Sabal bermudana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Arecales Arecaceae

Scientific Name: Sabal bermudana L.H.Bailey
Common Name(s):
English Bermuda Palm, Bermuda Palm, Bermuda Palmetto, Palmetto
Sabal beccariana L.H.Bailey

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-08-10
Assessor(s): Copeland, A. & Roberts, A.
Reviewer(s): Gardiner, L.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bárrios, S.
The only endemic palm of Bermuda, Sabal bermudana was first assessed as Endangered by Johnson in 1998, due to its limited geographic range, the condition of its habitat and the number of locations and/or subpopulations. Since 1998, significant conservation work has been carried out to propagate this species and plant seedlings in suitable sites. In addition there is ongoing work to remove invasive plants where they are encroaching upon endemic species. Despite these efforts the wild population is still declining and the threats to this species remain, and due to its restricted range, and the fragmented nature of the plant subpopulations this species remains assessed as Endangered.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Bermuda and is found as individual plants or in small groups in a patchy island-wide distribution. The maximum extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 148 km2 and the maximum area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be 71 km2 based on a 1x1 km2 grid cell (justified due to the small size of the islands). However the maximum AOO includes planted individuals in landscaped habitats and therefore the AOO for the wild population is less than 71 km2. The species is judged to be severely fragmented as more than half of its total AOO is in habitat patches smaller than would be required in order to maintain viable populations in the long term. Continuing decline in the area, extent, and quality of the habitat of this species is observed in Bermuda, due to encroaching development and invasive species.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:71
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In the past this palm grew in significant numbers as Palmetto forest in parts of the island. Surviving patches of Palmetto forest can be found at Paget Marsh and Butterfield Nature Reserves. After experiencing significant declines due to habitat loss for development and the encroachment of invasive species, the overall population is beginning to recover as it has been widely planted in parks, nature reserves, gardens, golf courses and as street trees (Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bermuda 2016). The current wild and cultivated/semi-cultivated population is 3,609 mature individuals. However the wild population remains in decline with a continuing decline observed in area, extent and quality of habitat habitat due to the impact of development and invasive species. The number of mature wild individuals has been observed to be declining, as older individuals occurring in marshy habitat close to the sea are also beginning to be affected by sea level rise.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:3609Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
All individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is the island's only endemic palm. It occurs throughout the island and is found in all habitats except the most saline. It can be confused with the Chinese Fan Palm Livistona chinensis which grows in similar habitats. Ripe fruits provide food for birds and other animals (Department of Environment and Natural Resources 2016).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Historically the leaves of this species have been used for a variety of purposes including the making of thatch, rope, baskets, hats and fans. Historically the fruits were used to make an alcoholic drink known as Bibey. It is widely grown as an ornamental.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The major threats to this species are loss of habitat due to development and competition from a host of invasive species such as Livistona chinensis, Schinus terebinthifolia, Eugenia uniflora and Pimenta dioica. The invasive species Ficus microcarpa and Schefflera actinophylla are of particular concern as these plants grow on top of and eventually shade out and topple older palms.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Of the 3,609 mature individuals known in the wild and in cultivation/semi-cultivation, 75% (2,710) are found in protected areas. There are living collections of this species at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (M. Corcoran pers. comm. 2016) and also three seed collections, (in total around 3,000 seeds which exhibit good germination when tested), held in the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew (T. Heller pers. comm. 2016). The Bermuda Department of Environment and Natural Resources have produced a poster to differentiate this endemic Sabal species from the invasive Livistona chinensis to educate the public about the importance of the Sabal in Bermuda, and propagated plants are widely available from local plant nurseries.

Citation: Copeland, A. & Roberts, A. 2016. Sabal bermudana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T38691A101378743. . Downloaded on 21 August 2018.
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