Grandiphyllum schunkeanum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Orchidales Orchidaceae

Scientific Name: Grandiphyllum schunkeanum
Species Authority: (Campacci & Cath.) Campacci
Oncidium schunkeanum Campacci & Cath.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-08-28
Assessor(s): Chadburn, H. & Romand-Monnier, F.
Reviewer(s): Pinheiro, F.
This small tufted epiphytic orchid, has been recently discovered (1989) and described (1991), it is as yet only known from the type locality,  in the municipality of Serra, in Esperito Santo, Brazil. The Bahia Coastal Forest ecoregion, where it occurs, is one of the most endangered in the world and only a small percentage of the original forest remains. Epiphytes in general have experienced dramatic population decreases mainly because of habitat loss and extraction activities (Mondragon et al. 2006). Many orchid populations are currently restricted to remnants of the tropical Atlantic rainforest (Alacantara et al. 2006). Newly described seriously endangered plant species have been discovered in the region and they may represent the last remnants of an earlier biodiversity (Filho and Leme 2007). The record found for this epiphyte is only from one locality, in a region where little original forest cover remains and that which remains is fragmented, it is inferred to meet subcriterion B1a. It belongs to a genus which has low seed production and is likely to have low seed dispersal. With ongoing threats from, for example, agricultural activities, it is suspected that there is a continuing decline in area, extent and quality of habitat which satisfies subcriterion B1b. The locality detail is not specific, but even if it occurs within the Mestre-Alvaro state environmental protection area, satellite imagery suggests that there may be agricultural encroachment. The whole Serra municipality is c. 550 km2 and the humid forested area of this is much less, with a rough estimate of 90 km2. It is difficult to estimate the extent of occurrence (EOO) as only one specimen record was found but it is suspected to fall within the Endangered or Critically Endangered values. It is assessed as Critically Endangered as it is suspected to be found at only one location (if it is found to occur at more than one location then the population is very likely to be severely fragmented). Field surveys are needed within the municipality of Serra and in surrounding forest fragments to determine the current range, population and habitat status to confirm the conservation status of this recently described species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is a small tufted epiphyte, which has been recently discovered (1989) and described (1991), in the municipality of Serra, in Esperito Santo, Brazil. It is only known from the type locality.
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (EspĂ­rito Santo)
Additional data:
Number of Locations:1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is only known from the type locality. The size and dynamics of the population are unknown.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species was collected in humid forest, in the municipality of Serra, within the Bahia Coastal Forests ecoregion (Campacci and Catharino 1991). The altitude of the type collection is unknown. The municipality of Serra lies between ca. 50 and 300 m asl (GIS data). This orchid was flowered in cultivation in October. The pollinators reported for the genus are several genera of native bees, however, fruit setting in the field is rare. Although uncommon in orchids, there is a suggestion that the Subtribe Oncidiinae is self-incompatible. Oncidium species can also grow clonally through pseudobulbs, which are capable of maintaining clones for many generations. Studies have shown that in the great majority of orchids, the wind-dispersed seeds are only dispersed short distances, near to the maternal plants (Alcantara et al. 2006). This taxon belongs to the section Pulvinata Lindl. It is closely related to Oncidium harrisonianum. The two species differ in the shape of their labellum (Campacci and Catharino 1991).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This orchid is not known to utilized but may have the potential to be desirable to orchid enthusiasts.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Epiphytes in general have experienced dramatic population decreases mainly because of habitat loss and extraction activities, which have driven many species close to extinction (Mondragon et al. 2006). Since the 16th century, the Atlantic rainforest, a biodiversity hotspot (Myers et al. 2000), has suffered from uninterrupted deforestation and has been reduced to 8% of its original area. The Bahia Coastal Forests are considered to be one of the most endangered habitats on earth and only a small percentage of the original forest remains (Da Silva 2001) mostly dissected into tiny, scattered forest fragments. At the type locality, only very small and separated forest fragments remain among a mosaic of cropland, pastures, and urban settlements (GIS data). Beside, the ongoing conversion of forest for agriculture, pasture and urban expansion, other threats to epiphytic orchids in the region include the harvesting of firewood, illegal logging, plant collecting, invasion by alien species, air pollution, and fires. Forest fragmentation also threatens epiphytic orchids through the loss of pollinators, increased desiccation and risks of fires, invasion of ruderal plants and also facilitates extraction of ornamental species (da Silva 2001, Filho and Leme 2007). The ability of this orchid to regenerate and persist in disturbed and secondary forests is unknown. Small sized isolated populations are likely to have a small genetic variability and are particularly subject to inbreeding and genetic drift and more vulnerable to demographic and environmental stochasticity (Filho and Leme 2007). The species has attractive flowers and could potentially be subject to collection. Collecting orchids from natural sources is still very common in Brazil (Saddi et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Most of the natural habitats at the type locality do not benefit from protection but there is a small conservation unit known as the Mestre-Alvaro state environmental protection area. Biodiversity corridors are currently being implemented in the region as part of the PP-G7 Atlantic forest subprogram (Tabarelli et al. 2005) and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Mata Atlantica development. One corridor identified as a priority for conservation in Espirito Santo is the Duas Bocas-Mestre-Alvaro (Birdlife International 2010), which may benefit this species. Extensive habitat restoration and expansion of protected areas are needed to establish of corridors (Filho and Leme 2007). Many forest fragments occur on private land and innovative incentives are needed to encourage conservation. This orchid is currently listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It is not known whether this orchid is grown ex situ in botanic gardens or by orchid enthusiasts. Surveys and census should be conducted at type locality and in surrounding fragments of forests to determine the current size and range of the population and whether any local extinction has occurred. Further research is needed to understand its biology and ecology. The population should be closely monitored and its dynamics studied. A species recovery action plan may need to be designed for this species. Micropropagation protocols should be designed for population reinforcement, for in vitro preservation and to alleviate the potential pressure of extraction on the wild population. Other Oncidium species have been successfully micropropagated. Seeds, if possible, should be collected for germplasm conservation. Removal of any individuals may represent a great loss of genetic diversity. Raising awareness of the risk of extinction faced by these epiphytic orchids is important.

Citation: Chadburn, H. & Romand-Monnier, F. 2014. Grandiphyllum schunkeanum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T22486231A44517300. . Downloaded on 23 May 2017.
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