Falkland Nassauvia (Nassauvia falklandica in ed.)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 11253176
Nassauvia falklandica (Asteraceae) is an interesting new endemic sub-shrub for the Falklands. The discovery of this species in 2009 prompted a fresh review of vegetative material collected by David Moore in 1964; this has since been confirmed as the same species. Our current knowledge of N. falklandica indicates there are fewer than 250 mature individuals in the world and that it occurs at only two sites. N. falklandica has the most restricted range of any Falkland Island endemic vascular plant; its extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are less than 100 km2 and 10 km2, respectively.
N. falklandica grows in a montane habitat roughly 500 m a.s.l. Upland sites of this habitat are restricted in the Falklands and as such represent an important niche for several other rare species such as Acaena antarctica. Livestock graze at both known locations and are likely to be damaging this vulnerable habitat, where cushion plants and lichens are dominant. Damage to the feldmark habitat, where ground cover is already low, will place it under increased risk of soil erosion. Nassauvia falklandica is severely fragmented and therefore also at risk from genetic erosion. Based on our knowledge of the species and using version 3.1 IUCN Red List categories and criteria (IUCN 2001), Nassauvia falklandica has been assessed as Critically Endangered (Upson et al. 2013).
Given the above context the current project aimed to carry out botanical surveys to:
- Identify new populations of the target species based on ground-truthing of suitable sites identified using MaxEnt habitat suitability modelling, GoogleEarth imagery and previous field data
- Determine site preferences for the target species by carrying out vegetation assessments at all target sites visited
- Make seed collections for ex-situ conservation of the species (to be stored at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Millennium Seed Bank)
- Re-asess the conservation status of N. falklandica to inform conservation planning
Upson R, Clubbe C and Hind DJN (2013) Nassauvia falklandica (Compositae: Mutisieae: Nassauviinae), a new endemic species for the Falkland Islands. Kew Bulletin 68(2): 1-8
Project 11253176 location - Falkland Islands, South America