The Sinkhole Cycad (Zamia prasina)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 12254271
The mission of Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) is to advance science, education, conservation, and horticultural knowledge of tropical plants, emphasizing palms and cycads, and to exemplify excellent botanical garden design. The objectives of MBC are to conserve living collections of palms and cycads from around the world, in population-based, documented, scientific collections, in its extensive botanic garden. MBC makes its collections and scientific data available for research and conservation purposes, disseminating research and data through scientific and popular publications, tours of the plant collection, and educational tours. MBC was established in 1959.
The geographical area of this project is southern Belize, with a focus on the Maya Mountains. Montgomery Botanical Center conserves plant diversity from around the world, but has a strong focus on Neotropical and Caribbean plant diversity.
Fieldwork will be conducted at in situ populations of Zamia prasina (now believed to be Zamia decumbens) for seed, DNA, and data collection. This will provide the living material for ex situ collections, leaflet samples for DNA analysis, as well as the data needed to properly curate these collections. One month of fieldwork will be conducted in order to collect material from each of the two major subpopulations (located in two remote sinkholes in the Maya Mountains), as well as from the scattered, poorly known mountaintop populations (Calonje et al., 2009). Recent fieldwork by Jan Meerman (from GHBC) has located only a few more of these scattered mountaintop populations, all of which are comprised of less than 15 plants each, and are thus in danger of significant genetic loss if any single mature plant is removed. During these field studies we will also conduct demographic studies; identify major threats and impediments for conservation; and in partnership with our colleagues from BBG, GHBC, and YCT we will contact the local communities to increase conservation awareness for this Critically Endangered cycad species. This fieldwork will provide data to draft an in situ conservation action plan for this species.
Calonje, M. 2009. A new cliff-dwelling species of Zamia (Zamiaceae) from Belize. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 31: 23-29.
Project 12254271 location - Belize, North America