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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

1996 Kazakhstan Apple Collection Mission
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FOREIGN TRAVEL REPORT
Plant Collection Expedition to Kazakstan
August 24 - September 19, 1996

Team Members:

Phillip L Forsline: Curator/Horticulturist, USDA-ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Unit, Geneva, NY

Stan C. Hokanson: Post-doc Associate, USDA-ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Unit, Geneva, NY

Cooperators:

Aimak Djangaliev: Prof.of BioSci, Academy of Sciences, Almaty, Republic of Kazakstan

Nagima A. Aitkhozhina: Prof. of BioSci, Kazak Academy of Sciences, Almaty, Republic of Kazakstan

Adjunct Members:

Thomas Unruh: Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS, Fruit and Vegetable Research, Wapato, WA

Harold Pellett: Prof. of Horticulture, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen, MN

Expedition members
1996 Expedition members with cooperators and camp staff at site 7 in Djungarsky mountains.

Date ----------Site-----------Activity

8/24-26 ----------------------Travel to Almaty through Istanbul

8/26 ------------------------- Conference with cooperators in Almaty

8/27 ------------------------- Travel by van 300 km east of Almaty to Ketmen area (5 km of China border)

8/28 ---------- 1 ------------- 3-hour collection in Ketmen, return to Almaty1996 Kazakhstan map

8/29 -------------------------- Conference with cooperators at Main Botanical Garden in Albaty

8/30 ---------- 2 ------------- Conference of American and New Zealand delegations with cooperators and Kazak Minister of Agriculture; 2-hour expedition to section of Tarbagatai

8/31 ---------- 2 ------------- Flight on Kazak Air to village of Urdzhar (700 km NE of Almaty); 2-hour expedition to section of Tarbagatai

9/1-3 -------- 3 -------------- Full day expedition in Tarbagatai

9/4 -------------------------- Bus to Djungarsky with 6-hour breakdown

9/5 ---------- 4/5 ------------ Expedition in Djungarsky, 3-hours at site 4 and 4-hours at site 5

9/6 ---------- 6 -------------- 1-hour bus ride to Djungarsky followed by collection until 7:00 pm

9/7 ---------- 7 -------------- 3-hour ride by 4WD vehicles to Djungarsky; 3-hour wait for security clearance to area followed by 2-hour collection

9/8-9 ------- 7 --------------- Full day expedition in Djungarsky

9/10 -------------------------- 450 km bus ride to Almaty (11 hours) with periodic stalls

9/11 -------------------------- Conference in a.m. with hosts; depart by train for Chimkent at 6 pm

9/12 --------- 8 --------------- Arrive in Chimkent at 11 a.m.; 2-hour ride by 4WD to Karatau; 2-hour collection in Karatau

9/13-14 ------ 8 --------------- Full day expedition in Karatau

9/15 --------- 9 --------------- 3-hour ride by 4WD to Talasky; 3-hour collection in Talasky; boarded train in Chimkent at 6:00 pm

9/16 --------------------------- Arrive in Almaty; discuss book translation with cooperator; dinner and discussion in Aitkhozhina's residence

9/17 --------------------------- Formal conference of hosts and American Delegation in office of Ministry of Forestry followed by formal dinner given by Minister of Forestry; prepared specimens for transit

9/18-19 ------------------------ Travel to USA through Istanbul

 

Purpose of Trip:

 Large apple
A notably large sized apple found in the Karatau mountains (site 8)
The main objectives of this expedition were to: 1) collect seeds and leaf samples from trees of Malus sieversii selected at random sites throughout each site in order to characterize diverse populations using morphological and molecular methods; 2) Collect seeds and scions of superior specimens of M. sieversii within each population based on horticultural and disease characteristics, and; 3) Establish linkages with scientists in the Kazak Academy of Sciences to cooperate on continued characterization of the Kazak apple forests including studies to establish in situ reserves, check on progress of translation of previous works, and discuss future scientific exchange.
 
Executive Summary:

Old Apple Tree

  Stan Hokanson stands next to 300-year old apple tree in Djungarsky mountains (site 7).

From August 24 to September 19, 1996, the fourth trip to Central Asia to collect apple (Malus sieversii) germplasm was conducted in Kazakstan. The expedition was funded by USDA/ARS/NPGS and USDA/ARS/IRP. Our objectives were three-fold: 1) Collect seeds and leaf samples from trees at random throughout each site in order to characterize diverse populations using morphological and molecular methods; 2) Collect seeds and scions of superior types within each population based on horticultural and disease characteristics, and; 3) Establish linkages with scientists in the Kazak Academy of Sciences to continue cooperation on characterization of the Kazak apple forests, including studies to establish frameworks for in situ reserves, translation of previous works, and scientific exchange. We collected M. sieversii in nine distinct ecosystems, five of which had never been accessed in previous years. In three of four sites previously visited, fruiting was heavier than in previous years allowing for more complete sampling. Only in the northernmost site, Tarbagatai, which was very productive in the 1995 collection, did we see sparse fruiting. In this expedition, collections included random samples of leaves and 14,000 seeds from 260 trees across the nine sites. Population sizes varied at each site from 10 to 60 trees depending on size of the area and more importantly, time allotted for collection at each site by our hosts. We collected an additional 14,500 seeds from 47 superior trees throughout all sites. Scions were collected for 30 of these to establish clones. All fruit and trees were characterized with up to 25 descriptors along with associated site information. An English translation of the book, "Wild Apple Tree of Kazakstan" was obtained from our host, Professor Aimak Djangaliev. We are in the process of identifying a publisher for this book. Tentative plans were outlined with Professor Nagima Aitkhozhina, Director of the Institute for Molecular Biology in Almaty to assist with future molecular characterization of the wild apple populations. We expect her to visit the PGRU laboratory in the near future.


Last Modified: 2/23/2011