Gilletiodendron glandulosum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Fabaceae

Scientific Name: Gilletiodendron glandulosum (Portères) J.Léonard
Common Name(s):
French Kololu
Cymonetra glandulosa (Porteres) Roberty
Cymonetra glandulosa (Porteres) Roberty
Cynometra glandulosa (Porteres) J.Léonard
Cynometra glandulosa (Porteres) J.Léonard
Taxonomic Notes: This genus has a phytogeographical affinity with the humid Guineo-Congolian rain forest zone and Gilletiodendron glandulosum is the sole outlier in semi-arid climate zones of this genus. Unlike many other woody plants considered endemic to Mali, this tree is unquestionably a distinct species and not a possible subspecies of a more widespread plant.

In all publications discussing G. glandulosum, apart from those in recent years by Duvall (2000, 2001, 2003), the species has been given the common name “kololo” after the Maninka patois used around Kita and Oualia, as this was the only area where the tree had been studied. However, in the districts surrounding Manantali, the name “kololo” is not recognised and is often confused with the widely known Maninka plant name “kolokolo”, which refers to Pericopsis laxiflora.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2008-02-27
Assessor(s): Crook, V.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Lutz, M.L.
Gilletiodendron glandulosum is an evergreen tree endemic to the Manding Plateau of Mali found in forest and scrubland in innumerable disjunct patches along seasonal drainage channels and seepage areas in the region’s sandstone cliffs, between 80 and 600 m asl. It is the dominant species of G. glandulosum gallery forests, a type of Sudano-Guinean gallery forest found in narrow canyons, along cliff edges and on rocky slopes. Over 80 different localities are known for this species with records ranging from 1907 to 2007. The extent of occurrence (EOO) of G. glandulosum has been estimated at 15,657 km² and area of occupancy (AOO) at 1,670.8 km². Current total population size has been estimated at over nine million individuals. Over 1.3 million trees are believed to have been lost during the 1980s Manantali dam construction, representing a decline of 13.27% due to this event. A continuous decline in the Manantali region is believed to be occurring, due to the large population growth in the last twenty years and the high demand for construction materials. Groves in this area show much evidence of human disturbance, particularly logging, with 10% of the trees having been cut in one of the groves studied by Duvall in 2000. For the most part, however humans currently have little direct impact on Gilletiodendron forest. The physical difficulty in accessing most G. glandulosum groves has kept this forest type relatively unaffected by human activities and in the other less populated areas it has in fact been described as “very abundant and even spreading”. Fire and small-scale timber harvesting appear to be the main threats to the species, with the level of harvesting predicted to increase in the future, even in currently relatively undisturbed and in accessible regions, as population growth in Mali proceeds by 3% per year.

Although G. glandulosum has been recognised as a “Vulnerable” species by IUCN since 1998 G. glandulosum is not specifically protected under Malian law nor are there any indigenous non-legislative conservation measures in place to protect this species or any other plant commonly found in Gilletiodendron forest. In more populous areas enforcement of national forestry laws is vigorous and this may actually encourage the use of G. glandulosum because it is not legally protected in Mali. Duvall (2001) notes that on account of its “economic and scientific interest” G. glandulosum should be protected under Article 16 of Malian Law 95-004, however it is not mentioned in Article 17 of this law, which specifically protects eleven other species. Burkill (1995), in his account “The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa”, concludes that “this is a plant that seems to merit greater attention than paid here-to-fore by conservationists and agri-sociologists. Several G. glandulosum groves are found within protected areas such as the Siguiféri Forest Reserve, the Bafing Faunal Reserve and the recently established Wongo and Kouroufing National Parks. Neither the species nor its habitat is protected under Malian Law, and there appears to be a general lack of awareness concerning this important species in Mali. The Millenium Seed Bank Project is actively searching for seed for this species to bank both in-country and in the UK.

