Madagascar's palm trees at risk of extinction

Oct 17, 2012

An environmental group said Wednesday that a vast swath of Madagascar's unique palm tree species was threatened with extinction. Their dying out would harm the livelihoods of local people as well as endanger several animal species.

The International Union for said the palms were an integral part of Madagascar's biodiversity. All of the 192 species assessed are unique to the island. The IUCN said 83 percent of the palms on the Indian Ocean island are at risk because of over logging and because land is being cleared for farming.

The finding by IUCN experts was part of an ongoing assessment of all palms. It was released at a biodiversity conference in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

"The figures on Madagascar's palms are truly terrifying, especially as the loss of palms impacts both the unique biodiversity of the island and its people," Jane Smart, the global director of the IUCN Biodiversity , said in a statement.

The palm forests provide resources to some of Madagascar's poorest communities, including materials for the construction of homes as well as edible palm hearts.

William Baker, the head of the IUCN expert group studying the palm forests, said palm areas in the island's eastern rain forests have already been reduced to less than one quarter of their original size and which continue to disappear.

He said the decline in those forests "threatens all of the remarkable wildlife that occurs there."

The IUCN statement said had to work with local communities to protect the palm habitats and harvest seeds.

Explore further: Fish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fish

4.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Madagascar lemurs top endangered primates list

Oct 15, 2012

In the hit cartoon film "Madagascar", the island's lemurs are a lovable bunch of extroverts, but they are also among the world's most threatened primates, conservationists warned on Monday.

Scientists find new plant in Fiji

Jan 20, 2012

Scientists have discovered a new flowering plant belonging to the scarce Medinilla group on Fiji's Kadavu island, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said on Friday.

Lemurs the world's most threatened mammal: study

Jul 14, 2012

Lemurs, the furry apes brought to fame by the Disney animation film "Madagascar", are the most endangered mammals on Earth, an International Union for Conservation of Nature conference found.

$3.3m aid for threatened species

Feb 09, 2012

Gorillas, cockatoos and frogs are among a list of threatened species to benefit from a $3.3 million (2.4 million euro) aid award, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said Thursday.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0