The last surviving wild apple forests in the world are found in the Tien Shan mountain range of southern Kazakhstan. A wide genetic diversity among plant species has developed in the mountains. Pictures and text by the BBC's Rayhan Demytrie in Almaty.
The forests of Kazakhstan, and other Central Asian states, are being cut down as urbanisation and agriculture spread. Many wild fruit and nut species in the region are now faced with extinction.
The Kazakh Botanical Institute maintains a wild apple orchard in the centre of Almaty which it uses to study the genetic diversity of the wild species.
Malus sieversii is thought to be the progenitor of almost all varieties of domesticated apple in the world but is listed as an endangered species. It is used in breeding programmes to develop domestic apples that are more resistant to disease and drought.
Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty, is named for the Kazakh word for apple. Its altitude and climate are ideal for growing apples, but the city has expanded in recent years at the expense of its orchards.
Central Asia is home to dozens of other fruit and nut species facing extinction from over-development and climate change.
Asem is a researcher at the Kazakh Botanical Institute. She wants to become a trained botanist and travel the world, telling people about the birthplace of the apple - Kazakhstan.
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