Rhododendron retrorsipilum (Rhododendron retrorsipilum)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 192520146
Conserving the poorly known endemic rhododendrons of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is recognized as one of the mega-diverse countries of the world with high levels of plant species endemism of around 60%. PNG’s flora is poorly known from the taxonomic, ecological and livelihoods perspectives. PNG has the 5th greatest number of rhododendron taxa in the world (100 taxa), the 3rd largest number of endemic rhododendrons (64 taxa) with 34 taxa included in the Red List and 27 taxa included in the Data Deficiency category which implies there is not appropriate data to make a comprehensive assessment of its risk of extinction. Additionally PNG has the poorest representation of Red List taxa in ex situ conservation- just 29%.
This project’s aim is to explore and research the conservation status of 8 endemic rhododendron species (7 Data Deficiency and 1 Extinct in the Wild) and implement conservation actions to secure their long term survival.
The overall objectives of the project will be to increase capacity through a training workshop on survey, inventory and evaluation for the botanists at PNG Forest Research Institute, visit all known localities of each species to determine their distribution, population size and trends, habitat and ecology and status in relation to threats, collect voucher specimens, photographs, vegetative material and seeds (all permits will be granted by the National Research Institute) and propagate material in the nurseries at Mt Gahavisuka Provincial Park which are already engaged in ex situ cultivation.
This project is part of a larger Botanic Gardens Conservation International initiative, the Global Conservation Consortium for Rhododendrons with the main goal of mobilising a coordinated network of institutions and experts who work collaboratively to develop and implement a conservation strategy to prevent extinction of the world’s rhododendron taxa.
Project 192520146 location - Papua New Guinea, Oceania