Unlike most other woody plants endemic to Mali, this tree is unquestionably a distinct species and not a possible subspecies of a more widespread plant. It is a remarkable species based on form, economic potential, and relict status and deserves protection in its own right (Duvall 2001). Many of the plants found in the Gilletiodendron forest are either extremely rare or not found in other Sudanian vegetation types. Gilletiodendron forest has a high conservation value as it is the principal habitat for numerous rare plant species and contains 1% of Mali’s 1740 plant species despite its limited area. While Gilletiodendron forest is not currently threatened with destruction, high population growth and the current lack of specific conservation measures mean that long-term survival of the vegetation type is not assured.

A precautionary rating of Vulnerable is considered appropriate here considering active enforcement of forestry laws in Mali suppressing the use of other timber species and indirectly encouraging the collection of G. gilletiodendron. Once conservation measures have been put into place this species is likely to recover quickly from any degradation due to its apparent resilience to small-scale cutting, the large number of seeds produced with regularity, their high germination rate and the hardiness of the seedlings. It may then be possible to downgrade G. gilletiodendron to Near Threatened.

Gilletiodendron glandulosum has been rated here as Vulnerable. Although threats such as fire are no longer considered to be severely affecting Gilletiodendron populations, threats such as harvesting are likely to be of more importance in the future. As this species is found in high densities in very small groves, enabling the extraction of large quantities without having to search over large distances for specimens, there is the possibility that entire groves become wiped out, especially with the decline in harvesting of other more protected tree species and the increase in human population numbers and associated movement into less accessible and currently un-disturbed habitats.

Gilletiodendron glandulosum subpopulations are considered to be severely fragmented, based on IUCN guidelines concerning population densities and dispersal distances. According to calculations carried out for this assessment at least 50% of all known individuals (approx. four million) are contained within small isolated groves of between 125 and 150,000 m², which are in turn separated from each other by several hundred metres or kilometres. Gilletiodendron glandulosum is dispersed by barochory, with a maximum known dispersal distance of a few metres. Patches are therefore isolated by distances several times greater than the long-term average dispersal distance of the taxon. Number of individuals contained within these groves can vary from as little as 3.5 in those of only 125 m² to 4,256 in the larger groves (based on calculations from Duvall’s estimates of 283.74 individuals per 10,000 m²), suggesting that many of these groves do not support “viable populations”.

Another four to five million individuals were estimated to be growing in the intermediate shrubland, however this value is likely to be an overestimate (see population section). Presence in shrubland found between isolated groves suggests that the species may not be as severely fragmented as was previously thought, however Birnbaum (2007) highlights the fact that although G. glandulosum is found in scrub, presence seems to be limited to very small hills of less than 100 m² and therefore most individuals are still contained within fragmented patches. The tree is known to be pollinated by bees, however the species involved and distances travelled are unknown and the extent of genetic exchange through cross pollination between patches cannot be predicted.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Gilletiodendron glandulosum is endemic to the Manding plateau area of southwestern Mali. The probable range for this species has been identified as a polygon with its eastern, northern and western points at Kita, Bafoulabé and Kéniéba respectively, the southern extent being more uncertain. Within its range, the plant occurs discontinuously, in small patches or groves. The majority of this area, however, has not been surveyed for G. glandulosum. Except for much research around Kita and recent studies in the central part of triangle (near Manantali) and at the western limit (along the Falaise de Tamboura cliff), the majority of the tree’s distribution seems to have been estimated from observations made from the Dakar-Bamako railway and second hand reports from the Kéniéba area.

The National Biodiversity Strategy of Mali (2001) also mentions the possibility of this species growing in the vicinity of Siby, a village 50 km west of Bamako, which is east of Kita and therefore would extend the species’ distribution further to the east; however, this has not been confirmed. A new grove to the south has recently been recorded by Birnbaum (2007), being just north of Bafing-Makhana on the western banks of the Bafing river. This extends the species’ distribution further south than was previously known. On searching apparently suitable areas further south towards the town of Bindougou, Birnbaum did not locate any other populations, even where Gyrocarpus americanus was growing, a species known to be often associated. Birnbaum interviewed several residents in this area, showing them pictures and describing Gilletiodendron, however no one appeared to know this plant in the region of Bindougou.

