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Sclavo's Cycad (Encephalartos sclavoi)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 162514610

Population Ecology, Pollen Limitation and Community Education to Save a Critically Endangered Cycad Encephalartos sclavoi in West Usambara Forests, Tanzania

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 162514610) - Sclavo's Cycad - Awarded $7,000 on February 07, 2017

Encephalartos sclavoi is an endemic type locality cycad species found in Magamba Nature Reserve (MNR, 9284 ha) in Lushoto District, Tanga region, Tanzania. MNR is found within West Usambara Mountains which is part of Eastern Arc Mountains (EAMs). The species occurs on restricted areas that offer best conditions for growth and reproduction. These areas are all found in high elevations and the cycad is able to survive in xeric conditions (low rainfall, harsh winds and dry soils) so long as the minimum suitable conditions are met. E. sclavoi is often found on relatively dry steep slopes in grasslands, mountain ridges and on rocky outcrops surrounded by montane forests in Magamba. Although the population is not fragmented the species is declining in population and is threatened by habitat destruction and change through fire, illegal logging, gold mining and overharvesting by traditional healers and unscrupulous collectors of cycad seeds. To restore habitat integrity and protect E. sclavoi information on population ecology, habitats and pollen limitation plus community education is important. This project focuses on all areas and habitats known to have the species within and outside forest reserve. The surrounded community seems to have poor knowledge on the importance of conserving E. sclavoi. The project main objective is to study population ecology, pollen limitation and community education to save a critically endangered cycad Encephalartos sclavoi in West Usambara Forests, Tanzania.
The specific objectives are:
· Map the abundance and spatial distribution of E. sclavoi in the reserve
· Determine population size of E. sclavoi in different ontogenic stages (i.e. seedling, sapling and adult)
. Assess habitats associated with E. sclavoi species (in condition, suitability and threats)
· Through experiment evaluate to what extent pollen availability limits recruitment of E. sclavoi in the reserve
· Using participatory approaches work with reserve and local authorities to sensitize and raise awareness on E. sclavoi in selected villages

Project document