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.
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.
The short movie (8 minutes) was realized using film material collected during our expedition to Tawian in 2013. The main aim of the field work was to find natural populations of Zelkova serrata and its enigmatic subspecies Z. serrata subsp. tarokoensis (shown in the movie: 2:20-2:40). The movie shows also fascinating landscapes of this pacific island, as well as many other interesting plants and animals.
Since 2015 an extension of the Project Zelkova was elaborated in order to explore and protect other genera and families of relict trees. The main focus is put on the genus Pterocarya and on the family Juglandaceae.
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