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Zimbabwe (2018)

Conservation Horticulture for the Encephalartos Chimanimaniensis, a Critically Endangered Cycad in Zimbabwe

Tarisai Mike Nyamucherera

Titre : Conservation Horticulture for the Encephalartos Chimanimaniensis, a Critically Endangered Cycad in Zimbabwe

Pays : Zimbabwe

Zone d’intervention : Harare

Date : 25 Jan 2018

Bénéficiaire : Tarisai Mike Nyamucherera

The Encephalartos Chimanimaniensis faces serious extinction possibilities as the plant species has been extremely decimated in the natural habitat due to poaching and other human activities. Currently there are no projects ongoing aimed at rescuing or propagation for this plant at any the largest herbariums in Zimbabwe who have a combined total of less than 8 mature plants within their premises. This project will therefore focus on conservation horticulture for the Encephalartos Chimanimaniensis, a critically endangered cycad in Zimbabwe.

The first component will consist of the roll out of specialised cycad identification and enforcement skills training/engagement programme, aimed at law enforcement officials, who are mandated to protect cycads, but lack the necessary specialised skills. The second component of the project will be a dedicated awareness campaign for the law enforcement officials to make state prosecutors aware of the consequences of cycads becoming extinct and the reasons why successful convictions and maximum penalties are essential for effective enforcement in relation to cycad conservation. from there, the team is also working to collect a large sample of Encephalartos Chimanimaniensis seeds to a garden at the National Herbarium and Botanical Gardens of Zimbabwe propagate them and to grow in the collections of the garden. Since the seeds will be collected from multiple mother plants from several populations, there will be good representation of genetic diversity. The nursery will enable the team to compare recovery techniques to address essential research questions such as survival rates of plants where the method of introduction involved seed, seedlings or adult plants. Using the knowledge of the project, it is envisaged that this project shall also share experiences to other cycad growers and collectors on the propagation of the Encephalartos Chimanimaniensis. This training shall combine both theoretical and hands-on approach including among others seed selection, storage, germination, nursery bed establishment & management, transplanting. In addition, the team will attempt to compile a basic protocol (technical instruction) manual for the reproduction of the species in nursery.
This propagation protocol will contain basic information for obtaining seeds and seedlings (e.g., period of collection of fruits and seeds, pregermination treatments to eliminate dormancy and adequate light conditions for the growth of the seedlings). Finally, the project will contribute to and become an important component of on-going efforts to coordinate activities within the "National Strategy for Conservation of Plants" in Zimbabwe.

The Rufford Foundation

Page publiée le 13 juin 2018