Consequences of climate change for conserving leafy vegetables CWRs in Europe

Activity Coordinator: Rob van Treuren  Email

The project "Consequences of climate change for conserving leafy vegetables CWRs in Europe (CCLEAFY)", submitted by the Leafy Vegetables Working Group for funding under the Activity Grant Scheme, was selected by the Executive Committee and approved in May 2016.


October 2017
The final Activity report and related appendices are now available:

This study aimed to assess threat levels for the main leafy vegetable crop wild relatives (CWR) occurring in the European region and to provide recommendations for their conservation. An inventory was made of the genepools of 19 leafy vegetable crops, from which nearly 30 CWR that have their main distribution in the European region were selected for further analysis. None of the examined CWR are considered threatened in Europe by the IUCN Red List, but climate change is expected to reduce the future distribution of the majority of these species in the European region. The examined CWR are not actively conserved in situ and, with the exception of Lactuca serriola, are poorly conserved ex situ. Therefore, it was recommended to increase the number of accessions with MLS and AEGIS status to ensure both accessibility and proper conservation of samples. This will necessarily also involve more representative ex situ collections throughout the species range. Considering that climate change is expected to shift the distribution range of many species northwards, the expected effects of in situ conservation on the survival of species in southern regions need to be examined on a case-by-case basis. Climate change will increase the importance of north-western Europe as in situ conservation area because of its refuge function for migrating species. A high conservation priority should be given to species that have their main distribution in the southern part of the European region and that are not expected to migrate northwards, such as nearly all artichoke CWR and Asparagus maritimus.

January 2017
The inventory of the crop wild relative species of the different genepools of leafy vegetables has been finalized.
The project is currently focussing on the present distribution areas of the identified species, after which a selection of species will be made to analyse the expected effects of climate change on future distributions.

November 2016
The first step has started: definition of the species of the different genepools for lettuce, chicory, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, rocket, rhubarb, garden cress, Good-King-Henry and corn salad.

Related Information

ECPGR Leafy Vegetables Working Group