Conservation of threatened mountain species

Many Cuban endemic trees are threatened to some extent. This project aims to assess the conservation status and distribution of ten species of Cuban trees: Abarema maestrense, Aralia rex, Juniperus saxicola, Magnolia cristalensis, Magnolia cubensis subsp. acunae, Magnolia cubensis subsp. cubensis, Magnolia minor, Magnolia orbiculata, Podocarpus angustifolius and Tabebuia sauvallei. The sites for our study are the Guamuhaya mountain range in Central Cuba, and the mountains of Sierra Maestra and Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa in Eastern Cuba.

Researches currently conducted on these species cover topics that will directly contribute to their conservation, such as the elaboration of seed germination protocols and asexual propagation manuals, the evaluation of the genetic diversity of the population and the identification of appropriate areas for reintroduction. So far, 2877 individuals of the studied species have been monitored. The nurseries created by the project have produced 1511 seedlings, from which 331 have been planted in their natural or semi-natural habitat.

Moreover, the team have organized workshops with over 30 technicians from protected areas and members of the local community. The goals for 2019 are to reinforce the populations with the plants produced last year and to create nurseries that will support the reinforcement of natural populations in the long term.

“Our main target is that in about ten years, these trees will have stable populations and the local community will make a sustainable use of them”

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