In 2010, the Botanic Garden of the University of Fribourg (BGF, Switzerland), in collaboration with the Natural History Museum Fribourg (NHMF, Switzerland) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI, United Kingdom), initiated an interdisciplinary project to undertake the scientific review and coordinated conservation actions on relict, rare and threatened woody species, with a main focus on the relict tree genus Zelkova (Ulmaceae). Further research partners joined Project Zelkova during the past years (see under Partners) forming today an international network of ca. 20 institutions from ca. 10 countries worldwide.
Pterocarya tonkinensis has the most southern distribution among the species of the genus - it occurs in riparian forests of Southern China, Laos and Vietnam. An expedition was held in 2015 in order to find and investigate this fascinating tree in Vietnam in collaboration with the Vietnam National University of Forestry in Hanoi.
Quand les arbres nous parlent / Wenn die Bäume sprechen könnten: The conference (in French) was held at the Botanic Garden of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) on 27th of February 2016. Main subject: Relict trees of Crete (Greece), Georgia (South Caucasus) and Japan.
One of the project activities is to monitor on a yearly basis the vegetation and shoot elongation of Zelkova abelicea within the fenced pilot plots as compared to the situation outside the fenced plots in browsed areas. In several plots, shoot elongation clearly increased, with some shoots measuring over 40 cm already in mid-June.
Ooyamazawa Riparian Forest Reserve
Riparian forests with P. rhoifolia are extremely rich in interesting tree species: Cercidiphyllum japonicum, Acer shirasawanum, A. capillipes, A. distylum, A. carpinifolium, Fraxinus platypoda, etc. In July 2015 a joined excursion of the Zelkova-Team with researchers and foresters of the Sado Station of the Niigata University, was carried out to the Ooyamazawa Riparian Forest.
"De mémoire d'arbre / Bäume erinnern sich"
The exhibition was realized in collaboration with Design NG Tornay (Fribourg). It presented the most emblematic trees and shrubs from Macaronesia, Colchis and Transcaucasia and was opened till 31st of January 2016.
Project Zelkova addresses five main objectives
- Basic and applied research on relict, rare and/or threatened woody species (biogeography, conservation biology, phylogeny, phylogeography, population genetics, population structure, dendrochronology, etc.).
- Conservation actions (in situ and ex situ conservation), action plans and conservation status assessments.
- Capacity building (teaching, internships, exchange of students and young scientists, etc.).
- Public awareness and outreach (exhibitions, books, workshops, etc.).
- Iconographic collections (scientific photography, scientific drawings, etc.)
PTEROCARYA & JUGLANDACEAE
Conservation biogeography of Pterocarya & Juglandaceae
Relict and threatened woody species of Azerbaijan
Relict trees of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan