Statement of the Nordic Arboretum Committee and specialists on horticulture and forestry in Northern regions
In the period from the 28th of June through the 1st of July 2011 an international symposium on woody plants took place at the N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry (Russia) with participation and support of the Nordic Arboretum Committee. The event attracted more than 35 domestic and foreign specialists in horticulture and forestry.The goal of the symposium was to develop the use of botanical collections as a source of material when increasing the diversity and quality of localnorthern horticulture and nursery production. Another aim for the meeting was to increase cooperation between organizations and professionals sharing similar climatic problems, build greater awareness and support for conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity as well as to promote a dialogue between a wide range of stakeholders.
In course of the meeting both Russian and Nordic countries` participants gained an opportunity to have a closer look at scientific activities of the Institute comprising collection, preservation, study and sustainable use of plant genetic resources. The program of the 4-day visit included also a visit to the Europe’s largest field genebank at the Pavlovsk Experiment station harboring a famous VIR`s fruit and berry crop collectionwhich contain unique species and varieties that can be found nowhere in the world. It was established by academician Nikolai Vavilov in 1926, but didn`t lose its importance till now. As of today the collection contains over 5 000 varieties of fruits and berries.
The challenges of the modern world such as climate changes, new pests and diseases require introduction of new crops. At this point the VIR`s fruit and berry crop collection maintained at Pavlovsk experiment station should be considered by the world community as an invaluable breeding material contributing to our planet`s future. The loss of every gene will limit survival opportunities for next generations.
We know that many PGR-specialists were concerned with the future of the VIR`s fruit and berry crop collection. Mass-media were writing about the threat of its destruction. VIR`s administration repeatedly received offers from foreign counterparts to take the fruit and berry crop collection into their field genebanks. We strongly believe this shouldn`t be done as risks of losing these invaluable accessions when relocated are very high.
We ask all the decision-makers to pay an exceptional attention and caution to this invaluable heritage not only for Russian but for the whole world. We believe you will take the right solution, which lets the institute conduct further its honorable mission – to maintain what has been created over decades by the nature and the human ingenuity.