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Nepenthes attenboroughii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA NEPENTHALES NEPENTHACEAE

Scientific Name: Nepenthes attenboroughii
Species Authority: A.S.Rob., S.McPherson & V.Heinrich
Common Name(s):
English Attenborough's Pitcher Plant
Taxonomic Notes: Morphological features suggest that this species is closely related to Nepenthes rajah Hook f. on Borneo, as well as to N. mira Jebb & Cheek and N. mantalingajanensis Nerz & Wistuba, also of Palawan.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(v)+2ab(v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2007-06-23
Assessor(s): Robinson, A.S. & Madulid, D.A.
Reviewer(s): Clarke, C.M. & Cantley, R.
Justification:
Attenborough's Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes attenboroughii) is known only from the summit region of Mount Victoria, occurring in a narrow elevational band. The species therefore occupies a small geographical area (significantly below 10 km²), and has a low population density (less than one plant per 20 m²), estimated by random quadrats and by eye.

Species from this genus are  routinely poached from the wild in Palawan where, as is common throughout the Philippine archipelago, the curiosity and monetary value of the plants far exceeds their conservation value, which is poorly emphasized to anyone but visiting tourists.

Attenborough's Pitcher Plant will attract such attention given its large size, beautiful pitchers and rarity. There were signs of plant removal present at Mount Victoria, the only known locality for this species. Given their slow growth and low seed viability, the species may be very much subject to population decline even from low collection pressures.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This plant is known only from Mount Victoria (1,726 m) in central Palawan, Philippines, where it is found on ultramafic slopes from 1,600 m to the summit (Robinson et al. 2009). Three colonies are now known, but the total area occupied by the species comprises a few hundred square metres on each side of the summit region, and therefore is significantly below 10 km² (Robinson et al. 2009).
Countries:
Native:
Philippines
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Plants grow singly or in sparsely scattered groups of a few individuals (density less than one plant per 20 m²), therefore the known population of two colonies consists of only a few hundred individuals (Robinson et al. 2009).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This carnivorous plant occurs on nickel/magnesium-rich, ultramafic soils only, and mainly in high altitude shrubland. The species is dioecious (i.e., male and female plants exist), with a slight male bias. Any decrease in the population will therefore have a greater impact on reproductive potential as no single plant can reproduce itself in the absence of plants of the opposite sex.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Nepenthes are routinely poached from the wild in Palawan. This species has high horticultural value, but as a newly described species, currently it has a very limited penetration into this market.

Trade in this species is unknown, but seeds collected during the expedition that identified the species are held by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew with the intention of institutional, non-profit dissemination by in-vitro culture.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat to this species is from poaching; the mountain is relatively inaccessible to casual hikers, therefore potential for habitat destruction is limited, but the monetary value of these plants is high, particularly on the Taiwanese and Japanese markets. A nickel mine operates at the base of the mountain; currently, operations have been suspended but the area, including the summit, has been prospected for other potential mining activities.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no in situ conservation measures currently in place for this species. Mount Victoria is subject to mining at its base and has no status as a 'Protected Area' (the local designation for National Parks). However, all plants of the genus Nepenthes are included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Citation: Robinson, A.S. & Madulid, D.A. 2012. Nepenthes attenboroughii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 July 2014.
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