Implementation of an ex-situ conservation strategy.

Concrete Conservation Actions for Phoenix Palm Groves

This task will comprise the following activities in both regions:

  • Genetic seed selection and collection: preparatory action T.2.2 will provide an estimate of the genetic purity of the selected palm groves in Gran Canaria. In Crete, the lower probability of hybridisation of P. theophrasti will also be confirmed by surveys (T.2.2). With this information it will be possible to carry out preliminary seed selection in terms of genetic purity, also ensuring that reforestations are carried out with plants obtained from seeds collected in nearby locations. Previous scientific studies with P. canariensis show that obtaining seeds from a few specimens would be sufficient to capture a high genetic diversity. However, seeds will be collected from different clusters to maximise the genetic diversity captured. In each region, an average of 4,000 - 6,000 seeds are expected to be collected from the "purest" palm groves, in order to provide a regular supply to the nurseries.
  • Seed bank implementation and management: in each region a Phoenix seed bank will be set up for its long-term continuation. In Gran Canaria it will be established in the facilities of the Canarian Botanical Garden, managed by partner CGC, which has a long experience in this field. In Crete, it will be established at the MAICH-CHIEAM research centre (a result of the "LIFE Cretaplant" project). Both banks are expected to be operational during the first quarter of 2026 and their management, including staff and resources, will be incorporated into the regular activity of the responsible institutions at the end of the project.
  • Seedling production and conservation: In parallel to the establishment of the seed banks, the infrastructure of the public nurseries in both regions will be adapted for the production of seedlings and their proper conservation, growth and adaptation before they are ready for planting. In Greece, it is planned to rehabilitate the existing nursery in Heraklion, in order to ensure the production and growth of seedlings during and after the LIFE Phoenix project.
  • Production of Phoenix palm trees: the first productions will be used for the reforestation activities planned in both regions, in order to meet the objectives in terms of restoration and reforestation of habitat 9370* in the project Natura 2000 sites. At the end of the project, an estimated production of 5,000 new palm trees between the two countries is foreseen, ready to be used for future reforestation in other areas.

Action status

It reflects the percentage of work done since the beginning of the action.