Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 507–528 | Cite as

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

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


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.

Africa Cycads Cycas Encephalartos Fieldwork Red Data Lists Stangeria Taxonomy Threats Zamiaceae 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bell P.R. 1992. Green Plants: Their Origin and Diversity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 314 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Cowling R.M. and Hilton-Taylor C. 1997. Phytogeography, diversity and endemism. In: Cowling R.M., Richardson D.M. and Pierce S.M. (eds), Vegetation of Southern Africa. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 43–61.Google Scholar
  3. Donaldson J.S. 1995. Cycad conservation in South Africa. In: Donaldson J.S. (ed.), Cycad Conservation in South Africa: Issues, Priorities and Actions. Cycad Society of South Africa, Groenkloof (Pretoria), South Africa, pp. 8–13.Google Scholar
  4. Donaldson J.S. 2002a. Cycads. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/ Species Survival Commission Cycad Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. (in press).Google Scholar
  5. Donaldson J.S. 2002b. Saving ghosts? The implications of taxonomic uncertainty and shifting infrageneric concepts in the Cycadales for Red Listing and conservation planning. In: Walters T. (ed.), Cycad Classification Concepts. Montgomery Botanical Center, Miami, Florida (in press).Google Scholar
  6. Dyer R.A. 1965. The cycads of southern Africa. Bothalia 8: 405–515.Google Scholar
  7. Gärdenfors U., Rodríguez J.P., Hilton-Taylor C., Hyslop C., Mace G., Molur S. et al. 1999. Draft guidelines for the application of IUCN Red List criteria at national and regional levels. Species 31/32: 58–70.Google Scholar
  8. Gilbert S. 1984. Cycads, Status, Trade, Exploitation and Protection 1977–1982. World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  9. Golding J.S. 2001. Southern African herbaria and Red Data Lists. Taxon 50: 12–21.Google Scholar
  10. Golding J.S. (ed.) 2002. Southern African plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report Series no. 14. SABONET, Pretoria, South Africa.Google Scholar
  11. Golding J.S. and Smith P.P. 2001. A 13-point flora strategy to meet conservation challenges. Taxon 50: 1–4.Google Scholar
  12. Goode D. 1989. Cycads of Africa. Struik-Winchester, Cape Town, South Africa.Google Scholar
  13. Hamilton A., Cunningham A., Byarugaba D. and Kayanja F. 2000. Conservation in a region of political instability: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Conservation Biology 14: 1722–1725.Google Scholar
  14. Hart A. and Hall J.S. 1996. Status of eastern Zaire's Forest Parks and Reserves. Conservation Biology 10: 316–327.Google Scholar
  15. Hilton-Taylor C. 1996a. Red Data List of Southern African Plants. Strelitzia 4. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria, South Africa.Google Scholar
  16. Hilton-Taylor C. 1996b. Red Data List of southern African plants. 1. Corrections and additions. Bothalia 26: 177–182.Google Scholar
  17. Hilton-Taylor C. (compiler) 2000. 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, xviii 1 61 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Holmgren P.K., Holmgren N.H. and Barnett L.C. (eds) 1990. Index herbariorum. Part 1: The Herbaria of the World. 8th edn. New York Botanical Garden, New York, 693 pp.Google Scholar
  19. Huntley B.J. and Matos E.M. 1994. Botanical diversity and its conservation in Angola. In: Huntley B.J. (ed.), Botanical Diversity in Southern Africa, Strelitzia 1. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria, South Africa, pp. 53–74.Google Scholar
  20. Huntley B.J., Matos E.M., Aye T.T., Nermark U., Nagendran C.R., Seyani J.H. et al. 1998. Inventory, evaluation and monitoring of botanical diversity in southern Africa: a regional capacity and institution building network (SABONET). Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report no. 4. SABONET, Pretoria, South Africa, 73 pp.Google Scholar
  21. Hurter P.J.H. 1995. Two newly described cycads from Africa. Phytologia 78: 409–416.Google Scholar
