Salmia (Salvia taraxacifolia)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 202524705
Community and science-based Salvia taraxacifolia conservation in Morocco's High Atlas
Salvia taraxacifolia, an endemic plant species of the High Atlas mountains in Morocco, is assessed globally as an endangered species. The population size of Salvia taraxacifolia is decreasing and the quality of its habitat is declining due to numerous threats such as overgrazing, erosion, infrastructure development, land clearing and long periods of drought. In collaboration with local communities, the Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association (MBLA) will implement integrated in situ and ex situ conservation measures and strengthen tradtional management practices, to contribute to the conservation of Salvia taraxacifolia.
The project aims to increase the density of local plant populations of Salvia taraxacifolia throughout their extent of occurrence and area of occupancy. The project will be carried out in collaboration with local community members, students and young researchers using a science-based approach that includes: development of a GIS map of the distribution of the species throughout its range; collection of seeds from diverse localities; trials to improve germination in community plant nurseries, resulting in a cultivation protocol; production of seedlings for regional outplanting; ethnobotanical study of current use and horticultural potential; and re-evaluation of its conservation status, leading to an updated IUCN Red List assessment in 2022. The project will build the capacity of two undergraduate and one Master’s student from Cadi Ayyad University who areengaged in plant conservation through specific thesis projects on seed collection and germination, ethnobotany and GIS mapping. The outcomes of the project will generate new scientific understanding of Salvia taraxacifolia’s germination, growth, phenology and distribution, and will support awareness raising tolocal authorities and community members on the importance of conserving the High Atlas endemic flora.
Project 202524705 location - Morocco, Africa