Geerling’s (1987) description including Senegal in the plant’s range appears to be an error, no collections of G. glandulosum have been reported from the country, and both Lawesson (1995) and Adam (1968) state specifically that they did not find it in eastern Senegal in the course of extensive surveys.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1670
Lower elevation limit (metres):84
Upper elevation limit (metres):560
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Duvall (2001) studied 17 G. glandulosum groves to the West of Bafing Reservoir in Mali. Prior to this research, there had been no vegetation surveys of southwestern Mali beyond the Kita area, except for a large-scale remote sensing project in the 1980s that produced a vegetation map with resolution too coarse to show individual Gilletiodendrom forest groves (Projet d’Inventaire 1990). It did, however, provide estimates of percentage cover of each habitat type in the region, including forests that are ecologically similar to Gilletiodendron forest occupying less than 5% of the ground surface within the tree’s range and saxicolous scrub occupying about 10% of the ground surface (where G. glandulosum occurs at low density).

This data, combined with specimen locality data, GIS techniques, information from Duvall’s study on species density and additional data supplied by Birnbaum from vegetation studies having been carried out in 2003 and 2004, has enabled the estimation of population size and AOO for the species. Duvall recommends using 1-2% cover as the maximum likely area covered by Gilletiodendron forest, due to the PIRT estimate including Guibortia copallifera forests. 1% land cover will be used in the calculations here.

Duvall derived three different estimates of G. glandulosum density in forest habitat in his 2001 paper using three different survey techniques, namely line intercept, point-quarter and quadrat. The number of plants per hectare ranged from 131.44 in the line intercept survey to 600 in the quadrat survey. An intermediate value of 283.74 individuals per hectare in Gilletiodendron forests has been recommended by Duvall (2007) according to unpublished data incorporated into his dissertation and following Gentry’s methods for sampling tropical forests. In addition, a lower density of 31.2 individuals per hectare in scrub vegetation has been suggested.

An EOO of 13,185 km² was estimated for this species using GIS techniques and this was then used to calculate the AOO of the species using percentage habitat cover throughout this extent. A second measure of AOO, 160 km², was also estimated using GIS techniques. A grid cell size of 2 km x 2 km is recommended for calculations of AOO by IUCN. Groves (where most G. glandulosum occurs) are believed to range in size from 125 m² to 150,000 m², and a grid cell size of 4 km² is therefore much larger than any of the groves surveyed by Duvall in 2000. It does, however, compensate for the fact that G. gilletiodendron is also found in the surrounding scrub, but at much lower densities, and also in many more groves than are currently known and have been plotted for analysis.

The values derived from GIS and calculations carried out using the above data and methods are described below.

EOO (GIS) = 15,657 km²

AOO (GIS) = 160 km²

477 km² of this land was flooded in the 1980s (IRN, 1999), creating the Bafing Reservoir, therefore the EOO value used for the calculation of AOO and population numbers below will be 15,657-477 = 15,180 km².

Maximum AOO (Habitat percentage) = 1670.8 km²
[Forest Cover + Scrub Cover = (EOO x 0.01) + (EOO x 0.1) = 151.8 + 1518]

No. of individuals per km² in forest groves = 28,374
[283.74 per 10,000 m², therefore 28,374 per 1,000,000 m²)

No. of individuals per km² in scrub vegetation = 3,120
[31.2 per 10,000 m², therefore 3,120 per 1,000,000 m²)

Maximum total no. of individuals = 9,043,333.2 = ~9 million
[(Inds. per km² in forest grove x Forest Cover) + (Inds per km² in scrub vegetation x Scrub Cover) = (28,374 x 151.8) + (3120 x 1518) = 4,307,173.2 + 4,736,160]

Individuals per grove = 3.5 to 4,256 (for smallest to largest known groves)
[(Inds. per m² in forest grove x smallest grove size) to (Inds per m² in forest groves x largest grove size) = (0.028374 x 125) to (0.028374 x 150,000) = 3.54675 to 4,256.1]

The AOO calculated using GIS seems to be an approximation of AOO of this species within forests (160 km² compared to 151.8 km² calculated using satellite estimates) and therefore was not considered an appropriate measure to estimate overall population sizes. It does, however, provide some confirmation for collecting bias, as is often the case for plant species, however cannot be proven. Gilletiodendron glandulosum grove populations have been the focus of most studies on this species and therefore localities displayed on the map are likely to coincide with Gilletiodendron groves and not to include presence of the species in scrubland.

