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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Afrique du Sud → 2019 → The conservation, ecology, and distribution of the critically endangered Encephalartos latifrons Lehm

Rhodes University (2019)

The conservation, ecology, and distribution of the critically endangered Encephalartos latifrons Lehm

Swart, Carin

Titre : The conservation, ecology, and distribution of the critically endangered Encephalartos latifrons Lehm

Auteur : Swart, Carin

Université de soutenance : Rhodes University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2019

Résumé partiel
Cycads have attracted global attention both as horticulturally interesting and often valuable plants ; but also as some of the most threatened organisms on the planet. In this thesis I investigate the conservation management, biology, reproductive ecology and distribution of Encephalartos latifrons populations in the wild and draw out conclusions on how best to conserve global cycad biodiversity. I also employ computer-modelling techniques in some of the chapters of this thesis to demonstrate how to improve conservation outcomes for E. latifrons and endangered species in general, where information on the distribution, biology and habitat requirements of such species are inherently limited, often precluding robust conservation decision-making. In Chapter 1 of this thesis I introduce the concept of extinction debt and elucidate the importance of in situ cycad conservation. I explain how the concept of extinction debt relates to single species, as well as give details on the mechanisms causing extinction debt in cycad populations. I introduce the six extinction trajectory threshold model and how this relates to extinction debt in cycads. I discuss the vulnerability of cycads to extinction and give an overview of biodiversity policy in South Africa. I expand on how national and global policies contribute to cycad conservation and present various global initiatives that support threatened species conservation. I conclude Chapter 1 by explaining how computer-based models can assist conservation decision-making for rare, threatened, and endangered species in the face of uncertainty. Chapter 2 of this thesis illustrates how a modelling approach, using limited available historical and present day locality information, is a feasible method to determine areas of suitable habitat for E. latifrons and other critically endangered cycad species where locality information is inherently uncommon. Results from this chapter show that conservation planning through structured decision-making may be improved by the use of computer models, even when locality data are limited. These results may be incorporated into biodiversity conservation plans or used to assist conservation-decision makers when undertaking recovery efforts for E. latifrons and may provide guidance to conservation planners and policy makers when undertaking conservation plans to improve cycad biodiversity both nationally and globally. There was limited information available in the biology and ecological requirements of E. latifrons. This information is important when making policy decisions such as the publication of non-detriment findings and compiling biodiversity management plans for this and other cycad species. Chapter 3 investigates the life-history, population structure, fire response and survival of an in situ E. latifrons population. A demographic census was undertaken between 2013 and 2017 on a previously undiscovered population. Population characteristics of the “new” population were compared to the demographics of a well-known and intensively managed population.

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Page publiée le 11 avril 2020