The team of CNR-IPSP presented the LIFE4FIR project during the 116th Congress of the Italian Botanical Society, held online from 8 to 10 September 2021.
CNR prepared an abstract titled “Identification and removal of exotic fir trees for in situ preservation of Abies nebrodensis – Rosario Schicchi, Filippo Amato, Giuseppe Di Noto, Anna Geraci, Gaetano La Placa, Stefano Secci, Roberto Danti” and presented a video for disseminating the contents of the LIFE4FIR project to the scientific audience of the event.
The team of CNR-IPSP presented the LIFE4FIR project during the XIII Italian Conference on Biodiversity, held online from 7 to 9 September 2021.
This event represented an important opportunity to disseminate to a specialised audience the objectives, activities and expected results of the LIFE4FIR project: LIFE4FIR could represent a virtuous model to be replicated for the protection of other endangered species.
Below are the recordings of the two speeches held by Dr. Roberto Danti and Dr. Waed Tarraf, who presented the LIFE4FIR project and related activities.
On May 25 2021, the Life4fir project delegates met the Mayor of Polizzi Generosa, Gandolfo Librizzi, to define the matter related to the management of the cryobank under construction at the premises of the Abies Nebrodensis Museum, located in the Town Hall.
In the photo from the left: Prof.sa Maria Antonietta Germanà; Dr. Maurizio Lambardi; the Mayor Dr. Gandolfo Librizzi; Dr. Roberto Danti (Life4fir coordinator) and Dr. Peppuccio Bonomo in front of the dewar supplied for storing samples of seeds, pollen, isolated embryos and embryogenic callus lines of Abies nebodensis in liquid nitrogen.
The remote sensing via drone of the LIFE4FIR project
At the beginning of October 2020 the survey of the Abies nebrodensis natural are was carried out using a drone equipped with multispectral cameras. Remote sensing allows the monitoring of the health of trees and habitat through the measure of the radiation reflected by the vegetation.
During the drone flight, panoramic shots of the habitat and of the individual trees of the Abies nebrodensis population were acquired.
Tree n. 8
Trees n. 10 ed 11
Tree n. 12
Trees n. 16 e 17
Tree n. 19
Phytosanitary monitoring and laboratory activities of LIFE4FIR project
Phytosanitary surveys were carried out in November 2019 and in October 2020. Trees were subjected to a careful visual examination to evaluate their vegetative condition based on observations of the crown shape and transparency, turning foliage, presence of declining, desiccated or damaged parts, occurrence of lesions.
Laboratory analysis for LIFE4FIR monitoring activities
Laboratory analysis of collected samples were conducted through: observations under stereomicroscope, isolation and culture of fungal colonies and their genetic characterization through PCR amplification and sequencing of target loci for their identification. This allowed identification of the fungal microflora associated with the observed alterations and to detect the possible presence of harmful pathogens.
The beneficiaries of the LIFE4FIR European project met in Palermo on 12 and 13 October 2020. During the meeting, progresses and results obtained in each action have been presented by each partner, and the next steps to be taken in the continuation of the project have been discussed.
Certainly one of the most relevant issues has been the impact of COVID-19 on project activities. The beneficiaries have taken all possible containment actions, but the possibility of having an impact on original scheduling remains, also in light of the uncertainty regarding the pandemic dynamics of the future months.
The activities of the LIFE4FIR project continue, despite the significant difficulties related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In particular, in October 2020 the beneficiaries of the project met in Sicily, in order to hold the periodic coordination meeting. In addition to the updating for the 12 months of the project, being in Sicily the beneficiaries had live visits to the sites involved in the LIFE4FIR project.
Here are some photos taken during these activities.
During the technical and financial monitoring meeting held last October 12th in the restored rooms of the ancient library at the Botanical Garden of Palermo.
The LIFE4FIR group during the visit to the Abies nebrodensis Museum set up inside the town hall of Polizzi Generosa. The museum will host the cryobank foreseen in the project.
Approaching specimen no. 12 during the monitoring of the vegetative and sanitary conditions last October.
Taking samples from specimen no. 12 for laboratory observations and analyses.
Transit on the stony ground between the Vallone Madonna degli Angeli and Monte Scalone.
In front of tree n. 1, the most remote of the population.
The fruiting that occurred in 2020 was particularly abundant. The cones collected from the individual treeswere placed in boxes at the Piano Noce nursery, awaiting extraction of seeds.
Despite the continuing difficulties associated with COVID-19, the activities of the LIFE4FIR project have not stopped. In the last few months, there have been both field actions (such as in situ observation of trees in their habitat and of plants in the nursery and operations during the pollination phase) and monitoring and lab analysis actions. Following there are some photos taken by the beneficiaries during these recent activities.
Damage caused by wild animals on adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis
Adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis with defoliated and damaged crown
Adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis with bare foliage in its lower part due to the shadow of beech trees
Adult specimen of Abies Nebrodensis with scattered desiccations
Seedlings raised in the nursery with desiccation, defoliation and chlorosis
Desiccation and defoliation of plant branches in the laboratory
Needles and twigs with alterations, observed with stereoscope in laboratory
Despite the difficult health situation, the activities of the LIFE4FIR project continue for defending the latest specimens of Abies nebrodensis.
Given the favorable seasonal trend, the action aimed at the isolation and hand pollination of the strobiles of the firs subjected to the protection measures started: on one side, barriers have been mounted in order to avoid contact with foreign pollen, coming from other varieties of fir trees present in the nearby reforestation areas; on the other side, pollen selected from Abies nebrodensis trees is collected in order to proceed with the following targeted hand pollination of other trees of the same species.
Below is a brief interview with Peppuccio Bonomo and Gaetano La Placa, during these field operations.
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