News & Views

Tillo Boboev, Pioneering Tajik Botanist, Dies at 77

Accomplished Tajik scientist and botanist, Tillo Boboev — founder of the Kulob Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan — passed away on March 4th, 2018, at the age of 77. A central tenet of his life’s work was reconnecting youth and rural communities in Central Asia to their rich biocultural heritage in the years following the collapse of the  Soviet Union.

Born on January 24th, 1941 in the mountainous Khovaling district of Tajikistan, Tillo Boboev was a dedicated steward of the unique flora of Tajikistan. After completing post-graduate studies at the Institute of Zoology and Parasitology he defended his thesis on “Entomophages and their use against pests of fruit trees in Central Tajikistan.” From 1977 to 1984 he served as Dean of the Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology and from 1999 on he was the head of the scientific center of the Khatlon region at the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan. Tillo Boboev authored 15 books and more than 120 scientific papers over the course of his career, but he was best known for the scientific and Indigenous knowledge that he put into practice.

Throughout his life, Tillo Boboev exhibited a deep responsibility for the natural world and worked tirelessly to createconditions for preserving the unique flora of  Tajikistan; to encourage botanical research and conservation; and to attract the attention and support of scientists around the world. Perhaps the crowning achievement of his career was founding and directing the renowned Kulob Botanical Garden, which over more than three decades would grow to cover 16 hectares and be visited by scientists, researchers, students and government officials from around the world.

Since 2010, Tillo Boboev has been a key partner and friend of The Christensen Fund. “Ganji Tabiat”, the public organization that he founded and a Christensen Fund grantee, has been instrumental in revitalizing Central Asian agrobiodiversity as a means to improve livelihoods and to help the region’s rural mountain communities to adapt to climate change. Tillo Boboev will be dearly missed, though the seeds that he has planted will continue to bear fruit in every way, for generations to come.