Birnbaum (2007) states that he has nearly always seen the species within forest groves on sandstone cliffs, and only sometimes on very small hills (<100 m²) in scrubland and therefore the numbers calculated above must be taken as the maximum, as it assumes a constant distribution of 3,120 individuals in every km² of scrubland, which in turn takes up 10% of the known distribution of the species. Birnbaum does state, however, that where Gilletiodendron is found it is very abundant and even spreading, suggesting that the calculation above is a good starting point for population studies. Duvall (2001) also highlights the fact that “locally, G. glandulosum sucker sprouts less than 8 m high can form dense patches”. A satellite imagery project which hopes to provide high enough resolution images to identify individual forest groves and even these small hills, will enable a more accurate calculation of area of occupancy and population numbers in the future and allow comparisons to be made over time.
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Gilletiodendron glandulosum is found in forest and scrubland in innumerable disjunct patches along seasonal drainage channels and seepage areas in the region’s sandstone cliffs, between 80 and 600 m asl. It is the dominant species of G. glandulosum gallery forests, a type of Sudano-Guinean gallery forest found in narrow canyons, along cliff edges and on rocky slopes. Despite its significance, this forest type is poorly known to biologists due to its inaccessibility and rarity, having been studied primarily in one location (around Kita) intermittently from the late 1930s to mid-1950s and then in the Manantali region by Duvall and in the Falaise de Tamboura region by Birnbaum in the early 2000s.

Gilletiodendron forest most commonly occurs in places where surface or subterranean water is abundant. Although surface water in Gilletiodendron groves is not permanent (occurring mainly during the period July to December when run-off is abundant), topography and geology, as well as shading effects of the canopy, ensure that the soil remains moist throughout the year. The species appears to be able to cope with extensive flooding and run off, up to 5-6 m high in some cases. These flows can lead to fallen trees and other physical damage, which G. glandulosum appears to be able to recover from due to its architectural plasticity. These habitats are not favourable for the growth of other tree species and interspecific competition is low (Birnbaum 2008). Most species found in this vegetation are therefore relatively uncommon due to the overwhelming dominance of G. glandulosum, Grewia bicolor and Elachyptera parvifolia. Another important associated species is Gyrocarpus americanus (Birnbaum 2007). Duvall (2001) recorded the presence of 121 species of woody plants belonging to at least 42 families in the 17 Gilletiodendron groves being studied.

Duvall (2001) argued that the tree has a relatively high but narrow tolerance of soil moisture content. In the Manding plateau, locations with high soil moisture content also tend to be protected from fire by topography, leading past researchers to conclude that fire is the paramount factor limiting the tree’s distribution. However, G. glandulosum forests also occur along semi-permanent creeks in flat, unprotected areas surrounded by grasses and fire-prone wooded grassland. The lower edges of three groves studies by Duvall in 2000 lay within metres of actively cultivated fields which are burnt yearly. Several charred, but otherwise healthy G. glandulsum individuals were observed here, but the vegetation seemed otherwise unaffected. The role of fire in determining its distribution, though surely important, seems to have been overemphasized.

Floristic evidence suggests that Gilletiodendron forest is a relict vegetation type with many of the plants growing in these forests having disjunct populations scattered throughout West Africa. As these plants do not generally have long distance dispersal methods, it has been suggested that their disjunct populations were once more-or-less continuous. Gilletiodendron glandulosum seed dispersal is believed to occur by barochory only (fruit drying out, breaking and falling to the ground) and therefore it is only likely to disperse over very small distances. Animals are not known to consume the seed, hypothetically excluding dispersal by this method (Birnbaum 2007).

Many Gilletiodendron forest genera are more characteristic of the Sudano-Guinean or Guineo-Congolian phytochoria than the Sudanian, which indicates an affinity between Gilletiodendron forest and more southerly phytochora (Duvall 2001). These phytochoria were more widespread to the north more than 25,000 years ago, before the onset of the last major world glacial period which resulted in drier conditions throughout northern Africa and lasted until about 12,000 years ago. Other species are sparsely dispersed pantropicals, or are present both in West Africa and South America. The presence of such species indicates that Gilletiodendron forest may be quite ancient, since plants with trans-Atlantic distributions probably represent remnants of vegetation more than two million years old. In Central America, riparian and gallery forests in semi-arid climate zones have served as refugia for mesophytes during periods of climatic dessication and it is likely that Gilletiodendron forest plays a similar role in western Mali.

Duvall (2003) concludes that the dominant representation of G. glandulsoum forests as relicts isolated by anthropogenic deforestation overestimates human agency and ignores the ecological implications of microhabitat variation in the Manding Plateau in the context of the extreme climate variation the region has experienced during the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. He considers human activities secondary in importance to edaphic factors in determining the distribution of these forests.

The overwhelming dominance of G. glandulosum in the vegetation is a likely result from fragmentation of a once more widespread habitat. Species able to survive and flourish after permanent habitat fragmentation tend to be those that reproduce rapidly and abundantly, and thus often become strongly dominant in habitat isolates. Gilletiodendron glandulosum has an extremely high germination rate approaching 100% and produces great numbers of seeds each year during the rainy season with a regularity that is somewhat uncommon among tropical trees. Its seedlings are also remarkably hardy and are abundant throughout G. glandulosum groves (Duvall 2001). Growth after germination, can be very slow, however, with one example currently growing in a garden in Bamako having only reached 40-50cm in height after fours years (Birnbaum germinated this plant in February 2004). It is believed that soil composition is crucial for the successful growth and development of this species.

Tree heights vary from 25-30 m in undisturbed humid sites bordered by high cliffs or slopes to only 8-12 m high along cliff edges and rock ridges or in relatively open, flat areas. In the latter localities, which tend to have relatively lower soil humidity and are somewhat more accessible, G. glandulosum may occur as a multi-stemmed shrub occupying the lower canopy edge niche or occur in rocky savanna areas away from the main body of the grove. It is unclear if this uncommon form of the plant is due to ecological factors or to abundant sprout growth following repeated cutting by humans. The tree is evergreen maintaining a dense green crown even during the dry season.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The only use of G. glandulosum reported by Maninka people is as a construction hardwood, used primarily for tarumalu (support posts) and salalu (cross beams) in birelu (hangars, i.e. open-sided outdoor shelters), kulukululu (granaries), garèkalu (outdoor beds) and other structures. The timber is very hard and termites do not appear to attack it. However, in sparsely populated areas, it is uncommon to see Gilletiodendron wood in use, even if there is a grove nearby (Duvall 2001). This is because other trees with similar uses, especially Prosopsis africana, Anogeissus leiocarpus and Burkea africana, are generally more accessible. However, in areas where the human population is higher, the populations of other trees with similar uses have been depleted, or law enforcement against illegal cutting of well-known hardwoods (not including Gilletiodendron) has increased, use of G. glandulsoum has intensified.

The seed is also eaten, and the oil that is extracted from the seed has a smell of balsam and a sweet, peppery flavour. Based on its various positive attributes (high seed crop and fertility, vigorous seedling growth, recovery after cutting and numerous ecosystem services), G. glandulosum has been recommended for reafforestation programmes in Guinea (Burkhill 1995).

