The Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads was established to ensure that no wild cycad species becomes extinct.

The Global Conservation Consortium (GCC) for Cycads is a joint effort of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the IUCN Cycad Specialist Group. The objective of the GCC for Cycads is to enhance durable conservation of global cycad diversity through integrated ex situ and in situ actions. Led by Montgomery Botanical Center, in collaboration with BGCI and dozens of other partners, the GCC for Cycads was launched to prevent extinctions and ensure healthy cycad populations for the future. A coordinated network of institutions and experts is being mobilized to collaboratively develop and implement a comprehensive conservation strategy for cycads. Join the Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads today to become part of this collective effort.

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About the Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads

Threats

A confluence of factors – including poaching, habitat destruction and pest pressures – have conspired to render cycads one of the most imperiled groups of organisms on earth. While there has been concerted effort to assess and monitor species, the implementation of concrete conservation measures has lagged behind. Global cycad populations hence continue to decline, many precipitously. In recent decades, multiple species have reached the point of extirpation and coordinated ex situ and in situ actions are now more critical than ever before.

Collaboration

In response to this pressing need, the IUCN Cycad Specialist Group and Botanic Gardens Conservation International have jointly launched the Global Conservation Consortium (GCC) for Cycads. The objective of the GCC for Cycads is to accelerate conservation of global cycad diversity…and to ensure zero extinction of the roughly 300 extant species within this ancient lineage of plants.

Conservation

To this end, the GCC for Cycads will work in concert with national and regional government agencies, non-governmental organisations, local communities, landowners, and other interested parties to accomplish the long-term conservation of genetically diverse and representative populations of cycads. This will entail both traditional approaches (i.e. habitat protection, ex situ collections, reintroductions) and emerging methodologies (i.e. genetically informed metacollection management, conservation easements/agreements with local stakeholders).

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Lead Institution

The Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads is led by:

Montgomery Botanical Center
11901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
United States
www.montgomerybotanical.org

For questions or more information, or if you are interested in learning more about current activities please contact Vanessa Handley, Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads Coordinator.

Current Steering Committee Members: 

Dr. John Donaldson
South African National Biodiversity Institute
South Africa
Dr. Timothy Gregory
Wild Cycad Conservancy
South Africa
Dr. Patrick Griffith
Montgomery Botanical Center (U.S.A.)
United States
Dr. Vanessa Handley
Montgomery Botanical Center
United States
Dr. Cristina Lopez-Gallego
Universidad de Antioquia
Colombia

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Operational Regions

The Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads is currently divided into the following operational regions:

Africa

Two genera, Encephalartos (70+ species) and Stangeria (monotypic), are endemic to the African region (encompassing continental and island nations). Wild populations of Encephalartos have been decimated by decades of poaching and simultaneous habitat degradation with numerous taxa now functionally extinct in the wild. In these cases, in situ conservation is no longer feasible and species survival is contingent on ex situ approaches, coupled with scientifically informed reintroduction. For species that persist in the wild, long term management and monitoring strategies are critical.

Asia

Nearly 80 species of Cycas are distributed across the Asian region with particularly high diversity in China, India and Southeast Asia. Of the species currently assessed, the majority are threatened or endangered. With habitat loss a primary threat, it is critical to survey and protect extant wild populations and strengthen ex situ coverage of priority species.

Caribbean & Mexico

Currently, 8 species of Zamia are known to be native to the Caribbean, along with the monotypic genus Microcycas (Cuba).  These island taxa are particularly vulnerable to climate change, loss of habitat and introduced pests/pathogens. Significant Zamia diversity is also found in Mexico along with extraordinary richness in two allied genera, Ceratozamia (30 species) and Dioon (16 species). Many species are threatened by shifting land practices and accompanying habitat destruction and, to a lesser extent, extraction. Careful monitoring, community-based conservation strategies and genetically informed ex situ collections are all key objectives across the region.

Central & South America

This region is a rich repository of cycad diversity with at least 58 species of Zamia distributed from Guatemala to central Brazil and several Ceratozamia and Dioon found in Central America.  Panama and Colombia are regional hotspots of diversity, with numerous endemic cycads, some only recently described. Habitat loss and degradation present threats to cycads across the region and active in situ management is essential, alongside community-based conservation and ongoing biodiversity exploration.

Oceania

Australia is a center of diversity for Cycas and three endemic genera, Macrozamia, Lepidozamia and Bowenia.  Habitat degradation – accelerated by climate change – is impacting cycad populations across the continent. Additional Cycas diversity is harbored within neighboring island nations but introduced insect pests have decimated some of these wild populations. Protection of intact, healthy habitat is crucial, as is creation of genetically representative ex situ collections.

Resources

IUCN SSC Cycad Specialist Group Website

The World List of Cycads

Sociedad Colombiana de Cycadas Website

Recent News on the Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads

Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads Road Trip

Southern California

Date

13 August 2021

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