Botanic Garden Institute of the Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Science (BGI FEB RAS) is the only entirely botanical scientific institution in the Russian Far East. The main goal of the institute's scientific work is fundamental and applied research in the field of botany, plant ecology, forest ecology, and conservation.
Botanical Garden in Vladivostok was founded in February 1949 by the Council of Ministers of RSFSR; it became independent scientific institute in 1970. V.P.Kurianov was Botanical Garden's first director. In 1971, two scientific laboratories were formed in the Botanical Garden: Laboratory of the Far Eastern natural flora (headed by L.N. Slizik, candidate of sciences) and Laboratory of experimental ecology & plant acclimatization (headed by I.P.Petuhova, candidate of sciences). The personnel of Botanical Garden at that time included 14 research assosiates, including 6 candidates of sciences.
In 1974, A.F. Zhuravkov, candidate of agricultural science, became a director of the Botanical Garden. The third Laboratory of green zones & landscape architecture had been arisen in its structure. In 1976, two structural groups were created: dendrology group (headed by V.K.Vasilyuk, candidate of sciences) and floriculture group (headed by A.V.Gutnik, candidate of sciences).
Between 1976 and 1980 a brick laboratory structure had been built; the front part of the Botanic Garden was fenced in; the road-path system was arranged. That time, scientific staff consisted of 17 employees including 10 candidates of sciences.
In 1990, Botanical Garden in Vladivostok received a status of Scientific Research Institute, FEB RAS Presidium Resolution, February 13, 1990. During the period from 1996 to 2001 V.A.Nedoluzhko had been a director of the Botanical Garden-Institute (BGI).
In 2002-2010, under the leadership of Prof. Alexander V.Galanin, the Garden had continued to grow as a scientific institute
Since 2010 the Botanical Garden-Institute is headed by Executive Director Pavel V. Krestov.
At present there are six laboratories in the Institute:
and 8 interlaboratory groups including Seed Exchange Group, Web Technology Group, Microscope Group, Botanical Education Group, Chair of Experimental Botany, etc.
In 2004 Amur Botanic Garden (under director Prof. A.V.Krylov) and Sakhalin Botanic Garden (under director A.A.Taran, candidate of botanical sciences) have become the members of the Botanic Garden-Institute FEB RAS as branch officesm which was done by the Presidium FEB RAS resolution.
At present, 76 research associates, including 9 doctors of science and 31 candidates of science, work in BGI and its offices. 36 research associates, including 6 doctors of science, work for Vladivostok office . The institute works in several directions:
- Biological foundations of plants introduction;
- Gene pool conservation of Russian Far East Flora;
- Anthropogenic changes in vegetation.
Since 2004, scientific research in Botanic Garden-Institute has been carried out within two formal themes:
- Development of effective methods of ornamental plant introduction & selection in monsoon climate of the South Primorie
- Studying biological diversity, rhythms and natural catastrophe consequences in vegetation of the Russian Far East
At present, BGI FEB RAS is completely developed academic institution. Its formation happened thanks to the efforts of employees of several generations, who have worked here peviously and now. Botanic Garden-Institute in Vladivostok is not only plant expositions, but a truly creative collective as well. Its staff conducts research in different regions of the Far East and essentially contributes to understanding of plants and vegetation. The institute published a number of informational leaflets, reports, and guides with advice on plant growth, planting, use, and reproduction, several dozens of scientific and popular monographs and guidebooks. The group developed several dozens of new ornamental plants varieties and forms. Citizens of Vladivostok and Primorskii Region can acquaint with these varieties and technology through the number of exhibitions and collections with alive plants.
The Botanic Garden-Institute regularly conducts scientific conferences: “Plants in the Monsoon Climate” (1999, 2001, 2003), “Problems of Nature Reserves and Refuges” (1998), “Vegetation Monitoring in the Protected Territories of the Russian Far East” (2002), “Rhythms and Catastrophes in the Far Eastern Vegetation” (2004), etc.
