GENMEDA members

CIHEAM Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh)

Mediterranean Plant Conservation Unit (MPCU)

Type ALt here

Country: Greece | Region: Crete

CIHEAM Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh) is the 4th constituent institute of the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) since 1985. MAICh provides postgraduate education leading to the degree of Master of Science and undertakes research related to the sectors of economics and management, rural development, and applied biological, technological and environmental sciences, addressing problems in the Mediterranean area. The Mediterranean Plant Conservation Unit (MPCU) of MAICh, established in 2000, is a unit dedicated to the study and conservation of Mediterranean plants.

Objectives of the MPCU:

  • Support of M.Sc. programmes and research/cooperation projects of MAICh related to Mediterranean plants
  • Studies and research on native Mediterranean plants (germination biology, ecology, geographical distribution, uses, threats, etc.)
  • Conservation of rare and endemic plants of the Mediterranean (ex situ & in situ conservation) and of other plants of economic or environmental importance
  • Training on plant conservation methods for undergraduate/postgraduate students and technical/scientific personnel of other institutions with related activities
  • Increasing public awareness about the protection of biodiversity

Main facilities:

The Seed Bank holds collections of endemic, rare and threatened plants as well as other wild plants of Crete (medicinal, aromatic, etc.) and landraces of cultivated plants. The infrastructure of the seed bank provides for all the essential steps for the preservation of seed germplasm, such as collection (well experienced personnel on collection of Cretan flora and plant identification), seed drying (Drying Room at 15 °C with relative humidity 15-20%), and storage (Cold Room at -18 °C). In addition, there is a fully equipped laboratory for germination experiments.

The Herbarium, which has been operating prior to the establishment of the MPCU, since 1991, holds specimens of Mediterranean plants and possesses all the required facilities for taxonomic identification of plants of the East Mediterranean region.

The Botanical Garden covers an area of ~ 0.5 ha and holds a collection of endemic and threatened plants for demonstration and education purposes. An Information Centre for the Cretan natural environment is located in the vicinity of the Botanical Garden.

The MPCU participates in national, international and EU-funded research and cooperation projects (e.g. CARE-MEDIFLORA,. ECOPLANTMED, Zelkova abelicea, Ensuring the survival of endangered plants in the Mediterranean, CRETAPLANT) and contributes to the implementation of policies for environmental protection and in particular for plant genetic resources, as shaped by national and European legislation, international conventions, etc.

Apart from the GENMEDA network, MAICh is a member of the European Native Seed Conservation Network (ENSCONET).


Christini Fournaraki – Biologist Ph.D., MPCU of MAICh

Panagiota Gotsiou – Biologist M.Sc., MPCU of MAICh

Alsyllio Agrokepiou, PO Box 85 - Chania 73100 – Crete - Greece
Tel: +30 282 1035 053 - Fax: +30 282 1035 001