Riparian forests are very beneficial to their ecosystems. They provide refuge to many species of animals and prevent soil erosion and water pollution. The degradation of this type of forest in Villa Clara (Central Cuba), affects the survival of exclusive plants like Rhodogeron coronopifolius, one of the 50 most threatened plants of Cuba.
Among the challenges to preserve this species are the unknown status of its populations and its reproductive needs. This project is developed in the province of Villa Clara and includes the protected area “Sabanas de Santa Clara”
Until now, the team has found 447 adult individuals and 5985 juveniles distributed in five populations. There are 100 plants growing at local nurseries, while another 50 plants have been reintroduced already in their natural habitat. Currently, we are identifying the accompanying flora of this endemic plant -60 species so far, in order to restore its habitats.
Parameters like light intensity and soil humidity and pH are been monitored to determine the optimal conditions for these plants to grow. New localities have been identified for reintroducing Rhodogeron coronopifolius and ex situ collections will be created soon at the Botanical Garden of the province. More than 20 volunteers have participated in the project, mainly university students and technicians of the protected area.