One of the main constraints limiting the conservation of plants is the absence of the appropriate skills in local conservationists. The lack of practical skills hinders conservation actions by reducing their effectiveness and sustainability. It is because of this, that Planta!’s Capacity Building Program is centered in training new conservationists with the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out effective conservation actions in the long term.
For the next three years, our team will work to develop a network of at least 30 new conservationists with the necessary skills to implement successful conservation actions. These actions will benefit threatened trees, their habitats and local communities in some of the most important areas for plant biodiversity in Cuba.
The program aims to protect about 15 threatened species or ecosystems. Their conservation status will be assessed before designing recovery and management plans. Moreover, direct conservation actions will be conducted to reduce current and potential threats and increase the survival of their populations.
Trainees learn to design conservation projects and submit their proposals by the end of the training. The best projects are selected to support their implementation. Planta!’s team supervises the development and implementation of these projects every step of the way.
So far, the program has benefited 12 threatened tree species: Psidium claraense, Magnolia virginiana subsp. oviedoae, Abarema glaucum, Coccothrinax victorinii, Phyllanthus subcarnosus, Cynometra cubensis subsp. cubensis, Acacia roigii, Harrisia eriophora, Manilkara albescens, Coccothrinax spirituana, Behaimia cubensis and Tabermontana apoda. Moreover, actions have been carried out in 18 localities of great importance for the conservation of Cuban trees. The conservation status of 7 threatened species have been completed by now and another five species are about to be completed. These assessments have been used to create recovery plans for two of the threatened species and management plans for another three species.
On the other hand, some of the target species’ habitats have been benefited by controlling invasive species. The accompanying flora was identified in several localities for future restoration plans and seeds were collected for propagation purposes. More than 2000 plants have been produced in local nurseries so far and over 900 of them have been used to reinforce natural populations with a survival of over 90% of the plants.