Community Based Conservation of Endemic-Ugandan Cycad, Encephalartos whitelockii PHJ Hurter in the Mpanga Gorge Areas
Female cone of E. whitelockii.
Male cone of E. whitelockii.
Cattle grazing in one of the re-planted area with cycad seedlings.
|Kamweng||Uganda||Africa, Plants, Seeds||2 Feb 2010|
The Endemic-Ugandan cycad, Encephalartos whitelockii in the Mpanga gorge areas in Kamwenge district, in Western Uganda is critically endangered as per the IUCN Red list. Among others, the species is outstandingly of ecological significance as a source of food for the baboons. Community activities such as seasonal fires set to allow regeneration of new and tender grass for cattle grazing and the deliberate cut down of the individual plants pose threats to both the survival of Encephalartos whitelockii and its habitat.
It is from this background that, this project was designed to take on a collaborative approach with relevant stakeholders to ensure survival and continuity in the ecological functionality of Encephalartos whitelockii and the ecosystem as a whole. As a path way to achieve the intended goal, the project will; Conduct community awareness on the conservation and importance of Encepharlatos whitelockii. This is intended to make the local community appreciate the need for fostering survival of this critically endangered plant species. Hence efforts to maintain the existing population in the wild, and natural state of the habitat will permit continuity of the reproductive processes.
In addition, this will aid in conservation of both the seed and gene bank of Encepharlatos whitelockii. Secondly, the project will build local community capacity to propagate Encepharlatos whitelockii seeds and establish a community nursery. Thus, there will be massive replication of cycads through the nursery for re-planting in the wild to enhance the population size in the natural habitat.