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 Primorye’s 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
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 Primorye’s 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 Primorye’s 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 Primorye’s 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 Primorye’s 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.