Biodiversity and resilience in the Mediterranean crops
A European project coordinated by the Department of Biology is now underway
The project coordinated by a research unit of the Department of Biology that will be able to give indications on how to preserve and enhance the production of legumes is underway.
Legume production in the Mediterranean area can be improved so as to preserve biodiversity and increase resilience in the future. The European Legu-Med project focuses precisely on this goal and is coordinated by the research unit of the Department of Biology led by Federico Martinelli.
The three-year project sees the participation of 10 research centres from 8 European countries and a private partner and has total funding — to which the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry also contributes — equal to 1.2 million euro.
“The work of the research network will be dedicated to the study of the genes that characterize the varieties of legumes originating in the different Mediterranean regions and to the identification of the new genotypes of chickpeas and lentils more suitable for agriculture based on biodiversity. In addition, we will study of the ecosystem services necessary to maintain soil fertility and minimize the use of synthetic chemical compounds, as well as strategies to guarantee satisfactory and constant income for farmers,” says Martinelli.
“To achieve these objectives, the project will use a participatory process so as to involve the sector stakeholders in the identification and implementation of innovative solutions based on the principle of biodiversity of the genetic species of legumes and habitats in which they are grown,” concludes the researcher.