-scale fisheries are an example of such management and are appealing to advocates of sustainable development.
  3. Intermediate management. Where biological resources have been extensively manipulated over long periods of time, continued human intervention may be required to maintain species and genetic diversity. For example, forbidden of using active fishing gears on Galichskoe and Chuchlimskoe lakes in Russia have led to overgrowing them with seagrass and declining number of valuable species of fishes.
  4. Intensive management strategy is targeted at domesticated or semi-domesticated species. Since diversity of domesticated or semi-domesticated species, is largely the result of human breeding, the population structure needed to maintain animal varieties

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.