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Developing a conservation strategy for Eligmocarpus cynometroides, a priority species in the Littoral forests of Madagascar

Eligmocarpus cynometroides is a tree species endemic to the littoral forests of southeastern Madagascar, where it grows in the narrow, transitional area between the humid and sub-arid bioclimatic zones. It is classified as critically endangered due to habitat loss, selective harvesting, and mining activities. It occurs within an area of only 77 km2 in only two subpopulations, neither of which are within protected areas. There were only 30 known individual plants documented in the wild during a 2007 survey and there is concern that they may become extinct soon if rescue strategies are not developed soon. The purpose of this project is to develop conservation strategies for long term conservation of this species by ensuring that the entire genetic diversity of the existing populations is preserved.

In March 2013, a collection expedition was undertaken, funded by the Association of Zoological Horticulture Conservation Grant. During this field study, only 14 trees were found in existence. Genetic and seed propagation studies will be performed by the end of the year.