Central Asia, News

Central Asia Temperate Fruits Portal

July 8th, 2013

http://centralasia.bioversity.asia/Central Asia is considered to be the centre of origin and diversity for many globally important agricultural crops, particularly temperate fruit tree species. According to N. I. Vavilov, Central Asia is the region richest in specific and intraspecific diversity and belongs to one of the five most important centres of origin of cultivated plants (N. I. Vavilov, 1931). Despite the erosion of natural resources, there are still 8,100 plant species in the region, of which 890 species are endemic. About 400 of them are endangered and included in the list of endangered species “Red Book”.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are rich in highly variable domesticated crops with many landraces with unique characteristics. The major popular fruits are apple (Malus domestica), apricot (Armeniaca vulgaris), peach (Persica vulgaris), pear (Pyrus communis), plum (Prunus domestica), grape (Vitis vinifera), almond (Amygdalus communis), pistachio (Pistacia vera), pomegranate (Punica granatum), and fig (Ficus corica). Many valuable landraces and old local cultivars of peach, quince, cherry, pomegranate, persimmon and others are still maintained in home gardens and on small farms. Over the years, the native genetic diversity of fruit species has been eroded, mainly due to increased overgrazing, deforestation, logging and industrialization. To counter genetic erosion, Central Asian states have established about 15 forest reserves where wild fruit species are preserved in accordance with State legislation. The conservation of prevalent plant biodiversity in the region ensures the availability of valuable genetic stocks for plant breeders and researchers.