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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 01:10 PM
Original message
Critical plant bank in danger
Source: The Scientist

Plant scientists around the world are warning that hundreds of years of accumulated agricultural heritage are in danger of being plowed under after a Russian court ruled today (August 11) that the land occupied by a world-renowned plant bank on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg may be transferred to the Russian Housing Development Foundation, which plans to build houses on the site.

The fate of the collection at the Pavlovsk Experimental Station, which includes more than 70 hectares planted with 5,500 different varieties of apples, pears, cherries, and numerous berry species -- most of which occur nowhere else on Earth and were developed over hundreds of years by farmers in northern Europe, Scandinavia and Russia -- was decided in Russia's Supreme Arbitration Court at 10:30 AM, Moscow time.

"It's a bad day for biodiversity," said Cary Fowler, director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which has for months been trying to raise awareness of the dire situation at the decades-old collection. The collection of plants was started in 1926 by the father of seed banking, revered Russian geneticist Nikolai Vavilov. "Unless somebody intervenes, we're going to stand there at the gates and watch the bulldozers destroy thousands of varieties that are growing in a collection that dates back to 1926," Fowler told The Scientist.

The Scientist's emails to both the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and the housing development foundation were not answered before publication.

Read more: http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57617 /
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. That is very, very bad!
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MBS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. horrilbe. n/t
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Owl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
3. Yes, Horrible!
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Hawkeye-X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
4. Just transfer all the seeds to the Svalbard site
End of discussion.

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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. no, these are fruit trees, won't grow true from seed
Edited on Wed Aug-11-10 02:34 PM by pitohui
i haven't read the entire piece but i can see from the excerpt that a great many of the trees in question are fruiting trees -- apple, pear, and cherry, mentioned specifically here, CAN'T grow true from seed

you cannot grow them true from seed, only from grafts

seed banks are cheaper than growing trees, but this situation reveals the empty promise of "frozen zoos" and "seed banks" -- if the world is too small for trees or living animals or what have you, it's bullshit to bother with the seed bank or frozen zoo, because we are just keeping stuff on tap that we have no intention of allowing to ever live again in our world

be that as it may, seed banks do not preserve varieties that only grow true FROM GRAFTS which would be the case for virtually all important fruit and nut tree varieties (the only fruit tree i know that produces true from seed is loquat and even at that, my loquat tree from seed isn't a terrific producer, just an adequate one)
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felix_numinous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
6. Oh no
all that hard work, how heartbreaking. I hope somehow the word gets out and at least some of the plants can be saved.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 02:14 AM
Response to Original message
7. The Russians have lost their minds. (nt)
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