Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 507–528

A Red List account of Africa's cycads and implications of considering life-history and threats


  • Janice S. Golding
  • P. Johan H. Hurter

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022472801638

Cite this article as:
Golding, J.S. & Hurter, P.J.H. Biodiversity and Conservation (2003) 12: 507. doi:10.1023/A:1022472801638


The global and national Red List status of cycads known from mainlandAfrica are presented in this study. Seventy-four taxa (including five as yetundescribed taxa) occur in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, DemocraticRepublic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa,Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. South Africa has thehighest richness of cycad taxa (41). Fifty-two of the continent's cycadsare confirmed country endemics, and 59% are globally threatened. One undescribedEncephalartos taxon is categorised as extinct (Malawi) andthree, Encephalartos woodii Sander, E.relictus P.J.H. Hurter and another undescribedEncephalartos taxon (South Africa), are known only frommaterial in cultivation. The nature and extent of threats to cycads appear to bedifferent in the southern African region compared to the rest of the continent,and illegal collection is thought to be the primary factor. Taxa listed as datadeficient primarily occur in war-torn and botanically under-explored areas. Theresults of the Red Lists are interpreted in terms of life-history strategies andthreats. Continental-level conservation efforts are suggested for preservingwild stocks.

AfricaCycadsCycasEncephalartosFieldworkRed Data ListsStangeriaTaxonomyThreatsZamiaceae

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003