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Anchusa crispa

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA LAMIALES BORAGINACEAE

Scientific Name: Anchusa crispa
Species Authority: Viv.
Common Name(s):
French Buglosse Crépu
Taxonomic Notes: There are two known subspecies: Anchusa crispa ssp. crispa which is endemic to Sardinia and Corsica and Anchusa crispa ssp. maritima which is endemic to Sardinia only (Conti et al. 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-06-23
Assessor(s): Hugot, L., Juillet, N. & Bacchetta, G.
Reviewer(s): de Montmollin, B., Bilz, M., Gigot, G., Buord, S., Montagnani, C. & Gargano, D.
Contributor(s): Gamisans, J., Selvi, F., Paradis, G., Burden, A. & Peraza Zurita, M.D.
Justification:
The area in which this species is found is very small with an area of occupancy below 500 km² and the populations are severely fragmented. The overall population trend is unknown as some subpopulations are still declining whereas for others an increase has been noted. However, mature individuals, as well as subpopulations have been lost already and the species' habitat suffers from degradation due to recreational activities, infrastructure development for tourism, and invasive species to name a few. Fluctuations have been observed in the number of mature individuals which are caused by natural storms but worsened by urbanisation. This species is classified as Endangered.

History:
2006 Critically Endangered (IUCN 2006)
2006 Critically Endangered
1997 Vulnerable (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This European endemic plant is only found on the upper part of beaches on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. 

In Corsica, it occurs at sea level at the eastern coast in Canella, Favone, Golfe du Valinco, Cappiciolo, Cala Piscona, Capu Laurosu, Portigliolo and it is introduced to Ajaccio (Gravona, Capo di Feno). There are nine distinct locations and the range of the species is 654 km² whereas the area of occupancy is only 5 ha (0.05 km²). In Sardinia, the area of occupancy is definitely less than 500 km², the species is rare and difficult to find but occurs more or less at sea level.
Countries:
Native:
France (Corsica); Italy (Sardegna)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Corsica, six populations were reported in five communes with 10,400 individuals counted in 2008. In 2009, it was found in nine sites in five communes, again with 10,400 individuals. Four out of nine populations are in severe decline and one population in Campitellu has become extinct which happened in 1995. In general, the tendency is increasing, although a decrease has been observed locally. Fluctuations have been observed in the number of mature individuals.
In Sardinia, the decline of the populations is suspected and they are fragmented between two main sites.

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: An annual or short-lived perennial herb that grows on highly saline, sandy soils.

A. crispa depends on the substrate on which it grows (depth, richness and humidity) in order to accumulate sufficient energy reserves to flower and fruit. Ants disperse its tiny seeds over short distances, and they may be dispersed over longer distances by water. A. crispa is usually found growing on fairly firm sandy substrates at the upper edge of the beach, sometimes associated with Sand Couch Grass (Agropyron junceum) and Marram Grass (Ammophila arenaria). Although A. crispa tolerates occasional trampling, it will disappear if the pressure becomes too severe.

It can be found in the Habitats Directive listed habitat 2120 "Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria ("white dunes")" (Commission of the European Communities 2009).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The threats to this species can be divided into two groups: those posed by people, and those by natural events. Currently this species is badly affected by human activities, in particular intense trampling, motorbikes, four-wheel drive vehicles and quad bikes, camping, the construction of tracks and roads, mechanical beach cleaning, and the removal of sand. The construction of ditches upstream to the beaches also poses a threat by modifying the amount of water available to the plants.

On Corsica, strong storms have repeatedly swept large amounts of sand over the area where Anchusa grows. In 1999 and 2002 such events caused substantial declines in several subpopulations of this species. So, three locations out of the nine will probably disappear by future building development. Invasive Carpobrotus sp. is a potential threat for the future in Corsica and in Sardinia and may be affecting the whole population but this is only a suspicion and would be a gradual decline (L. Hugot pers. comm. 2010, Olivier et al. 1995).

In Sardinia, tourism is the biggest threat, with public access not limited, allowing camping and vehicle access. Another indirect impact is posed by the increased construction of buildings (G. Bacchetta pers. comm. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Actions in Place
This species is listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive and under Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). In France, Anchusa crispa is legally protected in Corsica and included in the national Red List of France. In the Red List of Italy, it is listed as Endangered (Conti et al. 1997).
 
In situ: Several conservation projects have started through an EU LIFE project entitled "Conservation of natural habitats and plant species in Corsica", including habitat protection, land acquisition, and restoration work.

Within the framework of the EU Habitats Directive, several sites containing A. crispa are now included in the Natura 2000 network, a measure likely to strengthen conservation efforts. In Corsica, individuals are counted in every population every year (Plan National d'Action). Certain sites on Corsica are in the process of being restored by l'Antenne Corse du Conservatoire Botanique National Méditerranéen de Porquerolles and the Conservatoire Régional des Sites de Corse, which includes management and replanting.  Reintroduction attempts have been made, with mitigated results (failure or partial success). There is a project at Carnella for the reinforcement of the population started in 2006.

Ex situ: Seeds of this species have been conserved in several seed banks, e.g. at Porquerolles (France), and plants have been cultivated in several botanic gardens, including Sóller (Majorca, Spain), Porquerolles (responsible for ex situ conservation), and Geneva (Switzerland).

Actions Needed
Beach managers as well as the public need to learn about the importance of protecting native coastal species. Barriers should be erected to keep vehicles off the beach. Sites hosting important populations of A. crispa need to be acquired by nature conservation­ managers
Building developments on and near the sites of A. crispa should be reviewed. More research is required on the number of individuals/distribution and the potential affect of the invasive species.

Citation: Hugot, L., Juillet, N. & Bacchetta, G. 2013. Anchusa crispa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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