From July, 30th, to August, 3rd, 8 members of 4 institutions of the Alpine Seed Conservation and Research project (MSB London, University of Innsbruck, University of Graz, Gap Alpine National Botanic Conservatory and Geneva Conservatory and Botanic Garden) had a common fieldtrip in the Alps, in the area of Haut Val de Bagnes (Valais). We spent these 4 days of botanical hiking to exchange experiences, discuss about the state of different aspects of the project and to collect seeds of the species list. Last but not least, the movie about the project moved forward: we were accompanied by a cameraman who was able to shoot many sequences on the spot, the weather being luckily mostly beautiful during the trip.
All participating members were happy of the success of this rewarding trip. Although it is worrying to note in the field that our efforts to safeguard alpine flora are certainly relevant: the retreat of glaciers in this emblematic valley unfolded before our eyes during these days of heat wave.
A joint field trip of CBNA and CJBG was organized at the end of July 2017 in the area of Zermatt, especially looking for Trifolium saxatile All. Sweet clover (Felsenklee, trèfle des rochers, trifoglio dei greti) is a pioneer heliophilous sub-alpine to alpine species . It grows mostly on sandy-gravelly alluvial soils on the edges of torrents and on recent moraires. This uncompetitive species depends on particular conditions (torrential erosion, landslide dynamic) to maintain an open environment. Consequently, it has a very limited potential habitat in the Alps and is listed as “vulnerable” in Switzerland. In this country, it is endemic to the Vispvalleys region (Zermatt, Saas Fee) and distributed between 1400 and 2700 m. above sea level. In a splendid landscape under the Gornergrat, at the edge of the Gorner glacier, one quite large population has been identified and described. Leaf samples were taken for DNA analysis in Gap-Charance and seeds harvested for cold storage in Geneva. We could collect some other species in this area during this trip.