Every year the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche (Benetton Foundation) awards the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens – to attract attention to a site which is particularly rich in natural, historical and creative values. This year the jury has decided to dedicate the twenty-seventh award to the wild apple forests of the Tien Shan, the woodlands that stretch from western China across northern Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and right down to south Kazakhstan. This area is rich in wild apple trees that gave the former capital of Kazakhstan its name: Almaty, or 'Fatherland of Apples'.
On Saturday, 14 May, Bioversity International's Director General, Ann Tutwiler, joined experts from different disciplines, to get to know the Tien Shan site and its history, its natural and cultural idiosyncrasies, the historical-geographical context and the connections with contemporary problems regarding agronomic, landscape, biological and ecological aspects. "I was inspired by the passion of the three women who received the prize on behalf of the Tien Sen forest and their true commitment to seeing this region and its treasures honored and conserved," she said after the event that was held in Treviso, Italy.
In her presentation, Ann took the audience on a photographic voyage around the world and talk about the link between our planet’s natural and peoples’ cultural biodiversity.
Photo: Collecting apples from fruit orchard, Kyrgyzstan. Credit: Kuban Turgunbaev