Woody Plants of the Asian Part of Russia in the Wild and under Cultivation: Study of Biodiversity, Introduction and Preservation of the Gene Pool

Central Siberian Botanical Garden, SB RAS, Novosibirsk

Head of the Institute:

Igor Yu.Koropachinskiy, Academician of the RAS
Tel. (383-2) 35-01-63
Fax (383-2) 35-49-86
email: root@botgard.nsk.su

Principal researchers:

O.N.Potemkin, Head of the Laboratory of Dendrology
Tel. (383-2) 35-01-63
Fax (383-2) 35-49-86
email: root@botgard.nsk.su

Project objectives

Preservation of the plant gene pool is one of the most complicated tasks of modern botany. It is especially important for woody plants because of their slow ontogenetic development and complexity of restoration processes. Within the project it has been suggested for the first time that all available information on the arboriflora of Siberia and the Russian Far East be collected in a united biological centre. We intend:

Methods and approaches

Work on the project is conducted in several directions connected with each other:

a) study of biocoenotic, morphological and genetic diversity of natural populations of woody plants;

b) collection of genetic material of living plants in the collection stocks and nurseries of the Central Siberian Botanical Garden;

c) introduction of species and representatives of certain populations possessing a unique gene pool in different regions of Siberia;

d) creation of computer databases and publishing papers, books and recommendations.

The first direction suggests studying in nature woody plant populations of Siberia and the Russian Far East. A full description of phytocoenotic and morphological characteristics of populations is expected, and material for herbarium, as well as living plants and seeds for introduction are collected. The characteristics obtained are input in the united database. As a result, there is a possibility to compare the morphological structure and polymorphism of natural populations of woody plants both in certain areas of Siberia and the Far East and in the region as a whole.

Background and significance of objectives

Another direction is introduction of plant species and forms in the Central Siberian Botanical Garden and creation of a seed bank of long-term storage. At present it is one of the most realistic ways of preservation of the unique gene pool of species and intraspecific forms of woody plants whose habitats are completely destroyed or populations are subject to direct or indirect anthropogenic effect.

Research plan: approaches and methods

The dendrologists of the Central Siberian Botanical Garden have been studying Siberian dendroflora since early 60-s. They went to the field trips to the majority of regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East, performed floristic-genetic and ecological-geographical analyses of many genera of Siberian dendroflora. A unique scientific material, which has no world analogues and is used by both Russian and foreign specialists, has been collected. More than 1500 species and forms of woody plants have been tested in the arboretum of the Botanical Garden, although only 375 species of woody plants grow in the wild in Siberia (Koropachinskiy, 1983). A method of climate comparison as one of the methods of preliminary selection of introduced plants has been developed and proposed for using.

Polymorphism and phytocoenotic structure of natural populations and species of woody plants are studied. The data obtained on variability are the basis for solving a range of theoretical and practical tasks. Our specialists took part in the development of the programs on creation of protected areas in the south of the Republic of Tuva (Uvs-Nuur Nature Reserve) and the Altai Republic (Gorno-Altaisky Nature Reserve).

Expected results

  1. Collection of all available information on woody plants of Siberia and the Russian Far East in the united management database, access to INTERNET being expected.

  2. Collection of available genetic material as living plants in the nurseries and creation of a seed bank.

  3. Publishing illustrated atlas-manuals for identification of woody plants of Siberia and the Russian Far East and species introduced from this region.

List of publications of participants related to the project