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Genetic resources and crop wild relatives in the Nordic countries

Wild growing onion (Allium sp.) in the Færder National Park, Norway. Photographer: Lena Ansebo

Crop wild relatives (CWR) are wild plant species or populations that are related to the cultivated crops. They are in many cases quite different from the crop but they can have important variation that is missing from the crop, for example adaptations to drought, pest resistance or cold tolerance. By crossing the CWR with the crop, these traits can be transferred into the crop resulting in improved survival and/or production. In the face of a growing human population and climate change, it is essential to conserve the crop wild relatives as a source of important variation that can facilitate adaptation of crops to new climate conditions and increased demands for food.

In this project we will work on the Nordic level to facilitate the conservation and use of CWR. Participants  from all Nordic countries are taking part.


Our aim is to strengthen the efforts on conservation and use of crop wild relatives in the Nordic region. To this end we intend to:

  • Establish a Nordic network for genetic resources as ecosystem services aiming at policy inputs.
  • Promote knowledge exchange to obtain Nordic synergy on CWR conservation, with a focus on in situ conservation of CWR diversity in genetic reserves and development of the scientific basis for this.
  • Promote knowledge exchange to obtain Nordic synergy on interactions between in situ and ex situ conservation of plants. This includes collecting, conserving and using seeds from wild flora according to the Nature Diversity Act and appropriate national legislation.

Workshops and meetings

In situ / CWR seminar: Østre Bolærne, Norway, 26-28 May 2015

Nordic workshop in Stockholm, 18-19 November 2015

Joint Nordic/ECPGR Workshop in Vilnius, September 2016


Policy recommendations: Crop Wild Relatives – actions needed to assure conservation of an important genetic resource

Paper: Conservation and sustainable use of crop wild relatives: a Nordic initiative

Nordic CWR check-list

Poster: A Nordic regional approach for crop wild relative conservation (presented at the EUCARPIA genetic resource meeting 2017)


Funding for the project has been received from the Nordic Council of ministers.