This species is believed to provide a number of ecosystem services. Gallery forests are generally believed to influence the productivity of distant agricultural areas by moderating the depth and salinity of the water table. Gilletiodendron glandulosum is also believed to moderate the dry season ground temperature and protect the undergrowth from desiccation and bush fires. The abundance of white flowers produced during the rainy season is known to attract large numbers of bees. Gilletiodendron groves are refuges not only for many plant species, but also for Mali’s chimpanzees. They provide an important habitat for chimpanzees due to vegetation structure, presence of permanent surface water, and particularly, abundance of diverse food plants throughout the year (Duvall 2000).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Aubréville and Jaeger, the two principal researchers of this species prior to Duvall, repeatedly state that the G. glandulosum forests are extremely vulnerable to disturbance, particularly that caused by fire and small-scale timber harvesting. However, Aubréville (1939) also notes that the ability of G. glandulosum to sprout from roots and stumps shows that the tree may recover quickly from fire and that the tree’s fecundity and sprouting ability indicate that it is adapted to canopy disturbance. Additionally, neither Jaeger nor Aubréville cite any evidence that these forests are particularly vulnerable to disturbance by small-scale timber extraction, other than the fact that the indigenous Maninka people use the tree for construction wood. Davis et al. (1986) report that G. glandulosum is a “threatened timber tree”, however, Geerling (1985) found that the tree faced no significant threats due to the inaccessibility of its habitat.

There are some specific periods when localised G. glandulosum forest destruction is known to have occurred, however. Aubréville (1939) reported that railroad construction and fueling led to considerable deforestation along the Dakar-Bamako railway during 1937-1955, and this included many G. glandulosum groves. The specific area deforested or number of trees cut down, however, are not known from this time. The Manantali Dam was built in the late 1980s (between 1981 and 1987) and this flooded over 400 km² of shrubland (Duvall 2001), including a further unknown area of G. glandulosum forest. Extrapolation from numbers of trees found per km² of shrubland (3,120) suggests that at least 1,248,000 trees (400 x 3,120) were destroyed through this flooding. A further 135,344 trees (4.77 x 28,374) may have been lost if this area also contained the representative 1% Gilletiodendron forest cover of the region. The total number of trees lost during this period can be estimated as 1,383,344. Prior to the flooding the total number of trees was estimated as 10,426,677 (9,043,333 + 1,383,344) and a reduction of 13.27% can be therefore inferred for this period.

Southwestern Mali is amongst the poorest areas in the nation primarily due to a lack of transport infrastructure. Population density in the Manantali region is relatively low (5-10 persons/km²) and the limited local transport infrastructure has prevented large-scale agriculture and extensive commercial exploitation of wild plant resources. As a result of these factors, natural vegetation in the area remains largely undisturbed. The inaccessible cliffs and mesas, where G. glandulosum groves are found, are considered marginal land which is not heavily used. However, due to increased population pressures, localities near the hills are becoming increasingly desirable for habitation, enabling better access to wild resources and additional agricultural land.

In addition, Duvall (2001) highlights the problem of possible future exploitation of the species due to its economic value, human population growth and possible improvement in transportation infrastructure in the region providing access to larger markets. Around Manantali, where there is 1) a relatively large human population; 2) high demand for construction materials; and 3) relatively vigorous enforcement of laws banning unlicensed cutting of Prosopsis africana, Anogeissus leiocarpus and Pterocarpus erinaceus, there were 47 Gilletiodendeon stumps per 422 uncut trees. These figures can be converted to a local decline of 10%, however the time period over which this occurred is not known. While the current level of exploitation around Manantali does not appear unsustainable, especially because the tree sprouts vigorously after cutting, it represents a trend that predicts a growing level of exploitation of G. glandulosum as population growth continues and transportation options expand in the area. The overwhelming cover dominance of this species in the groves means that overexploitation of the tree would severely threaten many of the other plants that rely on the dense upper canopy for suitable habitat.

