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Премия рунета 2017

Only 400 hectares of Buxus colchica are left on the Southern macroslope of the Caucasus

14 july 2017
WWF-Russia supported by the project "WWF-IKEA Partnership on Forests" continues to identify high conservation value forests with a relic endemic of the Caucasus – Buxus colchica in the Krasnodar Region and the Republic of Adygea.

The inventory of boxwood forests have started on a northern macroslope of the Northwest Caucasus in cooperation with the Krasnodar and Maykop branches of «Russian Centre of Forest Health» in 2015.

The organization of survey was caused by invasion of a Box-tree moth to the territory of Krasnodar Region in 2012 and its subsequent active expansion in the native forests of the Northwest Caucasus.

In 2017 the Centre of Forest Health of Krasnodar Region by request of WWF-Russia has continued works on inventory of the Buxus colchica, but already in the territory of the southern macroslope of the Greater Caucasus. Today Boxwood forests are left on the territories of Caucasus State Reserve, Sochi National Park and Tuapse forestry of Forestry Service of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Krasnodar Region only.

Patches of a Buxus colchica on southern macroslope of the Greater Caucasus (by data from different sources) / © Centre of Forest Health of Krasnodar Region /WWF-Russia

All forests  with the Buxus colchica were affected by invasive pest in 2016-2017. For example, in the The Yew-and-Boxwood Tree Grove of the Caucasian State Biosphere Nature Reserve in September, 2014, even bark of box trees has been destroyed. At the moment the Buxus colchica populations which have kept a live plants are found only in 61 patches in the total area up to 400,7 hectares.

Local populations of a Buxus colchica in the forests of southern macroslope of the Greater Caucasus on 6/1/2017 (by data from different sources) / © Centre of Forest Health of Krasnodar Region /WWF-Russia

In spite of the fact that the invasion of boxtree moth has begun 5 years ago, it wasn't proposed an effective control measures. It hasn't included in the Russian List of Quarantine Pests. New invasions of dangerous pests in the ecosystems of Krasnodar Region and Adygea recorded by the Centre of Forest Health of Krasnodar Region have revealed gaps in the phytosanitary control.

"The sad fate of the boxwood illustrates the impact of unsustainable development on a fragile ecosystem of Russian Caucasus," Valery Shmunk, the director of regional office "Russian Caucasus" of WWF-Russia says. - "Unfortunately, other plant species of the Ecoregion can face the similar threat as a Buxus colchica."

Buxus colchica, destroyed by a pyralid. Yew and box wood tree grove of Caucasian State Reserve / © Vyacheslav Moroz / WWF-Russia
Buxus colchica, destroyed by a pyralid. Yew and box wood tree grove of Caucasian State Reserve / © Vyacheslav Moroz / WWF-Russia

Today only extraordinary efforts of the Government of the Russian Federation, scientists, NGOs, and local people can save the relic forests of the Buxus colchica in Russia.

Headline photo: © Vyacheslav Moroz / WWF-Russia

For additional information please contact
Project Coordinator