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The Germplasm Bank and Trail

Entrance of the Germplasm Bank in the Park Head Offices
Entrance of the Germplasm Bank in the Park Head Offices
School groups visiting the Germplasm Bank
School groups visiting the Germplasm Bank

The collection field of the Germplasm Bank has been created for the characterization and preservation of the vegetable genetic heritage of Etna. It covers a surface area of about three hectares near the Park Authority head offices and houses species of naturalistic and agricultural interest (vineyard, orchard, broom thicket, plants of forest interest), but also aromatic and medicinal species growing in the territory of Etna. The area is managed according to the organic production method established by Reg. CEE 2092/91 with its following changes and integrations.
The Germplasm Trail, 1,153 meter long, develops across the collection field with slopes lower than 7% and with a road bottom allowing the transit also to special means used by people with motor disabilities. In particular, in association with Stamperia Braille from Catania, special environmental interpretation labels for visually-impaired and blind people have been installed. Therefore, a real "Trail of the Five Senses" has been created, giving the opportunity to visit the area also to people with physical problems, through the recovery of the contact with nature and the natural potentialities of the use of our senses. In order to achieve these aims, Etna Park, together with some Departments of the University of Catania, has created a consortium, called CEVASABI (Center for the enhancement and safeguard of the biodiversity of Eastern Sicily), including the Botany Department and the Botanic Garden of Catania, the Department of Vegetable, Flower, and Plant Growing and Agricultural and Food Technologies (DOFATA), the University Center for the Safeguard and Management of Natural Environments and Agricultural Ecosystems (CUTGANA).
The collaboration of several Authorities and institutions was essential: among them, the Regional Councillorship for the Territory and the Environment, supporting the actions of the Park Authority; the Regional Councillorship for Forests and Agriculture; the Regional Agency for the State-owned Forests, in charge of the measure that enabled the creation of the Germplasm Bank together with the local SOAT; the University of Catania; Stamperia Regionale Braille; the Regional Councillorship for Tourism, that with the funds of the project "Turismo Verde" (Green Tourism) enabled the improvement of the accessibility to the germplasm trail and to the Park head offices.
Such synergy, thanks to which Etna Park aims at being one of the first institutions that contributed to the achievement of the Goal 2010 for the reduction of biological diversity loss, represents an example of experience aimed at achieving the goals for a life quality improvement.

Province: Catania Region: Sicily


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