Other general threats to the West Sudanian ecoregion where this species found include overgrazing by livestock, burning of woody material for charcoal, wild fires and climatic desiccation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Siguiféri Forest Reserve (13°16'N 09°43'W), was created in 1935 by the Governor of French Sudan, with the main aim of halting the destruction of G. glandulosum (then not even being a described species, only being referred to as the “Kololo”, but having been studied by Aubréville). 3,200 hectares were set aside which contained at least 400 hectares of “Kololo” forest, however fires continued to ravage the site as protection was not put into practice after creation (Boudet et al. 1986).

The species is found within the Bafing Game Reserve, which was established in 1990 around at least 17 preexisting villages as an environmental mitigation for the Manantali Dam and for which a management plan has been set out under the Convention of Biological Diversity: “Project for the Long-term Management of Biodiversity in the Bafing Game Reserve”. The southern portion of the predicted distribution for G. glandulosum is also well protected within the Wongo and Kouroufing National Parks, both established in 2002.

Several authors have shown that traditional protection of “sacred groves” by indigenous people is an important means of preserving biodiversity in West Africa. While there is evidence that the Bamanan people maintain protected groves elsewhere in Mali and that the Maninka do too in southern Guinea, there is no indication that this practice exists in southwestern Mali. Identification of indigenous conservation techniques which effect Gilletiodendron forest is vital in considering how to preserve this rare plant community.

Duvall (2001) found that the Maninka population in the Manantali does not specifically practice wild plant conservation. However, land use patterns tend to protect plants found in marginal or inaccessible areas, particularly steep slopes, cliffs and the tops of plateaux. Cultivation takes place in flat lowland areas, which are easily accessible from villages. Many valued wild trees are maintained in fields to provide shade, food, or other products. Sites that are difficult to access due to topography are seldom visited because the plant resources they hold are not worth the risk or difficulty associated with their harvest. Most Gilletiodendron groves occur in such locations, and are thus passively accorded some protection in the Maninka land use system.

Mali’s national laws provide protection for plants which have a high economic, cultural or scientific interest (Assemblée Nationale 1995, Article 26). In addition, montane vegetation and zones along seasonal waterways, seepage areas and waterfalls are protected throughout the country (Assemblée Nationale 1995, Article 10). However, it is virtually unknown for forestry agents in the Manantali areas to fine people based on the provenance of wood they have collected. Duvall (2001) concludes that all Gilletiodendron forest stands that were visited during his research are eligible for protection under Article 10 of Law 95-004 and that forestry agents should extend their surveillance based on this article since no species common in Gilletiodendron forests is specifically protected. The only plants specifically protected by law (Assemblée Nationale 1995, Article 17) are widespread, well-known species that are commonly used for various purposes. No rare species are protected under Malian law and although general terminology in 95-004 ought to provide protection to G. glandulosum and Gilletiodendron forest, no protection is given to these resources because they are not mentioned specifically by name.

According to Duvall (2001) there also seems to be a complete lack of awareness of G. glandulosum by conservationists working in Mali. The tree has apparently not been mentioned in any published or professional reports specifically on Mali (including environmental impact assessments associated with the Manantali Dam) since the publication of Jaeger (1968), apart from a one page summary of rare plants by Davis et al. (1986) and the Catalogue of Vascular Plants in Mali by Boudet et al. (1986). Of approximately fifteen professionals interviewed in Mali by Duvall, no forestry agent, conservationist, resource manager or researcher, whether Malian or not, knew of G. glandulosum, “kololo” or “sénsão”. Therefore, no effort is currently underway on any administrative level to protect the plant resources of Gilletiodendron forest. Work currently being carried out under the Millenium Seed Bank partnership, is hopefully helping to convert this lack of knowledge into some form of protection. Collection trips usually involve members of various government departments and research institutions within Mali such as the “Unite de Semences Forestieres et Herbier” and the “Centre Regional de Recherche Agronomique”. The species was actively searched for and found during a trip in 2006 by members of both these institutes, namely Abdul Kadir Sanogo and Sida Sanogo respectively, and seed was collected at the end of 2007 on a second trip to the Kita Massif.

Citation: Crook, V. 2011. Gilletiodendron glandulosum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T32231A9689412. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
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