To ensure the survival of vulnerable endangered and critically endangered species of Encephalartos, i.e. category 3, 4 and 5 plants, conservationists, academics and Commercial producers of these cycads will have to pool resources to satisfy the huge World demand for these highly sought after cycads.
The single most damaging factor to the survival of cycads in habitat is predation by Man, the impact of collector activity is so hugely damaging to the environment of relic populations of cycads that in many instances these cycads have been brought to the brink of extinction e.g. Latifrons, Cupidus , Dolomiticus, Hirsutis, Woodii, Inopinus, Brevifoliolatus, Nubimontanus & Relictus have been declared extinct in habitat.
Growing the category 1 plants is less difficult than the other categories,
these plants are not in great danger of extinction at the present time.
The category 2 plants are more in demand by collectors with the habitats of
these plants being threatened. However it is the category 3, 4 and 5 cycads that
are in great demand by collectors. We are growing large quantities of these
plants to sell to the collectors.
For commercial nurseries we are able to supply large quantities of certain
category 1 plants in various sizes from 1 leaf seedlings to plants with a caudex of
Category 2 plants are available to commercial nurseries as well, the quantities
will be restricted, however.
Category 3 plants are available to specialized cycad nurseries and to collectors
in limited quantities.
Category 4 plants are available to collectors only.
Category 5 plants are available to botanic gardens and very experienced
DID YOU KNOW?
1. Commercially available
2. Priority Cultivation
5. Critically endangered / extinct
They are trying to make rare cycads accessible' to the world’s collectors.
At Cycad '99 in Miami Steve spoke about Conservation through' cultivation. He has spoken at nurserymen's conferences in many parts of the world and the prevailing theme has always been:
"Make rare cycads available to collectors though
cultivation and you will start relieving the pressure on wild populations."
Visitors coming from parts of the world where cycads occur naturally are usually surprised at how rare and localized the plants are. Africa has had a large history of climatic fluctuations and the relic cycad populations seen today are held captive in tiny pockets where local conditions, allow them to survive and reproduce but not to escape to distant areas, which at the present time may be much more favourable for cycads.