Madagascar Threatened Plants Project - COMPLETED
Madagascar has a rich flora, estimated to total between 10-12,000 species, of which up to 85% are thought to be endemic. The flora is under severe threat from vegetation clearance for agriculture, charcoal production and timber extraction, as well as by fire and illegal collecting of orchids, palms, dryland succulents and other charismatic plants. The Threatened Plants Project (TPP) aims to develop capacity for the ex situ conservation of some of the most critically endangered species, in order to reduce collection pressure on wild populations, provide insurance against extinction and facilitate the re-establishment of species and populations in the wild.
The TPP officially ran from 2003 to 2006 and was managed by Colin Clubbe at RBG Kew and co-ordinated in Madagascar by Tianjanahary Ranarivelo. A project co-ordinator was employed at RBG Kew from 2003-05. Funding is through the Friends of Kew Madagascar Threatened Plants Appeal, which has raised the original target of £250,000. It has funded 3 DEA (MSc equivalent) students and a PhD in Madagascar. The work is continuing throught the RBG Kew Madagascar Office.
The project is focussing on 20 species of orchids, palms and dryland succulents. Extensive surveys have been undertaken to locate and enumerate new and known populations, and seeds of mother-plants are collected for establishing or enhancing ex situ collections. The orchids are grown by the Centre Technique Horticole d'Antananarivo (CTHA) in a new micro-propagation unit, developed with technical assistance from Phillip Seaton, an associate of RBG Kew. The TPP has funded equipment, chemicals and the employment of two CTHA technicians. Training was provided by Kew's Micropropagation unit.
Funded by the Appeal, a new greenhouse has been built at Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza (PBZT) to grow the orchids to maturity, and reintroductions of selected species are starting at Andisabe National Park. A shade house has also been constructed at PBZT as a public exhibition and interpretation centre.
The TPP has funded the renovation of the palmetum at PBZT and the construction of a palm nursery and employment of a horticulturalist at Ivoloina National Park. The reintroduction of a palm species is starting also at Andasibe National Park. The World Bank is helping to fund the publication of Field Guide to the Palms of Madagascar, which is nearing completion by the team.
Succulents are grown at Antsokay Arboretum near Toliara. The TPP has funded a new nursery and a solar powered irrigation system. The TPP is working with Antsokay Arboretum, ANGAP and WWF to reintroduce populations of several species to a new protected area north of Toliara. The TPP has worked closely with the MSBP, providing seed collections and population data for the rarest succulents.
Project partners and collaborators
Centre Technique Horticole d’Antananarivo (CTHA)
Groupe des Spécialistes des Plantes Malgaches (GSPM)
Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza (PBZT)
Madagascar Threatened Plants Appeal (Friends of Kew)