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Biologia

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 339–349 | Cite as

Growth dynamics of endemic Dracaena cinnabari Balf. f. of Socotra Island suggest essential elements for a conservation strategy

  • Petr MaděraEmail author
  • Hana Habrová
  • Martin Šenfeldr
  • Irena Kholová
  • Samuel Lvončík
  • Lenka Ehrenbergerová
  • Matěj Roth
  • Nadezhda Nadezhdina
  • Petr Němec
  • Jonathan Rosenthal
  • Jindřich Pavliš
Original Article
  • 68 Downloads

Abstract

Dragon’s blood tree, a flagship endemic species of Socotra, is threatened with extinction due to lack of natural regeneration, likely because of goat herbivory and/or climatic factors. Loss of dragon’s blood tree would result in loss of other native flora, heightening the importance of formulating a conservation strategy for it. Although artificial afforestation might be used to offset the lack of natural regeneration, it would have to overcome the same threats faced by naturally occurring seedlings. Moreover, there is no published information on the growth dynamics of seedlings in plantations in situ on Socotra. To fill this information gap, we compared seedling growth (total plant height, leaves number, stem height, stem diameter) over an 8-year period after planting at three sites that differed in the degree to which goats were excluded and in whether they were watered regularly over the period. In addition to developing a new classification of the growth stages, which will enable better tracking of population dynamics, we found that continuous goat exclusion was necessary to prevent seedling mortality. Also, although seedling growth overall was slow, growth parameters of regularly irrigated seedlings ranged from 156% to 446% of those not regularly watered, suggesting that this treatment can speed seedlings’ escape from goat browsing. For the dragon’s blood tree and likely for other taxa within this group, extremely slow growth and long generation times suggest that conservation and restoration efforts will require a commitment to active management that will last decades, rather than a short-term approach.

Keywords

Afforestation Browsing dragon’s blood tree Regeneration Semi-arid tropical zone Soqotra 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The afforestation activities were supported by the Czech Development Agency and by the Canadian International Development Agency. Authors thanks for financial support of research to projects TROPENVI (reg. No. CZ.1.07/2.2.00/07.0156) and LANDTEAM (reg. No. EE2.3.20.0004). Many thanks belong to Muhamad Al-Keabany family for their care about plantation. All activities couldn’t be realised without close cooperation with Environmental Protection Authority, Hadibo, Socotra.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Plant Science and Biodiversity Centre, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petr Maděra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hana Habrová
    • 1
  • Martin Šenfeldr
    • 1
  • Irena Kholová
    • 1
  • Samuel Lvončík
    • 1
  • Lenka Ehrenbergerová
    • 1
  • Matěj Roth
    • 1
  • Nadezhda Nadezhdina
    • 1
  • Petr Němec
    • 1
  • Jonathan Rosenthal
    • 2
  • Jindřich Pavliš
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forest Botany, Dendrology and Geobiocoenology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Ecological Research InstituteNew YorkUSA

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