Strengthening the population of threatened tree species in the Colombian Caribbean region
ID: 613 / 214
Proposed Symposium Title: Strengthening the population of threatened tree species in the Colombian Caribbean region
Maria Paula Contreras1
Affiliations: Horticulture and Science Department, Cartagena Botanical Garden, Colombia
The Colombian Caribbean region houses three of the most threatened ecosystems and areas in the country: the tropical dry forest, the mangrove forests, and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Among the main threats are non-sustainable cattle farming, unplanned urban development that causes deforestation, and climate change. Aiming to strengthen the population of Caribbean threatened species, Pachira quinata (VU), Libidibia punctata (VU), Handroanthus coralibe (VU), Clavija sanctae-martae (VU),Aspidosperma polyneuron (EN), Pelliciera benthamii ex. Pelliciera rhizophorae (VU), and Pterocarpus acapulcensis (VU),studies in their distribution, propagation and phenology were made. No actions to conserve and strengthen their populations have been reported in the last decade, and the non-scientific public usually does not know their conservation status and importance. Few places that host the native population are under conservation status (public or private). However, there are currently no actions focused on their conservation and propagation in nurseries at a large scale. The Cartagena Botanical Garden’s science and horticulture teams have worked together to strengthen the population of the previous mention native threatened tree species. The Garden strives to conserve, restore, and enrich the ecosystems through long-lasting actions involving local communities. Several field trips to coastal and middle-elevation localities have allowed seed collection, phenological annotations and the recognition of potential planting areas. The Garden has successfully established a partnership with local nurseries, one in the northern Caribbean municipality of Colombia, La Guajira, and the other in Magdalena, where the vulnerable endemic to Colombia specie, Clavija sanctae-martae, is the priority. Suitable landowners and changes in land use for planting actions are presented as one of the most challenging aspects. The result includes more than 10,000 planted plants, established propagation protocols, distribution niche models and regional capacity building.