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vert bar IN THE NEWS 12th August 2006

Botanic Gardens Expedition to Siberia.

This week a four-person team from the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin returned to Dublin following the successful completion of a 17-day botanical expedition to Siberia.

The expedition spent a week in the Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk regions of Siberia, travelling by river to explore and document the unique conifer forests of Siberian pines, spruce, fir, larch and birch along the Yenesei River.

The team also visited the Altai Mountains in the Russian part of Central Asia, north of Mongolia, where they gathered several hundred plant samples amongst the Steppe vegetation to add to the scientific and horticultural collections of the Gardens. The remote Altai Mountains are home to a wide range of plant species found nowhere else in the world, many of which have never been grown in gardens.

An important objective of the expedition was to study a range of plants and their habitats that are rare and endangered in Ireland which also occur more commonly in Siberia, to gain new data on how these species can be more effectively conserved in this country.

The trip was undertaken on the invitation of the Central Siberian Botanical Garden situated in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, with which the National Botanic Gardens has close scientific and collaborative links. The team consisted of Dr Peter Wyse Jackson, Dr Matthew Jebb, Maurice Maxwell and Joan Rogers, all staff of the National Botanic Gardens.

The expedition leader, Dr Peter Wyse Jackson said “the visit to Siberia presented an excellent opportunity not only to collect valuable new plant specimens for the collections at Glasnevin but also to strengthen on-going horticultural and scientific collaboration with our Russian botanic garden colleagues. Over the coming months we hope to be successful in growing many of the remarkable species from Siberia that we collected which will be on display for the public at the Gardens in 2007”.

The team from the National Botanic Gardens and Russian collaborators visiting the Stolby National Nature Reserve in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, (left to right): Joan Rogers (NBG Glasnevin), Maurice Maxwell (NBG Glasnevin), Dr Peter Wyse Jackson (NBG Glasnevin), Dr Yuri Smirnov (St Petersburg Botanic Garden), Dr Matthew Jebb (NBG Glasnevin), Dr Igor Smirnov (Moscow Main Botanic Garden and BGCI Moscow Division), Prof. Acad. Igor Koropachinskiy (Central Siberian Botanic Garden,Novosibirsk.