(ST. LOUIS): For the first time, American scientists and researchers from the former Soviet Union will gather in the United States to discuss a mutual concern: how to protect Caucasian plant life. Oct. 2 through 8, botanists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia and Turkey will meet at the International Caucasian Symposium at the Missouri Botanical Garden to discuss the creation of a Caucasian Plant Red List, a list of the most endangered plants in the Caucasus Mountains. The Symposium will eventually result in The Plant Red Book, the first publication by the six countries covering the Caucasus.
The Caucasus Mountains are situated between the Black Sea (Europe) and the Caspian Sea (Asia), and span six countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia and Turkey. The vegetation in the Caucasus is remarkably diverse, ranging from alpine meadows and montane conifer forest to arid shrublands and semi-deserts. Of the 6,300 species of vascular plants, about 2,500 are endemic to the region.
Despite the botanical richness of the region, political unrest has prevented botanists and conservationists outside the former Soviet Union from working with the region's rare and endangered plants. Most information on the flora has been published only in Russian, of little help to scientists in countries outside the former Soviet Union. Further, with political tensions high, no country in the region was able to initiate a collaborative work covering the complete flora of the region. Without a list of endangered plant species, there is no scientific basis for conservation.
"This Symposium is significant because it will give American specialists an opportunity to sit down, face-to-face, with Caucasian specialists and learn about the unique flora and vegetation of the region," said Dr. Tatyana Shulkina, Missouri Botanical Garden associate curator, former Soviet Union (the Caucasus) projects and a native of Russia. "This will hopefully lead to the est
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Missouri Botanical Garden