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Encephalartos aemulans

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA CYCADOPSIDA CYCADALES ZAMIACEAE

Scientific Name: Encephalartos aemulans
Species Authority: Vorster
Common Name/s:
English Ngotshe Cycad

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(v)+2ab(v); C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-31
Assessor/s: Donaldson, J.S.
Reviewer/s: Agenbag, L. & Bösenberg, J.D.
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered under criterion B because it occurs essentially at one location with continuing decline in the number of individuals, and under criterion C because there are 90% in one subpopulation. The A criterion (used in the previous assessment) was not used as the extent of the decline cannot be properly estimated.
History:
2003 Critically Endangered (IUCN 2003)
2003 Critically Endangered
1997 Endangered (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is endemic to South Africa and occurs in the KwaZulu-Natal province. It is known from one viable population in the Vryheid district. The plants grow on a hill at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,100 m. Two old male plants were found approximately 10 km away at an altitude of 600 m.
Countries:
Native:
South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: According to Scott-Shaw (1999), there were 150 plants surviving in the wild. Donaldson and co-workers counted <100 (in part of the population) in 1997, but unverified reports put the total at about 250 individuals. Active seedling regeneration is taking place.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The plants prefer south facing sandstone cliffs in short grassland. Plants also occur below the cliffs in humus-rich scree where especially small plants were found in more shady conditions. Mature coning plants are fully exposed. The north and north-east slopes only had a few very old plants and conditions do not seem to favour seedling regeneration. The climate is hot in summer and cold in winter with possible light frost. Rainfall is 600-800 mm per annum with a summer maximum.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species' occurrence at a single site means the plants are vulnerable to environmental perturbations. Collecting has been a problem in the past although the bulk of the plants now occur within a private nature reserve. Collecting, however, still remains an issue.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of the CITES Appendices. A large part of the population occurs within a private nature reserve. However the reserve is not secure against poachers and the owner believes that plants are still disappearing.
Citation: Donaldson, J.S. 2010. Encephalartos aemulans. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 April 2014.
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