STATE AND PROSPECTS FOR STUDYING THE BIODIVERSITY OF
      VASCULAR PLANTS AND PROTECTING THEIR GENE POOL

    Primorye has a very rich and at the same time largely vulnerable flora, given that many of its boreal and nemoral species are present there under  extreme conditions and many of those growing there are essentially relict. At the same time, Primorye is one of the most populous and economically developed subretions of the Russian Far East, and this enhances the negative impact of man-made activity on all environment components, plant kingdom inclusive. Today, there is insistent need to draw up a contemporary guide titled Floras of or Guide to Primoryes biodiversity. Now that the eight-volume joint report Vascular Plants of the Soviet Far East (1985-1996) is complete, the necessary conditions for preparing such a guide have been created.
     Six preserves (Kedrovaya Padj, Ussuri Preserve, SikhoteAlin Preserve, Laso Prserve, F. E. Marine Sanctuary  and Hanka Preserve) with total area of about 3.4% of Primoryes overall  area operate in the region. These preserves protect about 1,800 species, i.e. up to 500-700 species growing in Primorye are absent in their flora. Fifty-three, seventy-seven and one hundred and fifty-one plant species growing in Primorye have been recommended for registry in the Red Book of the USSR (1978), Red Book of the RSFSR (1988) and the Regional Report by S. S. Kharkevich and N. N. Kachura (1981) titled Rare Plant Species of the Soviet Far East and Their Protection, respectively. The latter include Belamcanda chinensis (A.) DC, Eimedium coreanum Nakai, Juniperus rigida Siebold. et Zucc., Rhododendron mucronulatum Turcz., Rh. sichotense Pojark., Rh. schlippenbachii Maxim.). In turn, thirty-six, forty-seven and one hundred and three species, respectively, are represented in Primoryes preserves. These figures indicate the need for further development here of a network of specially protected natural territories that would provide in contemporary conditions maximally effective protection of plants and preservation of their entire habitat.
    To implement an effective and scientifically-based system of gene pool protection for Primoryes  vascular plants, several paramount problems must be resolved: (a) compile  complete up-to-date lists of Primorye and Preserve flora to reveal the precise quantity and quality of vascular plant species not protected in preserves; (b)  additionally  investigate flora in Sikhote Alin, the Hanka Plain and on islands of Peter the Great Bay in order to reveal Primorye flora to a greater extent, determine the boundaries of known sites where rare and endangered species are concentrated (in Bikin-Khor watershed, Laso Ridge, Suifun-Hanka Plain) and identify promising sites for creating new extra protected  territories;  (c) perform field studies near existing preserves to optimize their recent boundaries, and additionally examine the flora of Ussuri, Sikhote Alin and Hank Preserves); and (d) prepare a Red Book of Primorye Territory, and compile the Flora  of or Guide to Primoryes vascular plants.

A. KOZHEVNIKOV, Cand. Sci. (Biology), Head, Department of Botany, Institute of Biology and Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Illustrations by Z. Kozhevnikova.

E-mail: botany@ibss.marine.su
  
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