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.
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.