Most of the area belonged to the Botanical Garden is used as a public park. 90% of the Botanic Garden-Institute territory (169 hectares) is covered by well-preserved vegetation typical for the Ussuri Taiga ecosystem. Excursion along the ecological track through the mixed fir-broadleaf forest gives general impression and understanding of the complexity and layers of conifer-deciduous forests of the Southern Primorie which Arseniev and V.L. Komarov wrote about. There is a black-fir deciduous forest stand in the park area which is the richest one in respect of forest species. Old trees of Korean pine and black fir, age of 200-300, located in the park area just in vicinities of the town amaze guests of Vladivostok. Oak forest which is common on the highland area can represent pyrogenic (post-fire) degradation of frontier old-growth native conifer-broadleaf forests.
There are 447 species of vascular plants on the forested area of the Institute (exclusive of alive collections), including 43 trees, 37 shrubs, 7 woody and 7 herbaceous lianas, and 353 herbs.
Displays and alive collections of the Far Eastern natural flora show 800 species including 120 rare and endangered plants, 42 listed in the Red Book of Russia. 12 species of endangered plants are protected within their native conditions.
BGI hosts a Herbarium with 40,000 specimens which is registered in the International Herbarium System and has its own International Index. Annually the BGI herbarium collections are replenished with 3-4,000 specimens. Each year seed collection is supplemented by hundreds of seed species prospective for introduction; introduction specialists select new interesting forms of plants for introduction; plant ecologists collect new samples of phytomass and soil.
The Garden contains its Arboretum with about 900 species of introduced trees and shrubs,. We have a lot of introduction species of gymnospermous plants including Ginkgo biloba which is a dinosaur contemporary, as well as Taxus cuspidata, the relic of Tertiary; Microbiota decussata, endemic plant of the Sichote-Alin Range; many species and forms of juniper, spruce, larch, fir, etc. All of this species can be used in the landscaping of Vladivostok.
The Botanic Garden-Institute has the richest in Russia collection of magnolias in the open soil, totaling 17 species, 4 of which give perfect seeds for the next reproduction. The collection is created and maintained by Irina P.Petukhova, candidate of sciences. All these species can be used in the landscaping of Vladivostok provided that the municipal service creates associated nursery.
Flower-ornamental plants collection in the open soil totals more than 1400 species and varieties. Only rose collection includes over 230 species and varieties.
In the result of hard work on introduction by specialists BGI FEB RAS managed to fotm the rich plant collection in the greenhouse, numbering 830 species, 305 genera and 102 families. This collection includes plants from South, Central and North America, Australia, Mediterranean, China, and Japan. Annually 272 species of them are in blossom and 50 species bare-fruit.
The Garden botanists have cultivated several dozens of new ornamental plant varieties (of chrysanthemum, iris, day-lily, etc.), having received necessary licenses and patents. Residents of Vladivostok and Primorskii Region can see these varieties visiting the exhibitions or just walking along the park area.
Main Accomplishments in 1999-2003
- Completion of the research on Mongolian Oak forest in the Russian Far East; Dr. Alexander P. Dobrynin.
- Study on the Flora of the Russian Island (859 species); Dr. V.A. Nedoluzhko,Dr. N.I. Denisov.
- Publishing a catalogue “Vascular plants of the Botanic Garden-Institute FEB RAS”
- Frontier forests map of the South Russian Far East; Dr. Alexander P. Dobrynin.
- Summarizing 35 years of introduction of ligneous lianas with recommendations on its usage in landscaping; Dr. Nikolai I. Denisov.
- Summarizing 15 years of introduction studies of rhododendrons with unique 45 species collection; Irina P. Petukhova.
- Studies of informational processes in the Mongolian Oak ecosystem; Alexander N. Prilutzkii.
- Participation in preparation of the Red Book of Primorskii Region (plants) and Red Book of Chita Oblast and Buryat Autonomous Region (plants)
During the last five years the number of doctors of science has increased from 2 to 9 in BGI FEB RAS. The number of candidates of sciences has increased from 10 to 32. At present, 5 associates are working on doctoral theses, 8 competitors and 5 post-graduates – at Ph.D. theses. The Science Council of the Botanic Garden-Institute consists of 9 doctors and 10 candidates of sciences including specialists from affiliated institutes, which ensures better understanding and coordination between various institutes of FEB RAS.
Main Publications of BGI FEB RAS in 1999-2004
- IV Far Eastern Conference on Nature Resrves. September 20-24, 1999, Vladivostok: Proceedings. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 1999, 192 pp.
- Vegetation Studies in the Russian Far East. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 1999.
- Plants in Nature and Culture. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2000.
- Plants of the Monsoon Climate: II International Conference: Proccedings. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2000, 274 pp.
- Dobrynin A.P. Mongolian Oak Forest in the Russian Far East (Biology, Geography, and Origin. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2000, 260 pp.
- Nedoluzhko V.A., N.I. Denisov. Flora of Vascular Plants of the Russian Island (Peter the Great Gulf, Sea of Japan). Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2001, 98 pp.
- Vascular Plants of Botanic Garden-Institute FEB RAS: Catalogue. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2001; 262 pp.
- Pshennikova L.M. New Woody Plants for the South Primorskii Region. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2002; 48 pp.
- Introduction Centers of the Russian Far East: Investigation Results (Materials of the First Summary Session of the Regional Committee of the Far Eastern Botanic Gardens, October 10-11, 2001, Vladivostok). Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2002; 205 pp.
- Denisov N.I. Ligneous Lianas of the Russian Far East. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2003; 348 pp.
- Nedoluzhko V.A., Denisov N.I., Khrapko O.V., Mironova L.N., Petukhova I.P., Pshennikova L.M., Miroshnichenko L.G., Partruta S.V. Botanic Garden Institute of the Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Science (A Guide). Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2002; 60 pp.
- Pshennikova L.M., Urusov V.M. Trees and Shrubs of the Muraviev-Amurskii Peninsula: Gymnospermae. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2003; 64 pp.
- Prilutzkii A.N. Viability of Mongolian Oak in Different Moisture Conditions. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2003; 164 pp.
- Landscaping of the School Area. Vladivostok, 2003; 142 pp.
- Vegetation Monitoring of Protected Areas in the Russian Far East. Vladivostok: BGI FEB RAS, 2003; 277 pp.
- Petukhova I.P. Magnolias Under Conditions of the South Far East. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2003; 103 pp.
- Plants in the Monsoon Climate III: International Conference Proceedings. (Vladivostok, October, 22-25, 2003) Vladivostok: BGI FEB RAS, 2003; 445 pp.
- Flora of Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve. Vladivostok: BGI FEB RAS, 2004; 301 pp.
The nearest interests of BGI cover studying of the genetic diversity of the Far Eastern flora, development of database of the Far Eastern biodiversity and vegetation, and studies of seeds crioconservation as a tool of their preservation and keeping.
Studying of plants life cycle and peculiarities of their morphology allows to define the structure of species life history in order to explain evolution of specific taxa. Studying of the seasonal rhythm flexibility is of a great not only theoretical but also practical interest. Such research require permanent observation, which can be fully accomplished only in the Botanic Garden-Institute.
One of the perspective directions is the landscaping design and landscaping architecture, effectively developing field of science, where one can observe formation of various concepts, new terms, ramifications, etc. Landscaping architecture can be briefly defined as a science, aimed at organization and optimization the space, where humans live. The main goal of these studies are:
- Reconsideration of existing and developing new assortments for the different types of landscaping ;
- Creation of the demonstrational landscaping designs on the BGI park area;
- Organization of already existing expositions taking into consideration landscaping architecture approaches;
- Conducting trainings, seminars, courses, and exhibitions in different directions of landscaping architecture;
- Expanding the existing ones and creation of new nursery collections, perspective for interior and outdoor landscaping.
