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Lodoicea maldivica

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA LILIOPSIDA ARECALES PALMAE

Scientific Name: Lodoicea maldivica
Species Authority: (J.F.Gmel.) Pers.
Common Name(s):
English Double Coconut Palm
French Coco de mer
Synonym(s):
Borassus sonneratii Giseke
Cocos maldivica J.F.Gmel.
Cocos maritima Comm. ex H.Wendl.
Lodoicea callypige Comm. ex J.St.Hil.
Lodoicea sechellarum Labill.
Lodoicea sonneratii (Giseke) Baill.
Taxonomic Notes: The only species in this genus, representing a unique evolutionary lineage from the Seychelles.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2007-02-01
Assessor(s): Fleischer-Dogley, F., Huber, M.J. & Ismail, S.
Reviewer(s): Baker, W.J. & Lutz, M.L.
Justification:
Lodoicea maldivica is endemic to Praslin and Curieuse islands, Seychelles, where the extent of occurrence (EOO) and the area of occupancy (AOO) are estimated to be less than 100 km², and it is restricted to fewer than six locations. There has been a decline in the area of occupancy, which is not reversible and it has been estimated that the population has declined by more than 30% over three generations. The main threats are fires, harvesting and poaching. Furthermore, a future continuing decline in the population by more than 30% can be suspected within a maximum of 100 years if the actual level of exploitation is continued and invasive pathogens are introduced. Current levels of utilization are thought to be unsustainable and illegal harvesting of kernels is a significant additional threat. It is therefore listed as Endangered.
History:
1998 Vulnerable (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the Seychelles. It occurs naturally only on the two islands of Praslin (Fond Ferdinand, Vallée de Mai, Anse Marie-Louise) and Curieuse (Dogley and Matatiken 2006). These two islands have a total area of 41 km² (National Statistics Bureau 2005). Historically, the species was also known from Round, St. Pierre and Chauve-Souris (Dogley and  Matatiken 2006). It is planted on several other granitic islands, but these stands cannot be counted as naturalized. It occurs at less than six locations and the EOO is estimated to be less than 100 km² (maybe even less than 50 km²).
Countries:
Native:
Seychelles (Seychelles (main island group))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population consists of a total of 8,282 mature individuals, of which most are found within three subpopulations (1,440 individuals in the Vallée de Mai, 1,380 individuals in Fond Ferdinand, 1,750 individuals on Curieuse). Some individuals are also found scattered across Praslin. The reduction in population size is estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations. The reduction is based on the decline in area of occupancy and is not clearly reversible. Most of the areas previously occupied by L. maldivica were degraded at one point in time by fire. As a result, there has been a loss in the quality of its habitat in parts of its range. This applies especially for Curieuse and is to date very obvious. Parallel to loss in quality habitat, infrastructure development has taken place on Praslin in areas, which were once occupied by L. maldivica. The actual or potential levels of exploitation combined with the effects of introduced taxa like pathogens, pollutants or parasites can not be quantified, although figures on seed collection are available which indicate that the amount of nuts harvested has more than doubled in the past 11 years. This clearly confirms that actual exploitation has been intensified. At the same time efforts to ensure new recruitment have been very limited for a range of different reasons including poaching. Therefore, in a worst-case scenario, a population size reduction of more than 30% can be suspected within a maximum of 100 years if the actual level of exploitation is continued and for example an invasive pathogen is accidentally introduced.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This palm can be found on almost all soil types though it is confined to hill slopes and valleys. It grows best in forests on deep valley soils with good drainage. In such locations it forms the canopy species in almost pure stands of forest or mixed stands with other palms, e.g. Deckenia nobilis and screw pines Pandanus hornei. Undergrowth is limited by the lack of light and the thick leaf litter. Epiphytes such as lichens are found in tiny crevices in the bark. Ferns grow around the inflorescence in the crown of the tree. The endemic fauna associated are the Black Parrot (Coracopsis nigra barklyi) the Seychelles Bulbul (Hypsipetes crassirostris), and three Gecko species, Phelsuma sunbergi, Phelsuma asiatica and Ailuronyx sechellensis. Among the Seychelles snails only one, Pachnodus praslinus, is found in Lodoicea forest. The complex interactions between the palm and the fauna are yet to be discovered.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Previously used as a medicinal plant. The leaves have also been used locally as thatch and plaiting. The empty shells have been used as vessels and the down from young leaves has been used for stuffing pillows. The seeds are used and traded as souvenirs/decorations. Approximately 80% of the global population is used.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats to this species are harvesting and poaching, fires (human induced and wildfires), infrastructure development and introduced taxa (such as pathogens and parasites). Its restricted range, slow growth rate, limited dispersal ability and poor recruitment are other threats to this species.

Current levels of utilisation are thought to be unsustainable and illegal harvesting of kernels is a significant additional threat (Rist et al. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is legally protected by the Breadfruit and other trees Act (Laws of Seychelles 1991) and the Coco-de-Mer (Management) Decree 1978, revised in 1994. It is found in the Praslin National Park and the Curieuse Marine National Park.

Citation: Fleischer-Dogley, F., Huber, M.J. & Ismail, S. 2011. Lodoicea maldivica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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