Zelkova sicula

Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_onStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA URTICALES ULMACEAE

Scientific Name: Zelkova sicula
Species Authority: Di Pasquale, Garfi & Quézel

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,v)+2ab(i,ii,v); C2a(ii); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor/s: Garfì, G.
Reviewer/s: Strahm, W. & de Montmollin, B. (Mediterranean Island Plants Red List Authority)
Justification:
This means that the area in which this species is found is very small, and both the area as well as the number of individuals continue to decline. The small number of individuals in a single declining population makes the probability of extinction of this species very high.
History:
1998 Critically Endangered (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Critically Endangered
1997 Endangered (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This single remote population extends 200 m along the banks of a stream on the northern slopes of the Iblei Mts in southeastern Sicily.
Countries:
Native:
Italy (Sicilia)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: One subpopulation of 200-250 individuals exists.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This small tree grows along the banks of a stream on north facing slopes in a very old Cork Oak (Quercus suber) forest.

The genus Zelkova only has a few species, of which a few grow in Western and Eastern Asia, plus two in the Mediterranean basin (this species in Sicily and another, Z. abelicea, which is a threatened endemic from Crete). These two species represent relicts that have persisted over a long period of time and may have been more widespread in the past. Both are threatened by habitat change.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The ancient oak forest hosting this species is rather degraded due to overexploitation (logging, grazing, and removal of cork) for several centuries. In addition, over the last few years several major droughts have caused the death of several trees. Z. sicula requires relatively moist conditions. Therefore, if rainfall remains low, this species is almost certain to become extinct.

Few flowering individuals have been seen in recent years and the fruit produced appears to be sterile. Reproduction is largely vegetative.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Actions in Place
Legally: No measures taken.

In situ: The distribution area of this species is fenced in order to prevent grazing. It is entirely situated within an SCI (Site of Community Importance) area, which is part of the Natura 2000 network.

Ex situ: This species is cultivated at the Botanical Conservatory of Brest, at the Botanical Garden of the University of Catania, and in the Arboretum "Monna Giovannella" of the University of Florence.

Actions Needed
A restoration plan including both ex situ and in situ activities needs to be established. In order to determine the degree of affiliation between all the individuals in the population, a broader genetic study needs to be undertaken.

Bibliography [top]

Bennett, K. 1997. Completed data collection form for Zelkova sicula.

Di Pasquale, G., Garfi, G. and Quézel, P. 1992. Sur la présence d'un Zelkova nouveau en Sicile sud-orientale. Biocosme Mésogéen 8 (4) - 9 (1): 401-409.

Fineschi, S., Anzidei, M., Cafasso, D., Cozzolino, S., Garfi, G., Pastorelli, R., Salvini, D., Taurchini, D. and Vendramin, G.G. 2002. Molecular markers reveal a strong genetic differentiation between two European relic tree species: Zelkova abelicea (Lam.) Boissier and Z. sicula Di Pasquale, Garfì & Quezel (Ulmaceae). Conservation Genetics 3: 145-153.

Garfì, G. 1996. Zelkova sicula, raro endemita siciliano. Origine, evoluzione, prospettive di conservazione. Boll. Acc. Gioenia Sci. Nat. Catania 29(352): 267-284.

Garfi, G. 1997. Completed data collection form for Zelkova sicula.

Garfì, G. 1997. On the flowering of Zelkova sicula (Ulmaceae): additional description and comments. Plant Biosystems 131(2): 137-142.

Garfì, G., Barbero, M., Tessier, L. 2002. Architecture and growth patterns of Zelkova sicula (Ulmaceae) in South-East Sicily as a response to environmental conditions. Journal of Mediterranean Ecology 3 (2-3): 65-76.

Iriondo, J.M., De Hond, L.J. and Gómez-Campo, C. 1994. Current research on the biology of threatened plant species of the Mediterranean Basin and Macronesi: a database. Bocconea 4:385.

IUCN. 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 04 May 2006.

Montmollin, B. de and Strahm, W. (eds). 2005. The Top 50 Mediterranean Island Plants: Wild plants at the brink of extinction, and what is needed to save them. IUCN SSC Mediterranean Islands Plant Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Nakagawa, T., Garfi, G., Reille, M. and Verlaque, R. 1998. Pollen Morphology of Zelkova sicula (Ulmaceae), a recently discovered relic species of European tertiary flora: its description, chromosomal relevance, and paleobotanical significance. Review of Paleobotany and Palinology 100: 27-37.

Oldfield, S., Lusty, C. and MacKinven, A. (compilers). 1998. The World List of Threatened Trees. World Conservation Press, Cambridge, UK.

Quézel, P., Di Pasquale, G. & Garfì, G. 1993. Découverte d'un Zelkova en Sicile sud-orientale. Incidence biogéographiques et historiques. C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris (ser. III) 316: 21–26.

Walter, K.S. and Gillett, H.J. (eds). 1998. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. IUCN - The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Yu-Fei, W., Ferguson, D.K., Zetter, R., Denk, T. and Garfi, G. 2001. The taxonomic significance of leaf architecture and epidermal characters in Zelkova, Ulmaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 136: 255-265.

Citation: Garfì, G. 2006. Zelkova sicula. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
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