Importance of the Botanic Garden-Institute
During the last 5 years, BGI published over 18 books, 20 guides and booklets about plants and technology of their cultivation in the South Primorie. Employees of the institute have published several dozens of monographs, hundreds science articles consulting on planting, reproduction, and maintaining collections of ornamental plants, vegetation of RFE.
Many employees of the Garden lecture in institutes of higher education as well consult teachers of universities, colledges and schools. BGI took part in the Federal Program “The Governmental Support of the Higher Education & Fundamental Science Integration 1997-2000”. Many years our specialists work as trainers and educators in the ecological Marathon Camp “Silver Spring”.
Every summer our specialist conduct training sessions and learning practice in the Botanic Garden-Institute with students of various universities and schools of Primorskii, Region improving their awareness in botany and environmental sciences. Special training sessions on plants morphology, taxonomy, and geography are carried out for students of Biological School, Far Eastern State University; summer trainings on outdoor landscaping and floriculture for students of Design Department, Institute of Architecture.
Garden's collections serve as educational tool for the school teachers, who come here with their students to conduct excursions and botanical lessons. There were conducted special trainings for teachers of Primorskii Region on subjects “Organizing School Forestry”, “Renovation of School Biological and Science Education”, etc. During 2000-2001, together with the State Public Gorkii Library, lessons for secondary school teachers had been conducted in Environmental Science Department of the Far Eastern State University.
About 100,000 people visit our Garden annually, including children at preschool age, school and colledge students, etc. Vladivostok boasts a new tradition to visit Botanic Garden through wedding: newly married plant their own tree in the special Wedding Alley. Botanicak Garden is intensely visited by foreign guests and delegations. Specific subject excursions are conducted for various specialists of the Region; scientists consult visitors on ornamental plants and herbs growing, landscape design, and fundamental botany.
BGI FEB RAS is unusual academic institution. Except fundamental scientific research it conducts proactive botanical and environmental education of local residents and visitors; creates natural plants collections, which can be successfully used in urban outdoor and indoor landscaping. Our Institute develops aesthetic awareness and cultivates a new botanical perspective in urban society. Besides, the Botanic Garden collections and park area is a favorite recreation area for thousands of local residents. Scentific research/educational activity ratio in an ordinary academic institution is 9:1, but Botanic Garden has 5:5. Such ratio is reflected not only in resources distribution within the budget, but also in staff structure.
Proactive work with Vladivostok citizens is an extremely important direction of the institute . This work includes educational training on botany, plant ecology, environmental science and begins from the ordinary visiting park area and sightseeing to considering specific lectures and special educational programs on plant cultivation, floriculture, horticulture and landscape design. The whole spectrum of the work requires special facilities, which exist, but are under repair. We lack funds to complete repair of Visitor Center which adversely affects educational activities, in winter and spring in particular. To finish the repair of Visitor Center and Botanic Museum 2 million roubles is necessary. Besides, our park area open for the public is littered by a great quantity of visitors. So far small groups of volunteers, largely students, have conducted clean-ups, but we need much more volunteers involved.
Another problem is associated with the road-path system both in the park area and the alive collections, which was damaged in the result of 2000 and 2001 typhoons. 1.5 million roubles are necessary for its reconstruction.
The most important problem of the Botanic Garden-Institute is a thorough repairs of the main greenhouse structure. Presently, we completed a new roof system and started fixing a heating system. The institute has a new greenhouse reconstruction project costed 7 million roubles, but assigned funds by the Presidium FEB RAS include only 700-800,000 roubles. Since 2004, some sponsor and donors have appeared, AlfaBank is the largest one, but still not enough to accomplish all ongoing projects. Thus, we have an old laboratory building suffered from fire in 2000 which needs repairing; the heating system and a roof of main laboratory structure need repai too. It would be wonderful to arrange a parking lot near the Garden's territory, at visitors' desire. We would appreciate if contributors and donors help us with these problem-solving.