Giant green African millipede (Spirostreptus crenulatus)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 212528367
Distribution, threats, extinction-risk assessment and conservation of the giant green endemic millipede Spirostreptus crenulatus Porat, 1894, in the Dja-Biosphere-Reserve, Cameroon
The ongoing biodiversity crisis, characterized by high extinction rates, requires well-planned conservation efforts (Karam-Gemael et al, 2020). Assessment of the conservation status of species with inadequate conservation management like giant African millipedes has been acknowledged as a key tool for determining threat threshold and hence guiding conservation objectives (Karam-Gemael et al. 2020). Invertebrates, including millipedes, are the least studied animal group, accounting for just 31% of all evaluations on the IUCN Red List. Millipedes constitute one of the most important components of ecosystem functioning in tropical forests (Menta & Remelli 2020). Despite increased awareness of their importance to global conservation planning, little attention has been paid to the inventory and monitoring of this taxonomic group.
Millipedes are a very important, mega-diverse group of terrestrial arthropods, especially in tropical forest biomes (Golovatch & Liu, 2020). They are sensitive to habitat changes resulting from forest disturbance, changes in light regimes, microclimates, dead wood availability, and soil compaction, making them important indicators of habitat disturbance (Golovatch & Kime, 2009). Studying their diversity, abundance, and distribution can provide useful and rich baseline information that can assist in biodiversity conservation decisions and management planning for protected areas such as the Dja Biosphere Reserve, an important key biodiversity hotspot in Cameroon with the largest remaining primary lowland rainforest with a high conservation priority due to its species richness with many endemic and threatened species. Despite their prominent role in natural ecosystem functioning, they are underrepresented in conservation programs in Afrotropical regions including Cameroon (Reinecke & Reinecke 2018). Many millipede species have a narrow distribution range (Hamer and Slotow 2001) and they require conservation actions to ensure their survival as threats such as land transformation increase (McGeoch et al. 2011).
Habitat loss and destruction are the main causes of species extinction (IUCN 2023). The conservation status of most millipede taxa is poorly known in the Afrotropical region and only a few millipede species have been assessed according to the IUCN Red List criteria mostly in south Africa and Malgazi. To date, no millipede species from Central and West Africa has been the subject of an assessment with a view to its inclusion in the IUCN Red List. Thus, this study was carried out with the aim of assessing the conservation status of Cameroonian endemic green giant millipede Spirostreptus crenulatus Porat, 1894, in the Dja-Biosphere-Reserve to suggest a bio-monitoring plan in light of climate change and forest degradation.
More specifically, this project aimed to (1) to assess the occurrence, distribution, habitat preference, and conservation status of S. crenulatus using the IUCN criteria, (2) to assess the perception of the target species by the local population, (3) raise awareness among the local population through a sensitization and education campaign on the role and importance of the target species in the functioning of forest ecosystem, (4) assess anthropogenic threats to the target millipede species and (5) design plans to protect the target species and its habitats in the Dja Biosphere Reserve.
- This is the final report produced at the end of our entire activities related to this project on the subject: Distribution, threats, extinction risk assessment and conservation of the giant green ende
- Preliminary report describing the most relevant results obtained during the first six-month activities of our project.
Project 212528367 location - Cameroon, Africa