  22. Hurter P.J.H. and Glen H.F. 1995. Encephalartos equatorialis (Zamiaceae): a newly described species from tropical Africa. South African Journal of Botany 61: 226–229.Google Scholar
  23. Hurter P.J.H. and Glen H.F. 1996. Encephalartos hirsutus (Zamiaceae): a newly described species from South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 62: 46–48.Google Scholar
  24. Hurter P.J.H. and Glen H.F. 2001. Encephalartos relictus (Zamiaceae): a new species from southern Africa. Bothalia 31: 197–212.Google Scholar
  25. Hurter P.J.H. and Whitelock L. 1998. Focus on: Encephalartos schmitzii Malaisse. Encephalartos 55: 4–8.Google Scholar
  26. Hutton J. and Dickson B. (eds) 2001. Endangered Species, Threatened Convention: The Past, Present and Future of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Earthscan Publications, London, 202 pp.Google Scholar
  27. IUCN 1994. IUCN Red List Categories. Prepared by the Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 21 pp.Google Scholar
  28. IUCN 2001. IUCN Red List Criteria Review: Draft of the Proposed Changes and Recommendations (Version 3.1). Prepared by the Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 21 pp.Google Scholar
  29. Jones D.L. 1993. Cycads of the World. Reed Publishers, Sydney, Australia, 310 pp.Google Scholar
  30. Jones S. and Wynants J. 1997. Encephalartos macrostrobilus (Zamiaceae): a new cycad species from northern Uganda. Encephalartos 50: 13–16.Google Scholar
  31. Kanyambiwa S. 1998. Impact of war on conservation: Rwandan environment and wildlife in agony. Biodiversity and Conservation 7: 1399–1406.Google Scholar
  32. Lande R. 1988. Genetics and demography in biological conservation. Science 24: 455–460.Google Scholar
  33. Lovett J.C. and Friis I. 1996. Some patterns of endemism in the tropical northeast and eastern African woody flora. In: van der Maesen L.J.G., van der Burgt X.M. and van Medenbach de Rooy J.M. (eds), The Biodiversity of African Plants. Proceedings of the XIVth AETFAT Congress,Wageningen, the Netherlands. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, pp. 582–602.Google Scholar
  34. Lucas G. and Synge H. 1978. The IUCN Plant Red Data Book. IUCN Threatened Plants Committee, Kew, UK.Google Scholar
  35. Mace G., Cellar N., Cooke J., Gaston K., Ginsberg J., Leader-Williams N. et al. 1992. The development of new criteria for listing species on the IUCN Red List. Species 19: 16–22.Google Scholar
  36. Melville R. 1957. Encephalartos in central Africa. Kew Bulletin 2: 237–257.Google Scholar
  37. Morat P. and Lowry II P.P. 1997. Floristic richness in the Africa-Madagascar region: a brief history and perspective. Adansonia 19: 101–115.Google Scholar
  38. Morris A.V., Roberts C.M. and Hawkins J.P. 2000. The threatened status of groupers (Epinephelinae). Biodiversity and Conservation 9: 919–942.Google Scholar
  39. Newmark W.D. 1998. Forest area, fragmentation, and loss in the Eastern Arc Mountains: Implications for the conservation of biological diversity. Journal of East African Natural History 87: 29–36.Google Scholar
  40. Oberprieler R.G. 1995a. The weevils (Coleoptera: Cucurlionoidea) associated with cycads. 1. Classification, relationships and biology. In: Vorster P. (ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Cycad Biology. Cycad Society of South Africa, Stellenbosch, South Africa, pp. 295–334.Google Scholar
  41. Oberprieler R.G. 1995b. The weevils (Coleoptera: Cucurlionoidea) associated with cycads. 2. Host specificity and implications for cycad taxonomy. In: Vorster P. (ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Cycad Biology. Cycad Society of South Africa, Stellenbosch, South Africa, pp. 335–366.Google Scholar
  42. Oldfield S., Lusty C. and MacKinven A. 1998. TheWorld List of Threatened Trees.World Conservation Press, Cambridge, UK, 649 pp.Google Scholar
  43. Osborne R. 1988. Focus on: Encephalartos barteri. Encephalartos 14: 8–16.Google Scholar
  44. Osborne R. 1990. A conservation strategy for the South African cycads. South African Journal of Science 86: 220–223.Google Scholar
  45. Osborne R. 1995. The world cycad census and a proposed revision of the threatened species status for cycad taxa. Biological Conservation 71: 1–12.Google Scholar
