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Mantequero (Magnolia cubensis subsp. acunae)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 11051666

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 11051666) - Mantequero - Awarded $4,000 on August 01, 2011

Magnolia cubensis subsp. acunae species and Podocarpus angustifolius are widely scattered in the montane rainforests of the Guamuhaya range. At the present, Magnolia cubensis subsp. acunae only occurs in less than 10 localities but none of them shows a healthy population structure. In fact, most populations contain only 1 to 3 old individuals. Only one population presents young trees (12 in total) but no seedlings have been found after almost two year of continue monitoring. Podocarpus angustifolius only grows in two populations, one of them composed by a single adult plant and the other by no more than 50.

These species reach an elevation of 950 m but do not grow below 700 m, the same elevation range occupied by the rainforests in the past. However, nowadays all these lands are devoted to coffee plantations. Rainforest clearing lead to the destruction of the habitat of both species and it was for sure the main causes for their decline. However, according to our preliminary results habitat fragmentation and care-less management of the coffee plantations are the main threats for the survival of the remaining populations right now.

The montane rainforest occurred in the top of the Guamuhaya range. This plant community have a major role capturing the rain and the humidity from the clouds, and controlling soil erosion, runoff and flooding. This is also the more diverse plant community in the Guamuhaya range.

The rainforest restoration is also essential for the economic welfare in the Guamuhaya mountains since it is the area where most of the coffee industry – the main economical activity in the region – takes place.

Project 11051666 location - Cuba, North America