Encephalartos equatorialis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Cycadopsida Cycadales Zamiaceae

Scientific Name: Encephalartos equatorialis P.J.H.Hurter
Encephalartos imbricans Vorster

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v); C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-31
Assessor(s): Donaldson, J.S.
Reviewer(s): Agenbag, L. & Bösenberg, J.D.
The population is small and declining due to habitat destruction, collecting and an apparent lack of reproduction. It would be classified as Endangered based on overall numbers, but in terms of effective population size, it qualifies as Critically Endangered, i.e. despite overall number of ca. 300 plants, there is an overwhelming bias towards males with only 20-30 female plants. The male bias has been observed in other cycads that have declined rapidly. Tyhe species also qualifies as Critically Endangered under criteria B1 and B2 due to its very small extent of occurrence (5 km²)   and area of occupancy (1 km²), the remaining population is fragmented and there is continuing decline.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known from one or two granite hills on the eastern shore of Thurston Bay, Lake Victoria, Uganda. Occurs at an elevation of about 1,000 m.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1
Number of Locations:1
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Exact population figures are not available. Heibloem (1999) recorded less than 100 plants, but Goode (2001) mentions that there are up to 300 plants. The population is dominated by male plants.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:100-300
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:E. equatorialis is found on two adjacent low exposed granite hilltops. Plants grow on the western aspect of the hills. Plants grow wedged in crevices in a severely degraded rainforest.
Generation Length (years):70

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No young plants or seedlings were seen and this could indicate that the pollinator could be extinct or that fires occur too frequently. There is also evidence of collector activity.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of the CITES Appendices.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.2. Gathering terrestrial plants -> 5.2.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.6. Skewed sex ratios
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.8. Other

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.1. Increase in fire frequency/intensity
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Goode, D. 2001. Cycads of Africa. D & E Cycads of Africa, Gallo Manor, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Heibloem, P. 1999. Cycads of Central Africa. Publication Fund, Palm & Cycad Societies of Australia, Brisbane.

Hurter, P.J.H. and Glen, H.F. 1995. Encephalartos equatorialis (Zamiaceae): a newly described species from tropical Africa. South African Journal of Botany 61(4): 226-229.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

Vorster, P. and Heibloem, P. 1995. Encephalartos imbricans (Zamiaceae): A new species from Uganda. Novon 5: 388-394.

Citation: Donaldson, J.S. 2010. Encephalartos equatorialis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T41887A10569026. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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