Conservation of Palmita Cycad (Zamia inermis) and its Habitat through Ecology and Sensitizing Local People

Jorge Antonio Gómez Díaz

Zamia inermis is considered Critically endangered by the IUCN, Mexican laws, CITES and is endemic to the state of Veracruz. It is endangered due to their reduced range and threats to their habitat in tropical dry forests that are threatened by strong pressures from agricultural and livestock activities. For all these reasons, according to Octavio-Aguilar et al. (2017): “it is considered the Mexican cycad that is at the greatest risk of extinction. Zamia inermis was discovered on a private farm in 1973 and it was not until 1983 that it was formally described (Vovides et al., 1983, Octavio-Aguilar et al. 2017). The species is endemic to state of Veracruz, México, and only one population composed of three subpopulations is known, which is distributed in only 2.5 km2 of grasslands and seasonally dry and fragmented forests (Octavio-Aguilar et al. 2017). During the 70's and 80's many plants were illegally stolen for trade, so its current estimated population is between 300 and 700 individuals” (Octavio-Aguilar et al. 2017).

The main objective of the project is the conservation of the species and their habitat through an approach that involves the ecology of conservation and the sensitization of the local population and stakeholders. We will generate information about the spatial distribution of the species and will determine the size of its population. The specific objectives are: i) Generate information on abundance and spatial/geographical distribution of Zamia inermis in Central Veracruz, Mexico; ii) Determine population size of Zamia inermis in different ontogeny stages (i.e. seedling, sapling and adult); iii) Study the phenological and pollination process of the species; iv) Assess the habitats (in condition, suitability and threats) in which Zamia inermis grow; v) Identify the forest fragments which are a priority for the conservation of the species; vi) Using participatory approaches work with local people and authorities to sensitize and raise awareness on Zamia inermis in selected villages.

Project Updates