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Traditional orchards in Romania: case study Fântânele, Sibiu County

Antofie, Maria Mihaela, Barbu, Ion, Sand, Camelia Sava, Blaj, Robert
Genetic resources and crop evolution 2016 v.63 no.6 pp. 1035-1048
European Union, Molinia caerulea, Prunus cerasus, apples, biodiversity, case studies, cherries, conservation plants, food security, fruit trees, habitats, in situ conservation, orchards, pesticides, plant genetic resources, plums, protected species, villages, walnuts, Romania
In the last 10 years traditional orchards became more and more important for biodiversity conservation as priority habitats on one hand and for in situ conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in supporting the food security resilience of local communities on the other hand. Fântânele is a small village positioned at the foot of Cândrel Mountain, belonging to the Romanian Carpathians, in the buffering zone of the protected area ROSCI0085 ‘Frumoasa’ which is famous in the region for its traditional orchards established for more than four centuries. The main scope of this article is to survey these traditional orchards for the existing old fruit tree species and varieties. As a result from a total of 401 surveyed trees, 20 old apple tree varieties have been recorded and 55.74 % are estimated to be older than 100 years. Only two modern apple tree varieties have been recorded in the village area older than 40 years (i.e. ‘Florina’ and ‘Starkrimson delicious’) with a low infusion rate (i.e. 16.17 %). Walnut trees, plum trees, cherry trees and sour cherry trees complete the structure of traditional fruit orchards. No rejuvenating activities or pesticides use have been registered for more than 25 years. A protected habitat at European level was recorded in the area of this village for the first time (i.e. habitat of Molinia caerulea (L.) Moench subsp. arundinacea) and also protected species according to the European Union regulatory framework for Natura 2000 have been observed.