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Crown Wand Orchid (Paphiopedilum fairrieanum)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 212527706

In-Situ Conservation and habitat restoration of critically endangered orchid Paphiopedilum fairrieanum in Bhutan.

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 212527706) - Crown Wand Orchid - Awarded $5,000 on February 04, 2022Paphiopedilum fairrieanum (Lindl.) Stein is a magnificent orchid, native to northeast India, Nepal, and Bhutan. In Bhutan, it is found in the districts of Dagana, Chukha, Mongar, Samdrup Jongkhar, Sarpang, Samtse, Wangdue, and Zhemgang, with a population of over 7000 people excluding the most recent census. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is Critically Endangered. Globally, the orchid's habitat and population are declining as a result of overexploitation and poaching for horticultural and trade purposes, habitat fragmentation and degradation from deforestation and developmental activities, forest fires, and soil erosion. In Bhutan, It is widely distributed across region, and the most habitat and population are threatened by road construction and human poaching.

The project's goals are to determine the size and structure of the target species' wild populations, to understand their distribution, habitat types and associated species, and specific threats, and to raise awareness in local communities. It is also hoped that laws and conservation action plans will be developed to ensure the conservation and protection of the species at the site for in-situ conservation, as well as to develop habitat protection works, specifically diverting existing old trial. Furthermore, it is intended that the project's outcomes and scientific material will be shared through publications for general awareness and to gain conservation support.

According to our findings, there were approximately 700 mature individuals at the site. Furthermore, we discovered a large number of saplings and recruits germinating at the current location. It was discovered in the warm broadleaf forest with less than 30% canopy cover. Capillipedium assimile, Capillipedium parviflorum, Nephrolepis cordifolia, and Jasminum sp. were the main associated species. It prefers limestone rock and soil with good aeration. No major threats were observed except a patch of the landslide which had destroyed a few individuals. The location could be one of the most stable and safe habitats for the target species. The old trial was found to be appropriate for habitat protection from forest fires because it buffers the upper half of the orchid habitat's periphery. The trail was kept clean by removing debris, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that grew along it. The Area of Occupancy (AOO) according to GeoCat (Moat 2007) is 48 km2 for P. fairrieanum in Bhutan. Based on the information presented above mentioned knowledge and on IUCN (2019) guidelines, we assess P. fairrieanum as Endangered B2bc(iii,iv,v); C2(b) for Bhutan. We recommend further research and exploration for a new locality and population, as well as conservation awareness programs for the general public, institutions, and school-going children, in order to understand the species' conservation importance. Furthermore, before declaring Bhutan as P. fairrieanum hotspot, a comprehensive assessment of potential areas and habitat conditions, and regeneration of the orchid is recommended. The study of orchid pollination, seed dispersal, and common pollinators of the orchid is highly recommended.

Project 212527706 location - Bhutan, Asia