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What we do
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Премия рунета 2017

LET'S SAVE BOXWOOD TOGETHER!

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

Buxus colchica is a tree species listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation. It naturally grows in the Caucasus only. In the past, the Buxus colchica forests were logged for exceptionally hard ivory-like timber. Today Buxus colchica is endangered species because of box tree moth invasion. The pest was introduced into Russia with the planting stock of another boxwood species delivered for gardening of Sochi during the preparation for the Olympic Games.

99% of natural Buxus Colchica forests have already been degraded.

The Buxus colchica is not just another evergreen tree. It is a genuine treasure of the planet's natural history and its biodiversity. The Buxus colchica survived during the Ice Age and has scarcely changed in the last 20 million years. To conserve this species today means to let our children see the Earth as it used to be long before we were born. There is a saying in the Abkhasia: "Even the Buxus colchica tree can't remember". It is used to describe some events that have happened long ago.

Experts consider about 99% of natural Buxus colchica habitats have already been destroyed, including the ones in the territory of the Western Caucasus UNESCO World Heritage Site. A unique landmark – Taxus baccata and Buxus colchica grove in Sochi – is lost forever. The chance to find viable seeds for Buxus colchica restoration is dwindling each year. However, it is not late to save the species yet.

Left side of the photos below: Buxus colchica grove before box tree moth invasion.
Right side of the photos below: Buxus colchica grove after box tree moth invasion.

WHAT WE DO?
In 2015-2017 with the support of the "WWF-IKEA Partnership on Forests" we mapped HCV forest sites with the original Buxus colchica habitats in the Krasnodar Region and the Republic of Adygea. Research data is essential for green cuttings and viable seeds collecting, we'll also use it when the plant is restored back into wilderness.
We're establishing a mother plantation of the Buxus colchica on the premises of the Apsheronsk Forestry Technical College in the Krasnodar region. We have already built a special greenhouse to protect the young seedlings against the repeat attacks of the box tree moth. The greenhouse maintains a perfect microclimatic environment for Buxus colchica to grow.
We collect seeds and young Buxus colchica trees, which have survived and demonstrated individual resistance to the box tree moth, and replant them into the greenhouse. Thus we’ll get maximum possible number of plants for further species restoration.
We plan to restore the natural Buxus Colchica forests in the ecoregion. 
Buxus colchica greenhouse opening ceremony in 2018

For additional information: 

Elena Cherkasova, project coordinator 

Learn more about the project watching our movie:

WWF-Russia presents movie about Buxus colchica conservation which is available with English subtitles. Please click on Settings button in the lower right corner of the video to choose English subtitles: