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Zamia furfuracea: Species protection

Cycads like this Zamia furfuracea are very popular with gardeners and collectors. Unfortunately, this demand combined with the destruction of their natural habitats means that many cycads are threatened with extinction. Though CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, now protects many of these plants, wild populations have fallen dramatically in many places.

Zamia furfuracea provides a case study of how to successfully protect a threatened species. In the 1980s, as much as 40 tons of these cycads were taken from their natural habitat every month, mostly shipped to the southern United States and sold as decorative plants. Soon, wild populations of this Zamia were almost eradicated.

As part of a joint German-Mexican development project, local plant nurseries took on the protection and cultivation of Zamia furfuracea. They tended the specimens still remaining in the wild, and gathered their seeds to grow seedlings in protected conditions. Most of the offspring is sold on the international market for a considerable profit, while a certain percentage is planted in its natural habitat to reinforce the population in the wild. This project is a great example of how wild plants can be managed sustainably.

Audio file download
Zamia furfuracea: Species protection (MP3, 596 KB)

Audio production and copyright: Soundgarden Audioguidance GmbH
Text: Andreas Gröger, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg

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