[NAFEX] Happy update on Pavlovsk experiment station
bmayfield at opusnet.com
Tue Aug 24 20:42:30 EDT 2010
To the list,
Here is an encouraging update on the possible fate of the Pavlovsk
experimental station in Russia, described in messages from Sam
Brungardt and dylanford on Aug. 11.
Aug. 11 from nature.com (Nature, an international weekly journal of science)
Europe's largest berry bank faces closure
A Russian court ruling favours housing over plant diversity.
The future of Europe's largest repository of rare berries and fruit
has been thrown into doubt by a court decision today. Russia's
Supreme Arbitration Court in Moscow has ruled against an appeal to
preserve Pavlovsk Experimental Station, a federally run gene bank
housing more than 5,000 varieties of crop that are hard to breed from
seeds and so cannot be stored frozen as in typical seed banks. . .
The Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry in St Petersburg, which runs
the facility, now has one month to appeal to the superior High
Arbitration Court to overturn the Supreme Arbitration Court's decision.
Aug. 16 from guardian.uk
Russia launches inquiry into Pavlovsk seed bank after Twitter campaign
John Vidal, environmental editor
The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has ordered an immediate
inquiry into the potential destruction of the world's oldest seed
bank following a court case and a Twitter campaign by Guardian
readers and others.
The fate of the station appeared to be sealed last week when a court
ruled in favour of the Pavlovsk research station and its surrounding
farmland being turned into private housing. It holds the world's
largest fruit collections and was protected by 12 Russian scientists
during the second world war who chose to starve to death rather than
eat the unique collection of seeds and plants which they were
guarding during the 900-day siege of Leningrad.
More than 90% of the plants are found in no other research collection
or seed bank. Its seeds and berries are thought to possess traits
that could be crucial to maintaining productive fruit harvests in
many parts of the world as climate change and a rising tide of
disease, pests and drought weaken the varieties farmers now grow. At
stake, say campaigners for the station, are more than 5,000 varieties
of seeds and berries from dozens of countries, including more than
100 varieties each of gooseberries and raspberries.
As it is predominantly a field collection, Pavlovsk cannot be moved.
Experts estimate that even if another site were available nearby, it
would take many years to relocate the plants.
The court ruling was instantly appealed, giving the station one month
before development plans for a housing estate that would destroy the
station can move forward. This judgment means the order can only be
revoked through a direct command of the president or prime minister,
The Civic Chamber, a Russian state institution with a remit to
monitor parliament and the government, then sent a telegram to
Medvedev to request a formal appeal to protect the collection. And
numerous supporters of the research station have made their feelings
felt on Twitter (using the #pavlovsk hashtag). On Friday, following a
week of lobbying Medvedev tweeted back: "Received the Civic Chamber's
appeal over the Pavlov Experimental Station. Gave the instruction for
this issue to be scrutinised."
The campaign may have already achieved more than the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation which last year appealed unsuccessfully to
the Russian government to include Pavlovsk in the global network of gene banks.
However, the ongoing heatwave is thought to have also put pressure on
the government. Russian agricultural minister, Elena Borisovna
Skrynnik, had fought for the station to be saved on the grounds that
its heritage was crucial for food security as climate change grew more serious.
Much of the Russian wheat harvest has been destroyed in the last
month by the heatwave, which has been linked to climate change.
Yesterday, the Crop Diversity Trust, which has been leading western
attempts to save the station, urged people to continue to petition
the Russian authorities. A statement on the trust's website said:
"Over the next four weeks, we will continue our fight to save
Pavlovsk, and we need your help. We need to persuade the political
authorities of the importance of the irreplaceable crop diversity
growing at Pavlovsk station, and request that the judgment be revoked."
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