Impact of agricultural land use on biodiversity and regional distribution of broomrapes (Orobanchaceae) in the Balkans

Acronym: Broomrapes Biodiversity
Project ID: ERA 117
Funding including national funding and EC funding:
Total costs: 120,000 € SEE-ERA.NET PLUS funding: 105,300 €
Project duration: 01.10.2010 / 30.09.2012

The use of the land for agriculture usually leads to destruction of natural and creation of artificial ecosystems. Such artificial systems offer excellent conditions for development and spreading of weeds, pests and diseases. Broomrapes (Orobanchaceae) are parasitic plants that subsist on broad-leaf plants, thereby depleting them of nutrients, minerals and water. Several broomrape species parasitize important crops causing up to 70% losses in crop production. The current knowledge about broomrapes diversity and distribution on the Balkans is based on floristic records only. According to them on the Balkans broomrapes are represented by 3 genera and 35 species. Only a few recent studies based on modern methods have included materials from Balkans. This not only leads to unclear status of broomrape species and their biodiversity on the Balkans, but also hampers the assessment of their relevance as agricultural pest. This project is a product of the joint effort of research teams from six research institutions and three countries: Bulgaria, Serbia and FYR of Macedonia. We are planning to study economically important and wild-life broomrape species on the Balkans. We will apply a combination of classical taxonomic approaches and modern techniques – i.e. molecular taxonomy tool, GPS mapping etc. to define the impact of land use for agriculture on broomrape’s diversity and regional distribution. The main aims are:
1) to characterize broomrape species on the Balkans by means of molecular taxonomy;
2) to study their co-evolution with the hosts, transition on crops/new host; and the effects of agricultural activities on their recent habitats;
3) to map habitats of rare broomrape species to be preserved;
4) to survey distribution of broomrape species in agro-ecosystems and create a map (including GPS coordinates) to allow better predictability of risks for crops and in planning of control measures.

Partners involved:

University of Plovdiv
Department of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology
24 Tsar Assen St.
4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Prof. Iliya Denev

Agricultural University of Plovdiv
Department of Botany
12 Mendeleev Blvd.
4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Dr. Kiril Stoyanov

Plant Pathology
8 Dragan Tsankov Blvd.
1164 Sofia, Bulgaria
Prof. Rossitza Bachvarova

Goce Delcev University
Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Production
Krste Misirkov, b.b.
2000 Stip, FYR of Macedonia
Prof. Ljupco Mihajlov

University of Novi Sad
Faculty of Agriculture
8 Trg Dositeja Obradovica
21000 Novi Sad, Serbia
Prof. Stevan Masirevic

Tobacco and Tobacco Products Institute
Plant Pathology
Markovsko Shose
4108 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Dr. Tsveta Hristeva