Influence of population fragmentation on seed production, development, viability and subsequent natural regeneration of Widdringtonia whytei on Mulange Mountain
“I have been working in the Malawi National Tree Seed Centre since 1990, responsible for the management of seed sources. I am currently working on a PhD study funded by Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership.
Widdringtonia whytei (Mulanje cedar) is endemic on Mount Mulanje in Malawi and the species has been over-exploited through harvesting and thus the population is highly fragmented and declining. Low seed productivity and scarcity of naturally regenerating seedlings has been observed over the years. This prompted me to look at the influence of fragmentation on the seed production, dispersal and subsequent natural regeneration of Mulanje cedar on Mount Mulanje.
I am now collecting data on seed production (seed yield and viability per cone), seed fall pattern and seasonality, and natural regeneration on three sites on the mountain. This would assist in development of a seed collection calendar of the species and determination of ideal sites for regeneration, which would eventually lead to the development of a sound management plan for the species on the mountain. Climbing Mulanje mountain is not easy but I have enjoyed every moment when I am on the mountain. It’s fun.”
- Read about the work of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership in Malawi
- Read about the Millennium Seed Bank's project to collect and conserve wild species from Malawi
- Read about the Darwin Initiative Research Exercise on Community Tree Seeds (DIRECTS) in Africa
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