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WWF-Russia Opened Buxus Colchica Greenhouse in Krasnodar Region

24 september 2018
An official ceremony was held in Apsheronsk dedicated to the opening of a greenhouse to grow the relict Buxus colchica, which appeared to be on the verge of extinction. This long-term WWF-Russia’s project of creating Buxus colchica nursery for its restoration is implemented on the territory of the Apsheronsk Forestry Technical College. In three years, part of the Buxus colchica seedlings planted and grown in the nursery will be used to create a mother plantation, while the other part of seedlins will be planted out in the wild nature to restore Buxus colchica population, 99% of which has been destroyed by box tree moth.

The opening ceremony started with the welcome words by WWF-Russia and College representatives, as well as the Governor of the Apsheronsk District. Valery Shmunk, Head of WWF-Russia’s Northern Caucasus Regional Office, noted that establishing of a greenhouse was only the first step in this important, large-scale and long-term process of restoring the Buxus colchica in the Russian Caucasus.

"I'm sure that as the result of this project that joins scientists – environmentalists and plant biologists, and local communities who care about nature, in about eight years we will see the first tangible results of Buxus colchica restoration. This nursery is a guarantee that the ancient relict species won’t extinct on the Earth despite human mistakes," said Valery Shmunk. He also mentioned that this project was implemented on the donations made by Russian business and individuals that were collected by WWF-Russia after box tree moth destroyed 99% of Russian Buxus Colchica forests.  

Greenhouse opening ceremony
(c) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia

During the opening ceremony, the first 300 seedlins of this relict species were planted. It should be noted that the greenhouse built on the territory of the Apsheronsk Forestry Technical College will contain a total of about 25,000 plants. However, experts state that nursery beds for schooling can be fully planted with seedlings only next year, when sufficient planting stock will be formed. Interestingly, various planting methods using green cuts and seeds will be used in the nursery. The seeds will be preliminarily stratified, or pre-dried to speed up germination and increase their germinating capacity.

Buxus colchica green cuttings prepared for planting
(c) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia

The first project results will be seen in three years. Half of the seedlings will be planted on the instructional farm of the college to create a mother plantation, and the other half will be used to restore the Buxus colchica population in the wild nature in places of its original growth.

Planting of Buxus colchica seedlings in the greenhouse
(c) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia

The director of the Apsheronsk Forestry Technical College, Viktoriya Kharchenko, noted that the greenhouse built on the grounds of college instruction farm would play a significant role not only for Buxus colchica restoration, but even for study process and students. She believes it will enable the students to study in detail this unique plant and teach the intended graduates and forest experts to be environmentally responsible. Moreover, she emphasized that several students are already willing to write a diploma project on a topic related to Buxus colchica.

Fogging system operates in the greenhouse
(c) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia
Preview and headline photos: (c) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia