Two grass species with wide potential for forage production in Europe – Festuca pratensis Huds. and Festuca arundinacea Schreber are chosen as a model to investigate conditions affecting the functioning of natural agro ecosystems (meadows and pastures) as conservation sites for genetic resources. As a result of collecting expeditions in the summer of 2006 to 2008 new seed samples of target species were collected. A total of 36 accessions of Festuca pratensis and 10 accessions of F. arundinacea samples in 43 sites (meadows and pastures), belonging to 10 bio geographic regions of Bulgaria were evaluated in accordance with the UPOV descriptor list. The result of the morphological data indicated significant differences between the referent cultivars and the grassland ecotypes mainly in features relating to plant vigor, growth habit, height of the plants, ear inflorescence and flowering. As a results of electrophoresis, applied in compliance with the standard method of ISTA, a new protein component was detected in 6 accessions of Bulgaria origin as a band with high density which was not observed in the breeding materials and ecotypes originating from Switzerland.
The aim of the investigation is to enlarge the genetic basis of the collections from forage grasses of the two species (Festuca pratensis Huds., Festuca arundinacea Schreber) with new germplasm – a large diversity of forms and populations by collecting from a wide range of distinct ecological niches: different bio-geographic regions, altitudes, grassland types, land use (pastures, meadows; agricultural and non- agricultural land).