  46. Osborne R., Grobbelaar N. and Vorster P. 1988. South African cycad research: progress and prospects. South African Journal of Science 84: 891–896.Google Scholar
  47. Pianka E.R. 1970. On 'r' and 'K' selection. The American Naturalist 104: 592–597.Google Scholar
  48. Pòcs T., Temu R.P.C. and Mina T.R.A. 1990. Survey of the vegetation and natural flora of the Nguru Mountain. In: Hedberg I. and Persson I. (eds), Research for Conservation of Tanzanian Catchment Forests. Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, pp. 135–149.Google Scholar
  49. Pressey R.L., Ferrier S., Hager T.S., Woods C.A., Tully S.L. and Weinman K.M. 1996. How well protected are the forests of northeastern New South Wales? – Analyses of forest environments in relation to formal protection measures, land tenure, and vulnerability to clearing. Forest Ecology and Management 85: 311–333.Google Scholar
  50. Rourke J.P. 1999. Plant systematics in South Africa: a brief historical overview. 1753–1953. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 54: 179–190.Google Scholar
  51. Saunders D.A., Hobbs R.J. and Margules C.R. 1991. Biological consequences of ecosystem fragmentation: a review. Conservation Biology 5: 18–32.Google Scholar
  52. Schweinfurth G. 1871. Cycadaceae. Botanische Zeitung 29: 334.Google Scholar
  53. Scott-Shaw R. 1999. Rare and Threatened Plants of KwaZulu-Natal and Neighbouring Regions. KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, Congella, South Africa, 181 pp.Google Scholar
  54. Soule' E. 1986. Conservation Biology: The Science of Scarcity and Diversity. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  55. Stevenson D.W., Osborne R. and Hill K.D. 1995. The World List of Cycads. In: Vorster P. (ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Cycad Biology. Cycad Society of South Africa, Stellenbosch, South Africa, pp. 55–64.Google Scholar
  56. van der Bank F.H., Vorster P. and van der Bank M. 1998. Phylogenetic relationships, based on allozyme data, between six cycad taxa indigenous to South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 64: 182–188.Google Scholar
  57. Vorster P. 1993. Taxonomy of Encephalartos (Zamiaceae): taxonomically useful external characteristics. In: Stevenson D.W. and Norstog K.J. (eds), Proceedings of CYCAD 90, The Second International Conference on Cycad Biology. Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia, Milton, Australia, pp. 294–299.Google Scholar
  58. Vorster P. 1995. Aspects of the reproduction of cycads. 2. An annotated review of known information. In: Vorster P. (ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Cycad Biology. Cycad Society of South Africa, Stellenbosch, South Africa, pp. 379–389.Google Scholar
  59. Vorster P. 1996a. Encephalartos aplanatus (Zamiaceae): a new species from Swaziland. South African Journal of Botany 62: 57–60.Google Scholar
  60. Vorster P. 1996b. Encephalartos msinganus (Zamiaceae): a new species from KwaZulu-Natal. South African Journal of Botany 62: 67–70.Google Scholar
  61. Vorster P. 1996c. Encephalartos senticosus (Zamiaceae): a new species from northern KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland. South African Journal of Botany 62: 76–79.Google Scholar
  62. Vorster P. 1996d. Encephalartos brevifoliolatus (Zamiaceae): a new species from the Northern Province. South African Journal of Botany 62: 61–64.Google Scholar
  63. Vorster P. 1996e. Encephalartos venetus (Zamiaceae): a new species from the Northern Province. South African Journal of Botany 62: 71–75.Google Scholar
  64. Walter S.K. and Gillett H.J. (eds) 1998. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, ixiv 1 862 pp.Google Scholar
  65. WCMC 1998. Checklist of CITES Species. CITES Secretariat /World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK, pp. 277–278.Google Scholar
  66. Wilke D., Shaw E., Rotberg F., Morelli G. and Auzel P. 2000. Roads, development and conservation in the Congo Basin. Conservation Biology 14: 1614–1622.Google Scholar
  67. Zalba S.M. and Nebbia A.J. 1999. Neosparton darwinii (Verbenaceae), a restricted endemic species. Is it also endangered? Biodiversity and Conservation 8: 1585–1593.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

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

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations