The Red List and Ex situ Survey of Zelkova

The Red List of Zelkova

The Red List of Zelkova was published in 2018. Zelkova is a small genus of relict trees belonging to the elm family (Ulmaceae). The genus comprises six extant species with a disjunct distribution pattern; three species in East Asia, one species in Southwest Asia and two species on the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Crete. All six Zelkova species were assessed using IUCN methodology and this report revealed that all but one species (83%) are considered globally threatened. The most commonly recorded threat to the genus is anthropogenic habitat fragmentation and the resulting geographic isolation of subpopulations as well as a very low rate of natural regeneration and high seedling mortality.

Global Survey of Ex situ Zelkova Collections

In 2010, a Global Survey of Zelkova Collections was carried out to gauge the status of all six Zelkova species in living ex situ collections. The majority of botanic institutions with Zelkova collections are not found in locations of their origin, but in central and northern Europe and North America, in countries with a long-standing horticultural tradition. A mere 20% of the plants grown in ex situ collections is of known wild provenance. The report also sets priorities for conserving Zelkova with recommendations for creating new ex situ collections as well as improving management of existing collections.

Zelkova abelicea (Endangered), Crete. Photo credit: Gregor Kozlowski

Associated resources

  • The Red List of Zelkova

    Conservation Prioritisation, Tree Conservation / Publication / English
  • Global Survey of Ex situ Zelkova Collections

    Conservation Prioritisation, Tree Conservation / Publication / English

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