3.	Dense growth for previously browsed Zelkova abelicea in a plot in western Crete.
Project Zelkova abelicea - 2017

In 2017, the Zelkova abelicea conservation project entered a new phase after the completion of the initial phase that ran from 2014-2016. During this second phase, the applied conservation actions and efforts were pursued and adapted. There are now over 30 fenced areas containing Z. abelicea individuals throughout all the mountains of Crete.

Xiaolong Mountain
Pterocarya forests in Xiaolong Mountain (China)

Xiaolong Mountain National Nature Reserve is located in the western part of the Qinling Mountains (Gansu province in Central China). In August 2017, an expedition took place, in order to explore the Pterocarya forests of this area. It was organized and coordinated by Yi-Gang Song, our PhD student at the University of Fribourg and at the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden. Vast virgin forests with large pure Pterocarya hupehensis stands, have been found and studied during the expedition. Additionally, two further Pterocarya species (P. macroptera and P. stenoptera) have been observed in this area, mainly along rivers.

Moléson summit, FR
Workshop and Symposium in Switzerland (June 2017)

Between the 26th and 30th of June 2017 a workshop organized by our Zelkova-team took place in Switzerland, gathering the international partners and members of our research and conservation networks of Pterocarya and Zelkova. At the end of the meeting a symposium entitled “Mediterranean meets Eastern Asia – international and interdisciplinary cooperation in research and conservation of relict trees” took place at the Botanic Garden of the University of Fribourg in collaboration with the Natural History Museum Fribourg (NHMF). Invited speakers from Switzerland, Italy, Poland, China, Vietnam and Japan presented their research projects and conservation actions carried out in different countries and regions of Europe and Asia.

Pterocarya tonkinensis
Vietnam - the diversity center of Juglandaceae

Vietnam is one of the main centers of species and genera diversity of the Juglandaceae family, with minimum 10 species representing 6 genera. In April 2017 our Zelkova-team organized a scientific expedition to Vietnam in order to explore and collect iconographic material of Juglandaceae of this fascinating country as well as to officially sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and the Vietnam National University of Forestry (VNUF).

Taxodium distichum and Nyssa aquatica, the two dominant species of bottomland hardwood forests. Congaree National Park, South Carolina
The United States: a hotspot of diversity for relict trees

The eastern and western coasts of the United States have played a particularly important role as climatic refugia for plants during cold phases throughout the Cenozoic. Nowadays, these regions share some of the rarest relict trees with Asia and the Caucasus (e.g. Gleditsia, Liquidambar, Castanea). The United States are also very important for the Juglandaceae family, with approximately 11 species of Carya distributed along the East Coast and 6 species of Juglans along the West Coast. Thus, it became essential for the Zelkova-Team to enhance the general knowledge and understanding of relict trees and in particular of members of the Juglandaceae family coming from the New World. Therefore, an expedition was organized in the USA in October 2016 with the great help and collaboration of the Arnold Arboretum of the Harvard University.


Our research and conservation activities

  1. Basic and applied research on relict, rare and/or threatened woody species (biogeography, conservation biology, phylogeny, phylogeography, population genetics, population structure, dendrochronology, etc.).
  2. Conservation actions (in situ and ex situ conservation), action plans and conservation status assessments.
  3. Capacity building (teaching, internships, exchange of students and young scientists, etc.).
  4. Public awareness and outreach (exhibitions, books, workshops, etc.).
  5. Iconographic collections (scientific photography, scientific drawings, etc.)

Conservation and research

Conservation and research

Conservation biogeography of Pterocarya & Juglandaceae

Relict and threatened woody species of Azerbaijan

Relict trees of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan

Local conservation & research projects, exhibitions, discoveries.