The 21st century has seen the beginning of a second hundred-year study of flora and vegetation in East Asia. The East Asian, or Sino-Japanese floristic region contains one of the world's richest and most ancient floras, the value of which for humankind is not yet fully understood. The previous hundred-year study of East-Asian flora and vegetation in China, Japan, Korea and Russia, has resulted in an accumulation of great knowledge. Nevertheless, political, cultural and methodological differences have created many disagreements in terms and theories of plant-related disciplines. In contrast to Eurasian phytogeography, in which vegetation zonation served as a useful model for elaboration of concepts and theories, the eastern edge of Eurasia still has many unsolved problems. These reflect the lack of existing schemes that adequately explain the underlying complexity of a vegetation that has formed under the combined influences of the Asian monsoon system, its interactions with continental air masses, complex topography, climate and geologically recent landscape change. We anticipate that this symposium will provide a useful step forward in understanding the formative processes of one of the world's most significant floras as well as an improved historical perspective of its influence on vegetation formation on different continents.
The main theme of the Symposium
The purpose of the symposium is not only to exchange knowledge but also to find common points in existing and developing theories and a logical basis for the future study of East Asian flora and vegetation as a phytogeographical unit in its own right. We expect the main topics will include:
1. Holocene history of vegetation in East Asia
2. Floristic and geobotanical input into phytogeographical concepts
3. Phylogeography: current state-of-the-art
4. Plant taxonomy: a key to understanding plant diversity
5. East Asian contribution into the world's floras
6. Conserving East Asian plant diversity: a botanical gardens perspective
In addition to papers on these topics, we welcome your proposals for new subjects to be discussed during the Symposium.