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Sivan Golan, Yoni Waitz, Jotham Ziffer-Berger, Michal Barzilai, Nir Hanin, Zalmen Henkin and Oz Barazani

Germination behavior of the widespread southeastern Mediterranean shrub Sarcopoterium spinosum was conducted to assess its respond to post-fire cues. Germination experiments were conducted on 10 populations along a rainfall gradient – from productive, fuel-rich and fire-prone mesic Mediterranean populations, as well as from those in arid and fuel-poor environments. Our results indicate that post-fire cues induced germination of S. spinosum only among populations that originated from sites that are prone to wild fires. As wild-fires in this region occur mainly during the long dry season, but rarely ignited by natural factors, the adaptation to human made fires in natural populations of the southeastern Mediterranean environments is discussed.

Einav Mayzlish-Gati, Margareta Walczak, Alon Singer, Tomer Faraj, Sivan Golan, Dikla Lifshitz, Dana Bar, Yair Ur, Dafna Carmeli, Ran Lotan, Ofra Fridman, Alma Daniel, Yael Sade, Avi Perevolotsky, Rivka Hadas and Oz Barazani

Israel is a geographically small and relatively new state (founded in 1948) with high population density, industrial development and economic growth, all of which negatively affect the environment, particularly biodiversity. There is, however, a growing awareness in the country of the need for environmental and biodiversity protection. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), the official body legally responsible for protecting natural habitats, biodiversity and ecosystems in Israel, established a program to protect and conserve the endangered, near-threatened and very rare (ENtR) plants listed in the Israel Red Data Book of flora at risk. In this communication, we describe the ex-situ conservation strategies of the Israel Gene Bank (IGB) within this program. The IGB has expanded its role in the conservation of ENtR species from only ex-situ seed conservation to active involvement in whole-plant conservation and reintroducing ENtR species back into nature. In the past 10 years, 1289 accessions belonging to 68% of the species in the Red List were collected to form the IGB core collection of endangered and rare species. The germination unit of the IGB developed 198 new protocols and propagated 87 different ENtR species.