One Step Forward: Several More Needed!
Pavlovsk Collection Still Under Threat Despite Progress
In Moscow, the Housing Foundation - the agency attempting to seize the land of the Pavlovsk Station has announced that it is willing to delay destruction of a portion of forage crop collection.
Legally, the land on which the Pavlovsk Collection is situated is divided into two portions, one containing the forage collection and the other more important one containing the Station's famous collection of fruits and berries. The developers have granted a "reprieve" for the forages. They propose to establish a scientific commission to evaluate the uniqueness and importance of the collection - presumably the entire collection - and possibly to give Pavlovsk 5-7 years to move the forage collection. Unfortunately, the fate of the larger and even more important fruit and berry collection remains unclear.
Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, welcomed the move to establish a commission to provide scientific input. "It's a positive step and we are grateful that the authorities have chosen to listen to the scientific community and provide a more transparent process." But, he cautioned that the threat of destruction still hangs over the fruit and berry collection because the developers have given no signals that they are willing to forego the bull-dozing of that parcel of land.
Fowler also pointed out that if the fruit and berry collection is turned into a housing development, the Pavlovsk scientists will have no place to relocate the forage collection, thus the reprieve in itself would be insufficient to save even that collection. "Every reason continues to exist for us to be extremely concerned about the fate of this diversity, even as we note with appreciation the positive step taken by the developers. We hope this signals the beginning of a willingness to appreciate the value of this collection and a commitment to its continued existence," Fowler stated.