An expedition of the South Tyrolean delegation, which i.a. Walter Guerra (Laimburg Research Centre) and Markus Bradlwarter (Variety Innovation Consortium South Tyrol) were part of, led to the apple forests of Kazakhstan. In these forests, the origins of our domesticated cultivated apples Malus domestica can be found: Malus sieversii. The experts of the delegation found mainly small, yellow, bitter fruits that were susceptible to scab and other diseases. However, they could find also some examples of bicolored or less susceptible varieties. In addition, they found the origin of some of the red-fleshed varieties.
In the past, the apple forests were widely cleared for firewood and to create agricultural areas. Luckily, the forests are protected in nature reserves and in nature reservation centers today.