Zelkova sicula 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Urticales Ulmaceae

Scientific Name: Zelkova sicula
Species Authority: Di Pasq., Garfi & Quézel
Taxonomic Source(s): The Plant List. 2016. The Plant List. Version 1.1. RBG Kew. Available at: http://www.theplantlist.org/.

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)
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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

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 occurrence:
Italy (Sicilia)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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

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.

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.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.3. Other ecosystem modifications
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

0. Root -> 4. Other

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. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T61678A12522379. . Downloaded on 20 January 2017.
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