The Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) established the National Seed Bank in 2013 and repatriated the seed collections that have been deposited at the Millennium Seed Bank(MSB) of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the United Kingdom.
During 16 years, LARI was collaborating with the MSB, and collected together 1376 seed collections of 877 species. This represents 31.4\\% of Lebanon’s flora now conserved ex situ in seed banks. Seeds were collected from across the country from many vegetation types. Most collections were from the central mountainous region, which has a rich plant flora. Seeds were conserved from 82 plant families. Asteraceae was the most frequently recorded family in terms of number of seed collections and species represented. Allium, Silene and Trifolium were the top three genera in number of species collected for seed banking.
Eleven Lebanon endemic species and five endemic infraspecific taxa were conserved. This includes two of the rare and endangered Onococyclus irises, Iris cedretii Dinsm. ex Chaudharyand Iris sofarana Foster (Saad et al., 2009). A total of 22 near endemic species were also collected: 17 species endemic to Lebanon and Syria, four species endemic to Lebanon andTurkey and one species endemic to Lebanon and Palestine.
On the IUCN red list of threatened species only 168 species occurring in Lebanon have been assessed with the majority (162 species) listed as Least Concern (IUCN, 2014). The LARI GeneBank collected seeds from Cedrus libani A.Rich. (rated as Vulnerable) and Alnus orientalis
In 2015, LARI Gene Bank restarted collaborating with the MSB, Kew, through the Crop WildRelative Project (CWR) with a duration of four years (2015-2018) and aimed to collect 450 seed collections from wild relative species of 10 crops: oat, pea, chickpea, grass pea, bread wheat, barley, lentil, alfalfa, rye, and common vetch, it also aimed to multiply seeds of these species to be conserved at LARI‘s seed bank with duplications at the MSB, and ICARDA, and to make them available for evaluation and use by breeders and other researchers in the context of adapting agriculture to climate change.
LARI‘s Seed Bank is now expanding, and a forest seed center is recently equipped to produce certified seeds in order to make sane seedlings of native species to reforest Lebanon.
- Eng. Joelle Breidy, Seed Bank Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Ms. Hiba Dokmak, Asistant
- Emma Victoria Williams, Joëlle Breidy, Michiel van Slageren & Simon Khairallah (2015): Newrecords for the flora of Lebanon, Webbia: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Geography, 2015.DOI: 10.1080/00837792.2015.1070490
- Rim Mzid, Farhat Chibani, Rayda Ben Ayed, Mohsen Hanana, Joelle Breidi, Rabih Kabalan,Samih El-Hajj, Hassan Machlab, Ahmed Rebai and Lamis Chalak. Genetic diversity in barley landraces (Hordeum vulgare L. subsp.vulgare) originated from Crescent Fertile region as detected by seed storage proteins. Journal of Genetics, DOI 10.1007/s12041-016-0683-5
- Didier Bazile, Cataldo Pulvento, Alexis Verniau, Mohammad S. Al-Nusairi, Djibi Ba, JoelleBreidy, Layth Hassan, Maarouf I. Mohammed, Omurbek Mambetov, Munira Otambekova, Niaz Ali Sepahvand, Amr Shams, Djamel Souici, Khaled Miri and Stefano Padulosi. WorldwideEvaluations of Quinoa: Preliminary Results from Post International Year of Quinoa FAOProjects in Nine Countries. Fontiers in Plant Science, 21 June 2016 https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2016.00850
- Lamis Chalak, Gabriel Gebrayel, Haytham Hmedeh, Rabih Kabalan, Joelle Breidy, Bariaa Hamadeh, Lamya El Tawm, Mira Khoury, Hassan Machlab, Hussein Dib, Samih Elhajj. Agronomic Performance and Quality Properties of Malting Barley Genotypes Assessed Rain Fedin Bekaa Province, Lebanon. Geneconserve 14 (55): 01-29