Encephalartos arenarius 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Cycadopsida Cycadales Zamiaceae

Scientific Name: Encephalartos arenarius R.A.Dyer
Common Name(s):
English Alexandria Cycad, Dune Cycad

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2acd; B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,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.
E. arenarius qualifies as Endangered under criterion A due to continuing decline in the number of plants and the extent of habitat. Repeat photographs indicate a decline of >50% over the past 60 years. It also qualifies under criterion B due to a relatively restricted range (extent of occurrence = 450 km²; area of occupancy =20 km²), occurrence at less than five locations and ongoing decline. The overall population is <2,500 mature individuals and decline is >20% over two generations so it also qualifies under criterion C.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is distributed in a small area of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Populations are found from Nanaga in the west to Canon Rocks in the east. The main subpopulations occur near the town of Alexandria. Recorded from 100 to 200 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:20
Number of Locations:5
Lower elevation limit (metres):100
Upper elevation limit (metres):200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population size of E. arenarius is estimated to be 850-1,500 mature individuals. Most plants occur in the dense dune vegetation that is difficult to survey. Scattered individuals occur in agricultural lands and cleared dunes.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:850-1500
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Plants occur in densely wooded coastal dune forest and scrub bush. Most of the plants occur on moderate to steep slopes in sandy soil on stabilized dunes.
Generation Length (years):70

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to this species is removal by collectors. This has been the main cause of decline over the past 50 years. Some have also been destroyed by habitat destruction (bush clearing to make way for pastures).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of the CITES Appendices. Populations occur within the boundaries of the Addo National Park (formerly the Woody Cape Nature Reserve).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.3. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Sand Dunes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ 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

0. Root -> 100.1. OLD 1.1.1-Policy-base actions->Management plans->Development
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
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]

Coates Palgrave, K. (Coates Palgrave, M. - revised & updated). 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. Third edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Goode, D. 1989. Cycads of Africa. Struik Winchester, Cape Town.

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

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

Kemp, M. 1987. Focus on Encephalartos arenarius. Encephalartos 11: 4 - 7.

Citation: Donaldson, J.S. 2010. Encephalartos arenarius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T41900A10584794. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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