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.
Pinus cembra is an outsider among the European pine species: it is a five-needle pine, closely related to the Siberian and East-Asiatic P. sibirica, P. pumila and P. koraiensis. The isolated populations of P. cembra in canton of Fribourg possess an enormous biogeographic and conservation value. Vincent Sonnenwyl (University of Fribourg) started the field work for his Master Thesis (2020-2021) focused on (1) History and extent of artificial afforestation in canton of Fribourg; (2) Distribution and characterization of all populations in canton of Fribourg; (3) A genetic study in order to assess the differences in genetic diversity between the artificial stands and natural populations.
Successful PhD defence
We are very proud to announce that Yi-Gang Song successfully completed his doctoral thesis at the University of Freiburg on the 11th of December 2019. The PhD was realized in close cooperation with the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden in China. On behalf of the Zelkova and Pterocarya networks we would like to congratulate him on this success. The title of the dissertation is: Past, present and future of relict trees: diversity, phylogeny, and biogeography of Juglandaceae.
Major refugia of relict trees: recent advances in research and conservation (7th-12th July 2019)
The symposium took place between the 7th and 9th of July 2019 at the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden and was organized by the Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Centre (CAS) in collaboration with the Botanical Garden of the University of Fribourg and the Natural History Museum of Fribourg (NHMF), Switzerland. It gathered scientists and conservationists from more than 10 countries, working on relict and threatened woody species. An accompanying field trip to Nanyang (Henan Province) and to the surrounding mountains (e.g., Lao-Jie-Ling) was organized between the 9th and 12th of July 2019.
The Red List of Zelkova 2019
The publication is a compilation of the conservation status assessments carried out by the Zelkova-team from Fribourg and our partner institutions. It would not be possible without the revision of the status of Z. carpinifolia as well as the first-ever assessments of the three East Asiatic species: Z. serrata, Z. sinica and Z. schneideriana carried out in 2018. The redlisting of Z. sicula took place already in 2017 and Z. abelicea in 2012.
« Wingnuts (Pterocarya) & walnut family. Relict trees: linking the past, present and future. »
The book is the culmination of more than four years of exploration and international co-operation. The authors recount an extraordinary journey to the most beautiful and, at the same time, the most threatened relict forests. The future of relict trees is uncertain. Many species are threatened by changes in accelerated land use and climate change. This book, which portrays the beauty and diversity of this unique family in all its glory, should encourage on-going conservation and research efforts worldwide.
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