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The Tian Shan mountains that straddle Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan on the west and China’s Xinjiang Province on the east are home to the Earth’s greatest collection of wild fruits of the rose family. Apples, pears, plums, apricots, and others are found in wild groves and forests and have been used by local farmers for centuries. Scientists from around the world are studying, collecting, and breeding this wonderful diversity to try to improve the genetics of domestic fruit for better disease resistance, cold tolerance, and even color. This presentation is a fascinating story of plant diversity colored with first-hand descriptions of a beautiful and little-known part of the world.

Presenter : Stan Brown directs the IDEAS Central Asia Harvest Project which has provided extension training beginning in 1994 to small- and medium-scale fruit farmers in Central Asia including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.